How to Make it Through the Holidays as a Freelancer

Dijana B.
Dijana B.
Dec 17, 2018 · 5 min read

You know it’s coming:

The dreaded post-holiday business slump.

Everyone wanted to wrap up by Christmas — only to completely disappear during the first couple of weeks of January.

And if you’re just a little bit like me, you’re starting to freak out.

Are you out of business now? How are you going to make it through the month? Should you just get a regular job and give up on this freelancing nonsense altogether?

It’s alright — we’ve all been there.

But there are plenty of things you can do during the low season to keep yourself busy — and keep the business going.

If you’re worried about how to you’re going to make it through the holidays as a freelancer, you’re in the right place.

Read on to learn how to keep your hands busy and get plenty of work done while others are resting!

1. Plan beforehand

Failing to plan is planning to fail — at least that’s how the saying goes.

While you can’t possibly foresee everything, there are some things you can do to help you out both with planning your workload and predicting your income for the holiday months.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

1) Talk to your clients — what are their plans? Are they taking a few weeks off during holiday time — or keeping the business up and running as usual? If they’re closing for a while, when can you expect your next workload?

2) Want to take some time off the holidays yourself? Then let your clients know! Give them a deadline by which all work has to be completed before you wrap up for the year.

3) Double-check invoices. There’s nothing like planning a big Christmas day feast only to realize your last check is still pending. *and don’t forget about bank holidays either*

4) All of your clients are winding down for the NYE but you could use some extra cash? Then update your availability — there’s always someone that needs an urgent last-minute project done right now.

2. Catch up on other tasks

If you’re a small biz owner, then you know it:

There’s always something that needs to be done.

Now is the perfect time of the year to tick off everything from that to-do list you’ve been pushing around for way too long.

Start getting ready for tax season. Take care of any paperwork you never get to do.

Track your KPI more closely. Clean up your inbox.

Go through your email list — is there a potential client hiding in there?

Once you take care of everything biz-related, turn around — anything that needs to be done in the office? I usually take the time off to deep clean my office area and do some computer maintenance, so I’m up and running by the time everyone’s back to office.

3. Set goals for next year

You can’t arrive anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going.

Late December and early January are ideal for coming up with a brand new plan of action!

You’re not overwhelmed by work and you’re inspired enough to make a significant change — the ideal combo if you ask me!

No need to do a three-sheet Google doc here.

Just grab a paper and start writing.

What are your major goals for 2019?

Where do you see yourself by the end of 2019?

What can you do to grow — or optimize! — your business further down the line?

Once you’ve set up major goals, divide them into milestones. Each milestone gets assigned an appropriate course of action.

Once that’s done and dusted, one more thing left to do only — start hustling!

Let’s say that one of your final goals is to grow your email list by 25%.

Set up several different milestones here.

First, A/B test your signup form. Then polish your landing page. Then grow by 5%. And another 5% — and so on, until you get to 25%.

4. Do some marketing work

Are you slacking with the marketing side of things throughout the year?

Then now is the right time to do yourself — and your business — a big favor.

I know — it’s tempting to just leave it on auto-pilot.

After all, it’s sort of working — but why not take it to the next level?

Check on the latest digital marketing trends.

Set up social media business accounts — if you haven’t already. Plan what you’re going to publish. How much content do you need?

Set up your own blog to showcase your work. Then work on the rest of your website. Come up with content ideas for your blog — write at least 5 blogs while you have the time.

You know, small things like that seem to take hours when you’re really busy.

And don’t forget about social media!

Social media can be a powerful lead generator.

Thanks to social media management tools, you can schedule months’ worth of content in a few days. Why not schedule content all the way until March?

I personally use Buffer, Later, & Tailwind — but feel free to use whatever you like of the dozen of options out there.

Pro tip: Get a major advance over your competitors by upping your marketing game during the holiday season. Since more people are going to be taking a break, now it’s your time to shine!

5. Polish your portfolio

You know by now that no client would hire you without taking a look at your portfolio.

And you probably have a portfolio — but why not give it some polish?

Use a new profile picture — preferably one that’s not older than 6 months. Consider investing in getting professional headshots taken.

Add any additional experience from the last few months — any significant projects that look good.

And don’t forget to update testimonials — THE single most important part. If you haven’t gotten any, ask your current clients for some. I’m sure they’d be happy to help!

Pro tip: Sending your profile as a resume? Don’t! Instead, go digital — set it all up on your own website.

6. Learn a new skill

Got all of that done and still have some time on your hands?

Then it’s time to learn something new!

Thanks to websites like Udemy, learning a new skill has never been easier.

And the best part? They’re pretty cheap — like, $10 cheap.

7. Actively rest

Well, you probably saw this coming.

When there’s no work, you’re tempted to freak out but just… don’t do it.

You’re wasting energy worrying for nothing.

Don’t be scared to take some time off. Rest and recharge — do some of the things you love. It’ll save you from a future burnout, I promise.

Your biz will still be up and running even if you go away for a week.

How are you handling the holiday season as a freelancer or small biz owner? What do you do to keep yourself busy?

Originally published at on December 17, 2018.

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