Diane Hall - The Frazzled Freelancer

Freelancer, Entrepreneur and mother of two...

Was Scrooge a freelancer? What would Santa call his freelancing Reindeer?

This week our intrepid Frazzled Freelancer asks if Scrooge was a freelancer. And if your goose isn’t getting fat before Christmas, what do you do about it? She also suggests 12 new names for Santa’s freelancing reindeer… can you come up with better names? 

Freelancers: what to do if your goose is NOT getting fat as Christmas approaches:

Follow a new business launch this September; I’ve been busy with a major drive to raise my profile.  I’ve advertised in some fairly useless places (lessons learned, that’s life, and all that) and I’ve indulged my social media skills as per my previous posts.  However, the client feedback I’ve been getting is that whatever I try to do is a waste of time because it is the wrong time of year.

Redundant, for what?  Turkeys?

“Maybe in the New Year”; “Christmas is in the way”; “Can’t think about collaborating/buying/business at the moment”…..

So, if you weren’t aware, business stops about mid-November, which, considering National Freelancer Day was just days ago seems a little puzzling.  I could understand work slowing down on Christmas week, but five/six weeks in front seems a little extreme.  When you consider the summer holidays, Bank Holidays, days off for Royal weddings – the actual working days each year are narrowing!

Employees wouldn’t care if work slows down this season as it probably gives them the chance to plan their office parties and food fuddles.  For the freelancer, any time not bringing in work results in a lean bank account. 

Scrooge – I suspect – was self-employed.

Sometimes, your flow of work feels like it is something out of your control – after all, you can’t force other businesses or customers to buy from you.  So what to do to get back in control?

Take stock

If you do find this time of year a little quiet, it may be a good idea to catch up and take stock of your freelance company.  If there are administration tasks or internal organising to do and you never seem to find the time, get it done now.  Take advantage of having these quiet moments to prepare for the New Year when Christmas will no longer be ‘in the way’.

The best use of your time is to plan a strategy for the next year – kind of like New Year Resolutions but for your business.  Reflect on what has worked for you this year and what hasn’t.  Have you found custom or business in unusual places or as a result of a particular marketing idea?  Have you tried certain avenues to find work and they’ve not been as fruitful as you’d have liked?

What’s it worth?

Consider why certain approaches worked for your company and why some didn’t.  Look at the message you were presenting and where you were presenting it for clues and consider if the result was worth the effort, worth changing for the future, or worth forgetting about.

Have there been ideas that you haven’t had time to evaluate, or avenues your business could be steered towards but that you haven’t had time to investigate fully?  Consider where you’d like your freelancing business to be this time next year – are you just happy retaining your customers and the freedom being self-employed gives you?  Or, would you like to grow your company, perhaps employing someone in the near future to increase your overall revenue?

Experts recommend freelancers should carry out this evaluation exercise more frequently than once a year but in reality, time runs away with us and we can find it hard to just stop and take stock.  If your customers give you no choice but to slow down, this time of year is great for both looking back at your current year’s trading and the business activity of the year to come.

Don’t give in to the Downtime!

It may be tempting to just take the whole of December off – after all, if there is no work to be done, why not enjoy the time with the family?  That’s fair enough but if you don’t assess your business every once in a while you could repeat costly mistakes or miss lucrative opportunities year on year. 

Factor in your end-of-year marketing plan AS work – it’s as important to the growth and sustainability of your business as your faithful customers.  You could find a better way of serving them, or develop a new product to solve further problems they may have.

Once New Year rolls around – diets have started and the bin men get squashed under the weight of empty boxes and leftover turkey – you’ll be raring to go with your new plan. 

The freelancer is notoriously reactive and adaptable; constant evaluation for savvy freelancers should be instinctive but it’s very easy to get caught up with fulfilling orders and day-to-day tasks. 

If Santa’s 12 reindeer went freelance what would their names be? 

How about: Creative, Adept, Flexible, Reliable, Affordable, Adaptable, Enterprising, Progressive, Juggler, Proactive, Reputable and Ambitious?

(I could have added ‘Happy’, but he was one of the dwarves, not a reindeer!)

Are there freelancers out there that find this time of year a positive boom?  What would you call your 12 freelancing reindeers?!

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Written by Editor on November 29, 2010 and filed in Frazzled Freelancer, News, Opinion , ,

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