Freelancers: What to Do When Work Slows Down Over the Summer

Want to make the most of your summer downtime? Here are three tips freelancers can embrace to get ahead when work inevitably slows down this season.

1. Secure Your Summer Budget

Freelance work can be less consistent, so a financial plan is critical to your professional success. Online budgeting tools can help you visualize your monthly spending and put money aside for times when work slows down. Software like You Need a Budget helps you save, get out of debt and stop living paycheck to paycheck. You’re asked to define your financial goals, and then each time you’re paid, you assign dollars to what matters to you most, helping you track spending more closely.

Also, a tool like QuickBooks Self-Employed can help you manage invoices for work, track your spending, separate your personal and business expenses and get organized when tax season rolls around.

2. Organize Your Client Schedules

Take some time to review all of your client work, and plot out anticipated projects for the upcoming year in a calendar view. Online calendar tools like Google Calendar or Trello can help you organize and track your monthly projects and deliverables. This will help you identify busy times throughout the year and anticipate future lulls when you’ll have the capacity to take on more work. This effort can also help you pinpoint months with more work and more cash flow, when you can plan to contribute more toward your savings.

3. Explore New Learning Opportunities

If your summer is slow when it comes to work, this can be a great time to advance your career by learning something new or sharing your skills with others. You can find a wealth of online courses through the following sites:

  • MediaBistro – for writing and editing, social media, marketing and communications, and general business courses.
  • – for courses across a wide range of categories including design, marketing, photography and video.
  • CreativeLive – for classes in photo and video, art and design, music and audio, and more.

If you’d rather take classes in person, check with local colleges to see if they offer summer courses that interest you. Or, reach out to see if they need an instructor with your work experience — a great opportunity to give back while generating extra income.

A freelance career can have ups and downs, but staying proactive about financial planning, project coordination and learning and development can help you navigate unpredictable times and set you up for professional success.

Next: Learn How to Create a Self-Employed Benefits Package