How to Manage a Freelance-Writing Slump… and Even Use It to Make You Better

4 minute read

Most businesses experience ups and downs. The same is true for freelancers.

Sometimes, you’re full to the brim with client work. Other times, work dries up, prospects take longer to book you, and things slow down.

A freelance-writing slump can happen because of a dwindling economy, a slow summer, or other factors outside your control. You may also experience a slowdown if a client changes direction, and you aren’t consistently marketing yourself enough to have new clients lined up.

Whether it happens because of events out of your control or because you aren’t on top of your marketing, there’s no point in beating yourself up over it. Instead of wracking your brain over WHY it happened, you can navigate a slump with intention and make the most of it.

5 ways to grow through a freelance-writing business slump

green leafed vine plant beside white pot near window
Photo by Andrew Seaman

1. Market, market, market

This is the time to get back on the marketing bike and pedal with all your strength.

Start with the low-hanging fruit… former clients, former employers, and dormant clients. Since these businesses have already worked with you, they might be more open to assigning you new work.

Next, you can reach out to warm prospects who told you they would keep you on file and might need you later. Send them a simple email or direct message asking if they have something for you.

After you’ve exhausted those warm approaches, cold pitching can be an efficient way to connect with new businesses. You never know what’s happening internally at a company. The businesses you reach out to may have received new funding. Or they may be planning a content refresh to reach their marketing goals. They might be actively in the market for a freelancer like you.

Market yourself passionately to drum up work when it’s snooze-town.

2. Fix your LinkedIn profile

A freelance-writing slowdown can be a good time to revisit this foundational element of your marketing. You’ll be surprised how fast your LinkedIn profile gets stale… and next thing you know, you’re squeamish about reaching out to prospects, because you aren’t happy with your profile.

Your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t hold you back. It’s something you should be proud of. So, see what you need to change in your profile, so you’re excited to show it off to prospects. Here’s a list to get you started…

  • Add relevant and recent samples to your Featured section
  • Populate all your client experiences separately under the Experience section
  • Make sure your Headline reflects the work you do, the industry/niche you work in, and the impact you’ve had on clients
  • Add your tagline, some social proof, and your contact details to your banner image
  • Finally, your About section should include your work experience, your process of working with clients, and a call-to-action

3. Get your website up to speed

Another key marketing asset is your website. I recently dusted off many cobwebs from mine. I added 100 links to my portfolio after not updating it for years!

Regularly refreshing your website and portfolio is easier than having to dedicate a big chunk of time to it. But we can get so involved in the day-to-day of client work that we forget to do it.

A business slowdown can be the perfect opportunity to get your website up to speed. As a first step, review your website and make notes about what needs updating. By the end of this activity, you’ll have a to-do list.

Then, make time every day to check off things on that list. Before long, you’ll have a sparkling website that reflects all the awesome work you do.

4. Relax… maybe do a little traveling

Basically, do things you usually don’t find the time to do.

When I experienced a business slowdown last year, I booked my tickets to a coastal location for some beach time. I had taken workcations before, but they were different. Not being tied to a schedule or accountable for clients gave me the creative replenishment I needed.

What’s something you’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t because of a busy schedule? What helps you relax and rejuvenate? How do you get your creativity flowing?

We’re writers! We need this stuff.

5. Check something off your bucket list

When you have a full plate at work, it’s easy to get busy and forget about everything else you want to experience, learn, or try. Take advantage of this time to check off something on your bucket list. It can be a hobby you’ve always wanted to try, a skill you’ve wanted to build, or an event you’ve wanted to attend.

Mandala art — a practice of creating intricate designs — was on my bucket list. When business slowed down, I had some gaps in my day. So, I bought some art essentials and got started.

It’s understandable to feel stressed when business slows down. But, you can channel that energy into action and come out relaxed and ready on the other side. It’s also helpful to remind yourself that going through a low means you’ve been at a high, too.

And because you’ve done it once, you can reach there again. For now, don’t let the empty space go to waste by simply worrying. Take meaningful steps to care for yourself and your business through this phase. You’ll thank yourself later.