Dealing with lean periods as a freelancer

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Dealing with lean periods as a freelancer

There are plenty of advantages to being self-employed. Not only does it offer you the opportunity to diversify your income by working with many different clients, but it also means that you can work in different sectors all at once and use your many different skills. But unlike those who are employed in a standard fashion and have a regular wage at the end of the month, there’s one key hurdle you might come across – and that’s being stuck without work for a period of time.

In the current uncertain environment with the coronavirus outbreak, it’s more likely than ever that a lot of freelancers will experience a period of hardship in the weeks or months to come. Unfortunately, no one can predict with any certainty when this emergency will end. And more generally there are all sorts of market fluctuations which can really have an effect on how freelancers earn. This article will explore what some of the options are if you’re a freelancer of any variety looking to defend yourself against periods of low income.

Act early

If you’re a freelancer who is not currently dealing with a lean period, now is the time to act. By putting aside a certain proportion of your income every month and building it up to use as a cash reserve, for example, you’ll be able to defend yourself against future periods of uncertainty. Over time, this will give you the sort of financial buffer you will need to defend yourself against periods in which no income is forthcoming. And even just the knowledge that you are taking active steps to avoid financial problems will be useful as well, as it will help you to get into a positive mindset regarding your freelancing and will help you to feel as though you are doing something useful to protect yourself.

Diversify your income

Whatever industry you currently work in as a freelancer, it’s worth thinking carefully about whether or not you can diversify your income and add additional strings to your bow just in case difficult times hit. You may, for example, work primarily in a field like marketing but also have an additional marketable skill like a foreign language. In that case, you could continue to spend the majority of your time on your main marketing clients while also building a base of students who are willing to pay you to teach them to speak whatever language you speak. That way, you’ll be able to count on other sources of income of your primary source later dries up.

Online trading

In the Internet age, there are plenty of ways to earn cash from home, and one of them is to teach yourself trading. Before signing up and getting started, though, you’ll need to think carefully about which broker you go for – especially given that some have reputations for being less than satisfactory. Checking out a review of a broker like Avatrade is a good way to make sure that you sign up with a provider who can offer you a great trading experience which won’t lead you to break the bank with fees and charges.

Cut back

And finally: it’s worth remembering that while freelancers are entitled to spend their earnings and enjoy themselves just like anyone else, they also have an added responsibility to make sure that their own personal finances are in good shape. For that reason, it may be worth choosing to make some small sacrifices while your earnings are high in order to make sure that you have enough to keep going if income becomes low at some unspecified point in the future. While this is a sacrifice, it’s worth remembering that it’s worth doing in order to preserve your flexibility and freedoms as a freelancer in the future.

Fluctuation in earnings is, unfortunately, a fact of life when it comes to freelancing. No matter what industry you work in, it’s likely that you’ll see an occasional rise and fall in your monthly or annual income from time to time. But the good news is that there is a way – or more than one way – out there in which you can manage these fluctuations. Whether you decide to diversify your income by offering new services or simply cut back on your spending or build a reserve fund, lots of options are available to you if you’re an income-conscious freelancer worried about fluctuations in income.

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John is a serial entrepreneur and writer who is passionate about helping small businesses launch and grow. His work has been featured in Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and Forbes.