Summer can be a challenging time of year for independent creative professionals. On the one hand – IT’S SUMMMMMMER – the season you’ve been living for ALL year. On the other hand, summer rentals, dinner and cute summer frocks cost money, and a couple of slow months can put a serious damper on the fun.
So what’s a creative to do?
Take control of the situation. There are a million things you can do to position yourself more effectively to your ideal clients, so when they’re back at work in 6 short weeks, you’ll be the first person they call.
Here are 7 ways to use your downtime to build your business:
1) Catch up on your reading
If you’re anything like me, you actually enjoy reading business and personal development books. Here’s a quick list that I loved and recommend to often:
Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso
Why not me? By Mindy Kaling
Thrive by Arianna Huffington
A Happy Pocket Full of Money by David Cameron Gikandi
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose Eckhart Tolle (deep, but worth the effort!)
2) Get inspired by industry leaders
I loved Creative Live’s 30-Days of Genius Series with Chase Jarvis. Set yourself a challenge to watch one a day and watch your creative ideas explode!
3) Update your website
Have you noticed that when you’re busy, updating your website falls to the bottom of your list? Given this is often the first or second thing people will check out when they’re deciding whether to work with you, don’t you think it deserves more? Take this time to review your site – does it feel modern and fresh? Is it still the best representation of what you offer and the problems you solve? Does it make it really easy for prospects to take the next step? Changing the language, images and inserting a couple of calls to action can do wonders. Not sure where to start? Let’s chat.
4) Pick a platform and post every day for 30 days
One of the marketing challenges my clients share most often is they don’t know what to post on social media, so they end up posting nothing. Here’s the thing; posts come and go at such a rapid pace, you can afford a little trial and error. Post things that grab your attention, and try and frame it in a way that’s of interest to your target clients. Here’s an example of photo and tip I posted on Instagram today:
5) Learn for free
Remember those industry leaders you were so inspired by? Sign up for their newsletters, download (and actually read) their free offerings, and take action on ONE thing you learned.
6) Build your network while doing something cultural and fun
Lots of networking or industry organizations offer fun, summery events, ranging from drinks on a roof top in the city, to trips to a museum. Here are a couple of organizations that offer fun events and have a great community of designers, creative entrepreneurs and freelancers:
7) Work “on” your business
Downtime is a great time to take a step back from your business, honestly review what’s working and what’s not working and create a strategy for the last quarter of the year. My husband and I have taken to having such conversations on our deck at 6 a.m. (it’s the only time the kids aren’t around and we’re still capable of thinking and speaking!). Plan a brainstorming session with your business partner, accountability group, or coach. Or book a half VIP day with me here and we’ll figure it out together.