Freelancing Tips: 5 Things to do During Slow Times


If you’re a freelance artist you’re going to hit slow months.  There’s an ebb and flow to work that the eight-to-fivers don’t experience — and unless you’ve hit the pinnacle of your particular discipline then you’d better be prepared for it.  Here’s a few freelancing tips that keep me from winding up in a pool of self-doubt and idle YouTube surfing when these inevitable times come.

1) Realize that there’s a rhythm.

Looking back over the last four or five years I’ve recognized the pattern of feast and famine.  The tide comes in and then it goes out.  It’s hard to remember when you’re drowning in work that it could ever go back to being all sand and empty shells, but it will.  The opposite is also true, though it can be hard to keep that in mind when you’re tempted to give up this whole art thing and start selling shark-tooth necklaces.

2) Save a little for the lean times

Okay, I’m horrible at this.  Even worse at it since we just had a baby, but it’s something I need to work at.  If you put a little aside then the lean times won’t be so lean.  And by “you” I mean “me.”

3) Keep Working

View the down time as an opportunity to work on your personal projects.  Keep up your blog, work on your creator-owned comic, or whatever it is that you really want to be doing anyway.  Those things might even pay off down the road financially.  At the very least they’ll expand your portfolio and hone your skills.  Don’t get depressed and drink beer while watching cat videos all day.

4) Catch up on your contacts

Go through your email list and get in touch with editors or whoever it is that might have some work for you down the road.  Even if the answer is “we don’t have anything” it keeps your name fresh in their minds for when something does come up.

5) Exercise

Taking care of yourself can easily fall by the wayside when things are busy.  But now that you’ve got a little time  go for a run, walk, bike ride, or whatever it is that you do.  It’ll get your brain working, you’ll feel better, and you’ll have more energy for everything else listed above.


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