Tips for freelancers when it’s a bit quiet on the work front
Is your business a bit slow at the moment?
Are you slightly panicking or do you see this as an opportunity to grow your business and focus on some admin?
During January and February, I knew that I was going to be quieter than I would have liked due to the fact that a couple of projects were postponed and another client had themselves taken some time off, which left me short on paid work and a bit nervous about how to get more work coming in.
My natural inclination was to panic as my business is still quite new, but instead I decided to spend the time as productively as possible and use the time to focus on some aspects of my business that I might not have time for once I get busy again. (see Cori Javid – I manifested myself busy and it worked!).
Luckily for me, it all paid off and I am once again totally flat out with work, so hopefully by following some of these tips, this can work for you too!
Do some training
LOCAL TRAINING COURSES: I looked up some free training courses through my local Business Gateway and signed up to do some brilliant 3-hour workshops on Google Analytics, Facebook for Business, PR on a Shoestring, Marketing and LinkedIn. Not only did I learn quite a bit, I also met lots of other local freelancers and self-employed people, which was great networking as I have already talked to a few of them since about future work and have been able to recommend their businesses to other people. So maybe contact your local Chamber of Commerce or Enterprise Centre and see what courses they have available for you to sign up for.
LINKEDIN: I also signed up for a free month of LinkedIn Learning, which has courses on everything you can think of from WordPress to Photoshop, Excel and Business Software and Tools. Just remember to cancel it before the end of your free trial!
BUFFER TRAINING: Buffer, the social media scheduler tool also does brilliant free online training, with a complete 25-day course on mastering social media marketing. The course covers getting started with video marketing on a budget, 5 hidden Instagram features for marketers, the power of resharing content on Facebook and understanding social media algorithms and to use them in your favour.
GOOGLE GARAGE: Do you know your Google Panda from your Hummingbird, Penguin or Rank Brain, or know what I mean when I talk about Fred? Yeah, me neither until I did some courses with Google Garage.
Google Garage provides FREE online marketing training to teach you the digital skills you need to grow your business and become a digital expert. You can learn at your own pace and even get accredited with a certificate that you can show off on your LinkedIn profile.
They even do physical workshops that you can attend, so check out where and when and get yourself along! Google really is the main contender nowadays and if they are offering free advice on their systems, algorithms and the digital world – then take it!
Networking and Facebook groups
I know, cringe. But you just have to bite the bullet and get out there sometimes. I asked on Twitter and LinkedIn for some recommendations on good local networking groups and went along to a couple and actually met some lovely local people and business owners. If I’m honest, networking at these sort of events is not really in my comfort zone, I prefer talking to people I meet at non-networking events, but you never know who you might meet up with and it is always great to connect up afterwards on LinkedIn and again, you never know who they might be able to introduce you to. I met a lovely couple of ladies from Handelsbanken who I was then able to refer a friend too, and I had never heard of them before the networking breakfast, so it was worth it!
I also really recommend networking in Facebook groups, it has worked brilliantly for me in terms of support but I have also got new clients through them as well as sold a number of my SEO Tips downloads after posting in them. You do need to be active in the groups and they have rules about what you can post and when, but they are a great way to meet other people, in the same boat as you all over the country, as well as a way of marketing yourself and your business.
TIP: You have to join through your personal pages rather than through your business or company page.
The facebook groups I particularly like and get a lot from are listed below. Obviously these are mainly aimed at women and Mums in business, but there are literally millions of groups out there so find ones that appeal to you.
Work on your marketing strategy
How many of you actually have your own marketing strategy written or typed out? And for those of you that do, do you ever go back and look at it? Take the time to now re visit or write it out for the first time and really focus on what you want your business to achieve. I find the best thing to do is take a notebook and pen to a café, turn your phone off, and spend 30-60 minutes just jotting things down, with no other distractions around you. It is amazing what you can achieve in 30 minutes!
Schedule some social media
I am my own worst enemy as a social media manager as I spend all day writing and scheduling my client’s social media post but am not so good at planning for my own businesses posts. So, I took some time out to really plan ahead and come up with some creative and useful posts that I scheduled using Buffer. I thought about holidays and events that I would normally comment on and made posts using Canva, scheduled them, and now I have regular content scheduled for the next few months, which I can add to as and when I feel like. It takes quite a weight off your shoulders!
SEO and Website Review
This tip is probably the most useful I will give you in terms of how to fill your quiet time! It will also give you the best results! I have written another blog post all about doing your own SEO and improving your Google ranking, so I won’t repeat myself, but this is an area that you should definitely devote some time to. This includes adding your business to relevant directories, adding posts to Google My Business, registering with Yell and Yelp and Bing, doing keyword research and many other things besides. I spent a week doing just that and I am now on the first page for Marketing Consultant in my area as well as for SEO Consultant, whereas before I did not rank on the first 3 or 4 pages.
Looking at your SEO also includes reviewing every page of your website – make sure you have up to date information on each page, check all your links still work. Check all the meta descriptions and images have titles and ensure you are using relevant keywords and phrases. Can you add any new pages to your website to refresh the content? (Google LOVES this)
When you have refreshed and checked the website, make sure you then go and Google Crawl it to make sure Google knows to re rank your pages.
My download explains how to Google crawl and how to improve your SEO in some detail. Just click on the image below.
Lastly make sure you do some blog writing and then use snippets from your blog posts to add some social media posts to your Google My Business page. These cannot be scheduled but they really help with your SEO!
Catch up on your admin
Take some time to get your receipts in order, do your expenses, make that call to HMRC that you have been putting off and get organised for your self-assessment. I use Freeagent for my accounting software so it does all my accounts and self-assessment for me as I go along, but it is always good to check everything and file things away.
Take some time for yourself
My final tip? Take advantage of being a bit quiet and try and take some time for yourself. I joined a gym, and started swimming again and it has was lovely to actually have some time to think. You won’t always be quiet so make the most of it while you can!
So there you have it - I hope these tips have been useful. I definitely found that by focusing on my own business for a while I gained a bit of clarity and it certainly led to me getting new clients, new connections and ultimately has made me busier!
If you think you would like some help with website design, SEO, Google rankings, or social media management then just get in touch or just let me know in the comments what you do when you are quiet - I love hearing from other people, and am always keen to hear new tricks and tips!