As a new freelancer or a freelancer in the works, the summer isn’t the time to drop off the grid without a care in the world. Sure, it’s only natural to want to enjoy the summer, and freelancers have every right to do so. However, with freelance work, it’s all about finding the perfect balance. It’s important to jumpstart a job search (if more work is needed) or if there are existing clients, one must know how to communicate with them about summer plans. As a new freelancer, communication is critical. As you continue job hunting with the intent to make a living as a freelancer, gain some tips from our free webinar training. For now, here are some tips on how to stay productive as a new freelancer, pursue new jobs, and juggle existing jobs. Yes, it’s possible!
As you are actively looking for freelance work, Media Bistro recommends setting up job alerts. Having job alerts sent to your email allows you to look at potential jobs as soon as they’re listed. When the job listing hits your inbox, it’s also a great reminder that you should stop your summer fun for a bit and instead, focus on applying for a job you’re interested in pursuing.
It's true that companies do slow down their search in the summer, but there are still plenty of companies looking to fill critical open slots during this time of year—just take a look at our job board for proof.
That’s why it’s a great idea to set up job alerts, which allow you to fill out exactly the type of job you’re looking for and get emails when the openings hit the job board.
Job alerts “can give you the best of both worlds: notification when something interesting pops up without being tethered to your computer and hunting for opportunities daily,” says Twersky.
Another way to stay on top of your job hunt during the summer is by taking the time to work on a great resume. Top Resume also provides the below tips on how to come up with a resume that’ll help you win some fantastic freelance jobs.
Consider investing in a professionally written resume
When it comes to summer, we bet you want to enjoy your days playing in the sun, go to the beach, take a much-needed vacation, and just relax on a warm, lazy night — not write your resume for the job search. That’s where a professional resume writer can help! Not only will this give you time to enjoy your summer, but candidates with a professionally written resume are 32 percent more hireable than those who did it themselves. More time and better chances? Sounds good to us!
The summer is an excellent time to learn something new and soak up knowledge on whatever niche you’re pursuing — interested in social media? Media Bistro says the more you know about your industry, the more appealing you’ll be to potential employers.
Think of summer as the down time you need to prep for the fall hiring season. (Cue ’80s montage music.) One great way to take advantage of the extra time is by learning something new related to your industry. “Adding to your skill sets during the summer recruitment lull can position you better for landing the right job when the fall hiring season gains steam,” says Twersky.
Glean more about commonly desired skills for the positions you’re going after. Scan several posting for jobs you’d be interested in and note all the required skills you feel less-than-stellar at. Then bridge your skills gap with a class such as one of Mediabistro’s Skills In 60 series, a lineup of courses that are quick, easy and loaded with industry info.
Fast Company urges job seekers to have fun, but to still be available when they need to be. Going back to finding a balance during the summer, Fast Company is emphasizing how important that is. If you find summer fun or job hunting is taking too much time away from the other, take a step back, and focus on what helps you stay motivated and on task.
Summer can also be a more casual time at many organizations, and that can trickle over into the interview process, says Patty Coffey, partner at talent acquisition firm WinterWyman. “As a job seeker, you can take advantage of this reality to build your network by setting up meetings and informational interviews,” she says. “People who are usually too busy may have time for a casual lunch meeting or after-work drinks during the summer.”
The slower pace does come with a disadvantage, Coffey adds. “The interview and hiring process can slow down a bit, and it may take longer to schedule interviews because of people’s vacation schedules,” she says. “To set yourself up for success and move the process along as quickly as possible, do your best to be available and try not to add your own vacation into the mix.”
Zinser agrees: “Summer job searches allow you to get a foot in the door but sometimes can require patience on the candidate’s part, as things unfold slowly,” he says.
While it’s likely more people take vacations throughout the summer, if you are the right fit, the process should move along for you, says Queller. “So, be patient and persistent,” she says. “If the process doesn’t move as fast as you’d like for one job, know there are a lot of others out there, and you should keep your options open, while being determined in your own job hunt.”
Similar to becoming more knowledgable in your niche, Horkey Handbook argues that you should be your own client. If you’re wondering how to make that happen, you can work on specific tasks that’ll make you look appealing to potential clients. You’ll also become more confident in your skills as a freelancer.
Use any downtime you have in the summer to treat yourself like a client.
Write out a list of things you’ve been meaning to do for your business and schedule them in like you would for any other client. Maybe you’ve been wanting to streamline your client onboarding process or revamp your website – there’s no better time to tackle that! Don’t have a website for your business yet? Gina has a great free course on starting a website in 7 days or less.
You could also start a newsletter, create a new opt-in, or improve your current one – anything you would do for a client, do for yourself.
There’s a saying I feel like most of us can relate to – “the cobbler’s children have no shoes.” As freelancers and virtual assistants, it’s easy to forget that we are also business owners and need to take time to work on our business, not just on our clients’ businesses. Hire yourself in the slow months, so when you’re busy again, you already have everything you need in place.
If you do happen to have clients already lined up, Due recommends setting up a calendar to stay on task. Do this, and you’ll know what’s going on throughout the summer.
For several years, I used a handy day planner for my to-do list. It worked pretty well for a while. Now I have too many projects with too many moving parts to manage them in this way.
I’ve made the transition to using Asana, a free online task management system, to manage tasks and deadlines. Trello is another task management system I’ve seen other people use with success. The system helps me break down large projects into small pieces so I can assign jobs to myself and others. It also reminds me of the different deliverables I need to get from clients to do my job.
A project management system has been a lifesaver when it comes to managing the moving parts of multiple assignments for multiple people during a busy time.
Freelance Freedom Project recommends scheduling posts and social media while you’re enjoying summer vacations and outings; that way, you won’t be missing in action.
Instead of letting your traffic slide while you’re away, pre-write your blog posts and newsletters and schedule them to post while you’re on the beach. Just like this one!
You can use the native WordPress scheduler alongside a plugin like WP Editorial Calendar to schedule and stay organized.
And if batch writing posts in advance is a little daunting for you, enlist a guest poster or two to take the stage while you’re away.
I’ve got a couple lovely FTF members who I’ve brought on to share their wisdom with you guys while I’m away. I get a break, they get to share with a new audience, and you get a break from me. Win win all around!
Even if you’re a new freelancer, if you have a few smaller clients, you should still give them a heads up before going on vacation. They’ll respect that you told them you might be at your desk all of the time and Diana Kelly Levey provides additional advice below:
Before going on summer vacation, do this:
Give anchor clients’ a head’s up. This is a great way to let them know you’re available now but might be taking off for half of August.
Check in with editors you worked with in the past to see what they need pitches on. You could use summer themes and angles as a hook for pitches or nod to the fact that they might be short-staffed this summer with vacations and you’re available to help.
File invoices, check on unpaid invoices and make sure you know when checks or payments should be posted.
Put up an “out of office” for the days you’re away and a fun message, like. “I’m OOTO until 7/14 splashing in the ocean and coming up with article ideas. I look forward to responding to your message when I return.”
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