Learning to Love a Lull
Thank goodness for the Olympics, for without it, we really would be in the silly season just now – there’s very little news of the non-sporting variety. I confess that in years gone past, when I was in employment, I loved the silly season and rarely took holidays during it – the slowdown at work was an opportunity to take a step back for once, in order to be a little more strategic, as well as to do a whole host of practical jobs that I never got round to at other times of the year.
As a freelancer, however, I’m not so sure. In theory, one welcomes the slowing pace of work but in practice, if, like mine, a large chunk of your work consists of very short-term projects, the fact that fewer of these are coming in right now is a little disconcerting. Will work pick up again in September, or is the phone ringing less frequently a permanent trend?
The secret to coping with this anxiety, I suspect, is to treat the silly season the same way as I always have – to embrace the opportunities it offers. For months now, the back of my mind has been filling up with a long list of challenges that I ought to be confronting if only clients weren’t ringing to remind me of their impossible deadlines. Now is the moment to confront some of those challenges.
The good news – and I’m pretty sure I’m far from alone in this – is that these are things mostly concerning issues that, in the long term, will be positive for my business. They range from the prosaic – talking to my accountant about whether my business finances are really arranged in the most effective way – to the genuinely exciting – the need to develop a much more dynamic digital presence, for example.
In most cases, the work I’ve been putting off involves tasks designed to generate new clients. Instead, I’ve been concentrating on the clients I already have. There’s no shame in that – losing an existing client is the worst of all worlds – but now that I have a moment to think, I can concentrate on expansion. Once the Olympics are over, of course.