Freelance: Coping with a Slowdown of Business

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced as a freelancer is consistency; consistency in work and consistency in pay. If you’re just starting off, adjusting to the flow of income available now, versus next week, and versus next month can seem frightening. Even though I’ve freelanced for years, I still worry about uncertainty in developing a steady flow of work and income.

At some point we all lose contracts. Whether through our services no longer being needed or a personal decision to no longer work for a particular client. Occasionally we can prepare in advance, but there are also times where decisions are made unexpectedly. Week after week passes and nothing seems to be coming our way. Here are some tips that have helped me get though my rough freelance patches.

Always Look For Contracts

Even when I’ve had an overflow of work, I kept my eyes active on job boards for part time writing roles. Just like with any business, nothing is guaranteed. And as a contractor that guarantee decreases even more. All businesses have a budget to run on and if revenue starts decreasing, as a freelancer your job may be one of the first things to go.

Always looking for part-time work allows you to:

  • Network—Just reaching out and connecting with potential clients allows you to build a rapport. They may not need your services on a part-time basis now, but you’ve made a contact you can reach out to if your schedule opens up

  • See how the demand of your freelance role is changing—As a writer and editor, content demand changes: SEO, APA, Chicago, and photo editing. are standards. Clients want multi-talented individuals in order to save money. I notice the trends and learn more skills to increase my value and stand out from other applicants.

  • Establish side income—Having a full-time freelance role creates stability in your life. Adding a part-time role will provide you a safety net. You can save that money for a freelancer’s rainy day, or month.

  • Transition into roles easier—I’ve lost large contracts before due to lack of revenue on their end. But an email to a part-time client that I’ve already built a relationship with, became a role with more hours and more income.


You should always be budgeting. Sometimes you just get by monthly and other times, you see a little profit. Look around your home/office and see what you can get rid of to save money.

Here are some costs I always try to reevaluate:

  • streaming music services

  • cable (streaming services are cheaper)

  • gaming system services

  • electricity costs

  • gym membership

  • food budget

I never try to take away all the luxuries in my life. It feels like a punishment versus an adjustment. But It’s important to be mindful that every dollar saved is important during a slow period.

Get A Part-Time Job

Tough times call for tough measures. Although you became a freelancer to control your own work schedule, sometimes you have to adjust with what’s being thrown at you. A small part-time job can help you with a steady flow of income while you get things back on track with your freelance career. 

Don’t look at it as a setback, look at it as a new opportunity to meet potential clients. Whether you decide to work an office job or retail, see every interaction as a way to have that person leave with your business card as the situation fits.

I’m a firm believer of "everything works out as it’s supposed to." If your dream is to freelance and you make the effort, prepare, adjust and find consistency, there’s no reason you won’t succeed.

This post was original featured on WriteJobs.