Freelancing · Tips and Tricks

Freelancing Advice for the Holidays

If you are a freelancer or an entrepreneur, I’m sure you’ve heard the advice to go ahead and unplug for the holidays. Take a break! Enjoy your time with friends and family! Pet your cat! Walk your dog! Knit a sweater! Don’t work AT ALL. It’s good advice for many, but let’s face it, it’s not for everybody. In my case, this slower time of the work year is exactly what I need to make progress on my own business plans. It’s my idea of fun!

I think all freelancers are, in a sense, service people. We are being hired to support our clients by bringing subject matter expertise in the form of organization, creativity, tech skills, and so on. We spend all our time meeting those needs, and it’s often difficult to find the time to make sure our own houses are in order. Here’s my freelancing advice: If you enjoy your freelancing business, now is actually a great time time for website updates, business budgeting, review of software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscriptions, and planning for new lines of business. These are tasks you can handle when your clients go dormant at the end of the year.

I’m not suggesting you do this instead of enjoying unplugged activities. I’m also not suggesting that you do all these things on your own. Let’s take website design as an example. If you aren’t a website designer or particularly adept at business planning, there are services that can help you. What you should be doing now, while those services are on holiday, is making plans for exactly what you want to ask for.

Making Plans – Your Website

Let’s say you have a WordPress website that is kind of old and tired, but you don’t feel you have the design or technical skills to improve it. So instead, take some time to write down what you don’t like about it. Go to websites that you do like and make a note of their location and what you like most about them. Do you like the layout? The way they use whitespace? Maybe the fonts make your eyes happy. Or perhaps the images do a great job of making the site seem more dynamic. Make as detailed a list as you can, returning to it over a few days. Are you finding a trend in what you like?

By the time everyone comes back from their vacations, you’ll have a great list of site improvements that you use to get reasonable quotes from designers at a site like Upwork. Alternatively, if you found one particular site (hopefully not a competitor’s!) that you really really liked, reach out to the site owner and ask them if someone built that for them or if they’re using a particular theme. It might shortcut your time to get your site in order.

Making Plans – Your Business Subscriptions

Moving on to another example: business budgeting and SaaS subscriptions. Hopefully, you have something like Quickbooks or some other kind of check register that shows you what your business has spent money on in the past year. Do you still need all those recurring service charges? Especially look out for the ones that are annual service subscriptions! They sneak up on you.

Making Plans – Social Media

But wait, there’s more! How is your LinkedIn presence? Is your page up to date with your contracts? Can you add pointers to any work you’ve done that’s now out in the public domain? What about conference presentations, interest group memberships, certification badges, or publications you’ve been a part of? Even if you’re not actively looking for work right now, better to have your profile ready in case a new potential client stumbles across your page.

Or maybe you have an Instagram business presence. A sad, sad little IG presence. Did you know that creating IG posts and stories is a lot like eating nachos? You can spend a long time in mindless creation with these. It’s fun! (I might need an intervention. This is actually most of what I’ve been doing this holiday break as part of my new side-thing, The Writer’s Comfort Zone.)

My Own Goals

I’ve started on all those things, but since I’ve been freelancing for over ten years, I have a few more things on my list. In my case, now is the time of year I find online courses that will help me improve at whatever I think I need to improve on. This year, that means learning how to develop online courses (yes, that’s very meta – I’m taking a course to learn how to create a course) and engaging with a new community of would-be entrepreneurs. I have some ideas for creating new lines of business that are a bit different from what I’ve done for the last decade, but, as they say, you don’t know what you don’t know. The first step to resolving that is researching the basics and talking to others going through similar journeys.

So, by all means, take a break from all work things if you need to! But for some of us, a change is as good as a rest. What makes this a ‘break’ for me is that it’s something different, important, and done at my own pace. Don’t feel guilty if you treat this ‘downtime’ as a time to get busy with your own business. Do what you what you’ve always wanted but never had time for, and if that’s within your business, that’s good too.

Thank you for reading my post! Please leave a comment if you found it useful. If you want to start your own blog or improve your writing, you might be interested in another effort I’m spinning up, The Writer’s Comfort Zone. Learn more here!

If you’d like to have me on a podcast or webinar, my media kit is available for your reference. 

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