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Seasonal lull in work

(8 Posts)
icanteven Thu 25-Aug-16 11:04:51

I design websites & digital campaigns, but I have found this summer all but impossible to confirm new clients. I have 5 meetings set up for the week after the children go back to school, but I want somebody to hire me NOW because right now I basically don't have an income for September, and I'm the main (read: only) breadwinner.

Everybody is on holiday with their families and when I get email replies it's along the lines of "Let's talk when the kids are back at school" and I know that realistically I'll get at least one site for September, but it's making me jumpy not having anything actually confirmed with a deposit.

I know it's the same across a lot of the tech industry - even SAAS sales go down in July and August, so I know it's not just me, but I still don't like it.

I'm starting a major new push for clients in a slightly different field in Sept with a new business partner, and I have secured a fantastic long term contract/role, but that won't pay a salary until November.

Is anybody else feeling a bit jumpy right now and counting the MINUTES until work picks up in September?

Separate slightly snitty rant: Please don't pale in shock when you hear how much a website costs. If your budget is £250, you probably don't have the money to start a business yet.

VioletBam Thu 25-Aug-16 11:07:36

That's funny....I'm a copywriter and I've been quite busy lately! I write web copy and guest blogs and I've had a lot of clients approach me in the past 8 weeks.

I must say...I find it odd that potential clients are saying "Let's talk when the kids are back at school"

Who the hell says that in a conversation with a professional?? What have their kids got to do with you?

icanteven Thu 25-Aug-16 11:18:23

Well, a lot of the people I work with are women in their thirties and forties at the early stages of their business, and nearly all of them have children who are off school at the moment. It's relevant to my niche, and I'm having a little trouble cracking out of that niche and into more corporate clients - which is the main reason for launching this new project that will crack me out of that niche completely.

I used to get a lot of work on People Per Hour, but prices have dipped a LOT there in web development work since UpWork went to shit, so that has had an impact.

That's great that you're finding an uptick in writing work over the summer, though.

mistletoe1 Fri 26-Aug-16 21:46:34

August is always dismal for me too (freelance illustrator/designer). It makes me so anxious but happily flat out from next week - phew!

PurpleDaisies Fri 26-Aug-16 21:49:42

I'm a private tutor-my students say their exams back in July and things are dead until September. I'm moving house to a totally new area so it might be quiet for a lot longer. It's a worry.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Sun 28-Aug-16 10:26:04

Things are quieter here (marketing freelancer) but that is ok.

I think you are just looking for empathy but a couple of thoughts:

- Start ups, esp those without funding are difficult. It sounds like you are moving away from that. If you have experience of working with women business owners, could you not target those who have outgrown their DIY website/£250 website? That way you are using your experience/portpolio. Obv you need to then find this group of women, maybe at paid for events (if they have the money to attend). This was me last year. I (marketing freelancer) invested £0000s in a re-brand &site as I felt my DIY site didn't do me justice.

- Next year can you encourage your clients to start planning to build the site over the summer. It could be their quiet period etc. Run paid for website planning sessions in April\May?

- If you haven't, try to use this next year to build up a £ buffer. I'd always had a contract element to my workload which meant I didn't have to worry about money. I finished my last contract in '14 as I was so busy. However stupidly I hadn't saved up a buffer. It was a rollcoaster time - financially & emotionally!

I worked like a dog this year (with a contract I didn't really have time for) and now have one in place. It takes the pressure off.

- Finally, it will pass and be ok. My experience is that generally something turns up. I do feel for you though.

Good luck!

MrsMargoLeadbetter Sun 28-Aug-16 10:29:42

Re workshops. I meant as a business development acitivity. I am sure you can offer that to client as part of the build but was thinking about a way to get in front of ppl. Or you throw that day in for free if they sign by end of May etc.Or whatever timings work for you.

icanteven Tue 30-Aug-16 12:21:47

Thank you Margo - everything you say rings every true.

I have been working for equity on a very big, high-profile, project, and hoping that it leads to more, similar work.

Also planning some workshops for the autumn, and yes - I do offer them to my individual clients. I'm stuck in a quandary between picking up some "low-hanging fruit" I suppose, and keeping my efforts for more corporate clients who will result in bigger contracts. The labour involved in getting a £500 one off job is not insubstantial, and I feel I should be putting that effort towards a £15k one-off job with a monthly retainer afterwards!

I'm going my my local chamber of commerce dinner/drinks event in September and will be armed with my business cards...

Also planning an event in an affluent part of London where I have a few clients already.

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