Working On It: 1. What to work on when there’s no work on.

For myself and other freelancer friends, I know that work is drying up. Jobs and contracts are becoming harder to come by and what were your ‘safe clients’ now seem less concrete. For those of us who are self-employed, the world can seem somewhat turbulent and unsettling at the moment.

To ease some work-based tension and anxiety creatives, freelancers and small business must stick together. We should dedicate time to sharing tools, tips, apps, advice and worries. Therefore, I’m beginning a new mini-series on TheTemporaryResident entitled “Working On It”. Here I want to share my tips and tricks for all things creative and freelance work-related, feel free to pose me questions which you’d like me to focus on. Working On It: 1 is all about the maybe seemingly obvious things we can still be working on when there’s not that much work coming in!

Admin

We’re already one-third of the way through the year now is a great time to make sure that you’re on top of everything. Organise your invoices, file away those expenses receipts and take some time to review your personal and business finances. Admin, especially financial admin can seem daunting but getting on top of it now will make your life a lot easier later on in the year and will also make you feel currently more in control of your business.

Networking

Networking doesn’t just take place face to face. The networking lunches and events are good experiences but highly valuable online alternatives do exist. I would firstly recommend emailing past and current customers or clients to update them and keep them in the loop whilst also sending out that newly freshened up CV. Go back to basics with this one too, update your Linked in, connect with people and invest some time in reaching out. It might not always bring a result straight away but in the long run, regular and sincere networking will do you well.

Presence

Stay visible and stay active. Just because things may be up in the air at the moment doesn’t mean that you have to be. Stay reliable, stay consistent and stay valuable. Reassure clients that you are still capable, motivated and organised. If your business or freelancing relies on social media presence or networking, keep that up. For creatives producing content as often as possible or normal is extremely important in overcoming a dry spell of work. Creating our content is one fantastic way to display your skills and value to potential new clients. Keep at it!

Skills

If you do have some time on your hands to spare then now could be a great time to develop your skill base. Online websites and services such as Skillshare are great places to start. Keep your brain active and fresh by delving into a field completely new or continue to enrich a skill you rely on currently. Constant personal self-investment is vital to growth and success as a self-employed person. That one extra skill, course or ability may make you stand out from the crowd or make you more employable.

Goals

Reflection is an important process, not least for someone freelancing or in the creative industry. As usually the only person in your team, goals are what keep us motivated, determined and ultimately, on the very top of our games. As previously noted, as we are one third through the year, now is a prime opportunity to assess how your goals for 2020 are going. Is there something you’ve achieved which you are proud of? Is there something you have neglected? Is there something which needs another condition to change for you to reach a certain goal? Ask yourselves these questions and more and reacuaint yourself with what is important to you, personally and professionally.

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