The holiday season is upon us, meaning that many people will have little to do since businesses are shutting down for vacations, and people spend more time with the family. Freelancers can feel the pinch of this time on their wallets, and be driven up the wall due to the exceptionally large amount of work time that is suddenly freed up. Thankfully, there are ways to spend the time that is productive and will make the upcoming year a great deal easier to handle.
Make sure your finances are in order
With the end of the year approaching, you should have a rough idea as to how much money you have made and spent through the year. Take the time now to collect all of the data, and make sure that you have not under or overpaid your quarterly tax estimates.
If you have underpaid, it is still possible to catch up. You can make as many payments as you wish, as long as the income for the quarter matches up. File an amended quarterly estimate and send the check in. This will reduce the stress you will face by April 15, and guarantee you can focus on clients.
Update your portfolio
Freelancers need to have proof of their skills, and the most common way of showing this is through a portfolio. Take a look through all of the material you have collected over the year. Pick out the best examples and verify you can use them in the portfolio. This is the perfect time to do this since it can be very time-consuming and requires a great deal of thought.
When you update your portfolio, make sure to include detailed descriptions of the work and the circumstances surrounding it. The more information you can provide your clients, the better it will be received.
The time spent on your portfolio can easily translate to improved client outreach and larger projects. The easier it is for clients to see your skills, the easier it is for them to decide to hire you.
Learn new skills
Being a freelancer means you assume the responsibility for making sure your skills are in line with what the market needs. There are numerous online classes that do not have set start and end dates. Pick a few from places like Udemy and learn skills that will look great on your resume or portfolio. You never know when a client will need a copywriter with experience in Java.
Consider this an investment in yourself. If the course is tied to your job, it may even be tax deductible. Check with your tax accountant specialist first.
Finish up personal projects
Everyone needs a hobby. It serves to relax the mind and body while creating a small world away from the hustle and bustle of work and family. During busy times, it is nearly impossible to find the spare moments needed to indulge yourself. Take the time now to catch up on whatever it is you like to do. Finish that book, touch up a painting… The options are limitless. Just try not to burn the house down!
Update your personal site
Site designs come in and out of style based upon technology growth and usage patterns. Look at your competitors and see how their sites compare to yours. Are theirs easier to use? Do they provide the information needed with fewer clicks? If so, it is time to update the layout and underlying tools used.
This is also the time to build up a backlog of blog posts for your site. A site with consistently updated material is better received than one that can go weeks, if not months, between updates.
Are you a freelancer? Do you have a plan to keep yourself productive over the holiday season? Your thoughts and comments below please...