Does your work swing between feast and famine?
One minute, there is too much work – terrible, terrible – so how will we cope!
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The next, famine, so where’s my next piece of work going to come from?
And, doesn’t this life of feast and famine apply to businesses – with premises and shareholders agreements – as well as stand-alone freelancers? Yes, it does.
So, what can we do about the feast and famine?
Here are our top 5 tips
1. Accept that work – like London or Manchester buses – all comes at once or not at all! Accepting that this is normal will help you deal with two things; firstly, quiet times are to be enjoyed, and secondly, busy times will come when you least expect it. It’s normal, we just need to adjust our expectations.
2. Start looking for work when you have work. Remember, it is easier to find more work or business when you already have it. You have happy clients you can refer people to – and you have the confidence to turn down the low paying work or negotiation on your rates. This extra confidence will help you win work that you want to do.
3. Build your pool of ‘get help, quick’ contacts when you are quiet. These are people – freelancers – who can come to help you if you get snowed under. But you need to build the contacts before you are snowed under – otherwise, it will be too late to do anything about the workload.
4. Never wait until you are too busy before building contacts with other freelancers and suppliers. It is a classic error, and very easy to make, to avoid looking for help until it is too late. When it’s too late, it is… well, too late!
5. Always be building your contacts – when you are busy – and when you are quiet. The point is that your contacts could bring your work, or help you deliver work. Your contacts are the first people to go to when you are facing feast or famine.
Hence, the essence of building a career as a freelancer is to learn to go against the grain. That is, when you are busy, start looking for more work. When you are quiet, start looking for people who can help you deliver work.
We often speak to people who tell us ‘I’m not recruiting right now, should I still come to the Brookson Enterprise Freelance Fair’? Or, ‘I’ve got a lot of work now, do I need to attend’?
The answer is yes. These events are designed to build your contacts base or your pool of freelance talent – not just for the work you have now – but more importantly, for the work you will get in the future.
If you learn to go against the grain, then too much work will cease to be such a strain.
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