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Dealing with the Freelancer "Feast or Famine" Problem

by Susan C. Daffron, SPAWN President

Many freelance creative professionals struggle with balancing their workload. Some months you may be swamped with work, and other times it may seem like there are crickets chirping in your lonely, dusty office.

Dealing with this "feast or famine" problem is one of the biggest frustrations freelancers face. In some cases, this single issue is enough to drive creative people back to the security of the steady paycheck.

Here are three ways you can deal with the "feast or famine" problem.

1. If you offer services, consider also offering products, ideally at multiple price points. During a recession it can be difficult to sell high-priced products and services like consulting, so consider offering more low-end options as well. When people start pinching pennies, it's a lot easier to drop $20 for a book that explains a topic, than to invest in a consultant to do the work for you. I tend to think that's why our book Web Business Success is selling better now than at any time in the past. In the absence of funds, more people take a "do-it-yourself" approach.

2. Spend wisely and think creatively. Although cutting all spending is not a good idea, pay close attention to the money you are spending and look for bargains. For example, I just took advantage of a huge sale from an online printer. They were offering low-cost color postcard printing, so I created postcard artwork for four of our books. I also decided that a bookmark is basically about the size of half a postcard. I have a paper cutter, so I can create two bookmarks out of every postcard. The end result is that I now have 400 bookmarks and 400 postcards that cost me about $70 total.

3. Don't stop marketing when you're busy. This mistake is a classic problem, particularly for new freelancers. If you get busy and stop your marketing efforts, when your projects are over, you will have no new clients coming in. Use regular, reliable marketing tactics to bring in new leads, such as a sending out a regular newsletter, placing advertisements, sending direct mail, or attending networking functions. The key to continually bringing in new business is marketing consistency. You don't have to embark on every marketing tactic, but whatever you do, make sure you do it on a regular basis.

Make sure you carve out time to work on your business, in addition to the work you do for clients. It's vital to the long-term survival of your company.

Susan Daffron aka The Book Consultant is the President and Webmaster of SPAWN. She is the author of 12 books, including Publishize: How to Quickly and Affordably Self-Publish a Book That Promotes Your Expertise. Susan owns a book and software publishing company called Logical Expressions, Inc., which offers book layout, design and consulting services.

You can read more of Susan's publishing articles on the Book Consultant Web site.



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