We live in a time and in a society, where one of the biggest issues is time shortage. Who doesn’t say “I have no time” at least once a week, right? The number of planners, time management tools, and resources to be able to cope with a mile-long to-do list without going crazy is simply amazing. But what happens when we have a period of low workload as freelancers? Do we know how to enjoy it, or do we get nervous because we’re scared that we aren’t going to make any more money at all?
The thing is that it’s very hard to predict how much workload you’re going to have if you work project-based. One summer you won’t be able to go on holidays because the rest of the freelancers seem to have disappeared from the Earth’s surface, and a couple of months later your customer distributes the work more evenly among all his freelancers, so your project workload – and income! – is kind of bah.
The good thing about low workload periods is that you have time to get your admin work up to date, you can work on that website you always wanted to have, and you can even go on holidays! – In fact, I highly recommend you to take a break when you finally have the time to.
Now, if we’re realistic, most freelancers don’t take that free time to enjoy those tasks they never get to start. They rather get hysterical, believe that their freelancing income has come to a point of no return, and start to look for new customers frantically.
We all know that finding new clients is not only a good idea but also necessary for a healthy solopreneur business. However, if that quest for customers is just an overreaction to a couple of low workload days, you may want to consider these tips:
Workload Management Tips
- Get the biggest tasks done first. If you rely on having enough time to meet the deadline and start as late as possible, you may have to renounce to a good job offer just because you couldn’t cope with it and meet the first project’s deadline otherwise. Also, knowing that you have a job to get done won’t let you focus 100% on another task. So make sure you have nothing on your plate because you try to accomplish anything else.
- Schedule 1 fixed day per month for admin work. There’s no need to work on it every day, as it will cost you focus on your work, but make sure you don’t skip its assigned day. The reason for that is that you want to keep your admin as updated as it goes. In this way, it won’t become that big time-eating monster you have to cope with a couple of times a year – when you’ll probably have more important work to do (it’s Murphy’s Law, honey!).
- Make a list of everything you’d like to accomplish when your workload is low. This will help you reduce the anxiety caused by not having enough work. You’ll be even happy that you finally get to cross a couple of items off of that list.
- Enjoy low workload periods as a way to take a break of heavy-work times. Keep an eye on potential customers, and do offer your services, but only if you know you’re going to be able to take up projects once your “older” customers send you new projects again.
- Find a peer who can help you with longer projects. Make sure both of you are on the same page about how the collaboration is gonna work and how you’re gonna handle money. This is one of the best pieces of advice I ever got at the University from a teacher who also worked as a freelance translator, so I’m always willing to repeat it to everyone:
- Have a small network of freelancers who can help you cope with bigger projects.
- Set the collaboration and financial rules before you start.
- Don’t be afraid to share a project. It can give you ease of mind to know you can rely on someone. The workload won’t get so much that you can’t handle it, and you may get the possibility to collaborate on your peers’ projects as well. Besides, teamwork is fun!
- Share projects, but not customers! Make sure you’re the one who keeps the communication with your customers, and don’t give their details away.
Read 5 Ways to Benefit from Low Workload, and convince yourself that having less work for a change can be very beneficial both for your business and your health. 😉
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