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5 Things to Do to Get You Through Freelance Writing Lulls

We all get there as freelancers eventually. You’re cooking along, assignments are rolling in, and you’re in a groove.

You’re making a living and things are going well. You get through all of your assignments expecting more to come in the next day.

They always do, right? But the next day comes, and you’re still without work.

You reach out to a couple of clients to see if there is anything and you find they’re out of money that month or won’t have any assignments for a few weeks.

What do you do now?

Don’t panic

We all go through dry periods as freelancers. It’s the downside of being self-employed.

Your first step in this situation is to reach out to all of your clients to see if there is any available work. Maybe they have something, and your email causes them to give you the assignment.

What’s important is not to freak out — even if you’re without work for a week or two. Spend time improving your situation. Don’t dwell on the negative.

Spend time improving your situation. Don’t dwell on the negative.

Think about how much you enjoy being your boss. Remember how you can pick up the kids at school or watch an afternoon baseball game without a boss looking over your shoulder.

Going a week or two without much work is a downside of freelancing, but think about all the positives to being self-employed.

Once you put everything into perspective, it’s time to set the groundwork, so you limit these kinds of lulls in the future.

Look for new clients and market yourself

Spend this downtime by looking for new clients, improving your social media accounts, and marketing yourself.

Spend this downtime by looking for new clients, improving your social media accounts, and marketing yourself.

Check your favorite freelance job search sites and see if there are any others out there. Work on your personal website, your LinkedIn account, or other things that help promote your name and services. Or write a blog post like this to express your thoughts and get feedback from others who’ve gone through the same experiences.

They likely have great advice to keep you going.

What’s important is to stay busy and not dwell on the lack of work.

Reconnect with former colleagues

I recently wrote about the importance of connections for freelancers.

When you’re in a lull, it’s a good time to reconnect with former colleagues. They may have work, they may have a new assigning editor job, or maybe they went into freelancing themselves. They might help you.

When you’re in a lull, it’s a good time to reconnect with former colleagues.

Check your social media, especially Facebook and Linkedin, and see what everyone is doing now. Reach out to people who may be able to help you add clients and get regular work.

Plan ahead for the next dry period

You’ll likely find regular work in a week or two. Things will get back to normal, and you’ll have more than enough work.

But you’ll likely have another period in a month or two when you won’t have enough work to keep you going.

While you’re in this lull, plan ahead for the next one by setting aside money to protect you the next time.

While you’re in this lull, plan ahead for the next one by setting aside money to protect you the next time.

Put aside enough money for a few down weeks, which nearly every freelancer experiences during a year.

Having extra money set aside will reduce stress when you’re in — or headed into — the next lull.

Putting aside money is a good idea for freelancers for another reason. Many clients pay monthly, and some don’t pay promptly. Create a nest egg, so you won’t have trouble paying the bills if your clients don’t pay you quickly.

Start a separate savings account or put money in a shoebox if you’re afraid that you might spend the money if it’s mixed with your regular checking account.

Look for professional development opportunities

When you’re full-time, your company trains you on the latest technology or processes. When you’re self-employed, you’re on your own when it comes to learning new things.

It’s a good idea to take occasional training that helps your freelancing business. The courses could help your actual work, or it might help you on the financial side of your business.

Try to branch out by learning about new subject areas, which will help you gain new clients.

Also, read up on the latest news in your subject area or areas. Even better, try to branch out by learning about new subject areas, which will help you gain new clients.

You have some time during a lull, so look to better yourself and improve your skills.

Get away from the computer

It’s OK to stop working — especially when you’re in a discouraging dry period.

You’re not helping your mental health if you wallow at your computer and check your email inbox every five minutes hoping for work.

When you’ve done all you can, close the computer and do whatever you want to improve your mood. Run errands, read a book, take a yoga class, enjoy some alone time, catch up with a friend. This is your time. Use it any way you want.

This is your time. Use it any way you want.

Freelance writing lulls are discouraging, but they’re also temporary.

As long as you’re giving clients your best (and you regularly look to add more clients), these dry periods are manageable speed bumps on the road to a successful freelancing business.

What do you do when you’re in a dry period? What advice would you give to new freelancers who are struggling with their first dip in business?

Related blog posts:

What’s Most Important When Starting a Freelance Business

3 Ways to Stay Motivated as a Freelancer

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