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How to spend slow time as a freelancer

plant and lamp on desk next to wooden clock on wall

I'll be honest, this month has been pretty slow for me. It's been nice, especially since December was busy and I’ve still been recovering from wrist surgery. But as a freelancer, it’s hard to not feel a hint of panic when I have a slow week or a slow month. Thankfully, I freelanced for 2 years before I started back up again last fall, so I'm very familiar with this feeling and know that it passes.  

First remember, a slow season does not mean you're failing. Ebbs and flows with work are normal, whether you're freelancing or not. The other thing to remember is that when work does come in, it tends to come in all at once! Why this always happens, I'll never understand, but that just seems to be how it goes! 

I think it's helpful to see slow time as an opportunity. It's just up to you on what kind of opportunity you want it to be.

Here are a few things I try to do when I’m in a slower season:

Catch up on my internal tasks

Whether it's updating my portfolio or finally getting around to some other task I've been 

avoiding, slow weeks can be great for catching up and getting organized.

Spend time learning

I have a handful of courses I've started and haven't gotten around to finishing — some of them writing and business related, others focused on learning new skills. Slow seasons are great for catching up on these. 

Reach out to my connections and apply to freelance jobs

This is the one I struggle with sometimes. I'm afraid reaching out will make me seem desperate or look like I’m failing. But guess what? People do this ALL THE TIME. And while reaching out or applying to freelance jobs may not guarantee anything, I'm putting myself out there, which helps me stay motivated.

Lastly, I like to see slow seasons as a chance to rest. Whether or not you've had wrist surgery like me (I hope you haven't), we could all use time to slow down a bit. I think a lot of us feel very resistant to the idea of rest. But rest doesn't mean you're lazy or giving up. It just means you're allowing space — space to think, to breathe, to re-evaluate, and space to simply be. And as someone who works in a creative field, taking breaks is super important to the work that I do, too, since burnout can happen fast if I'm not careful.

If you're going through a slow season, too, hang in there! Keep moving forward and trust that work will start to follow.


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