Downsizing for the Holidays: Five Tips for Getting Back into the Freelance Groove on January 2

january 2010The impending holiday season means many freelancers are going to lighten their load for the next month and a half in order to handle obligations at home and spend time with family. However, does back burnering a client now mean you might lose that client to another freelancer before  January? Will there still be plenty of opportunities after the holidays are over? Taking time off doesn’t always mean you’re going to achieve the same level of success two months later. If you play your cards right and plan ahead, you can come back in the beginning of the year as if nothing has changed

What follows are:

5 Tips for Getting Back into the Freelance Groove on January 2nd

Contact Your Clients

Always be upfront with your clients. If you’re going to take time off, give them a call. Tell them it’s the holidays and you want to be there for your family, but their business is important to you. Discuss how you can take time off while still being on their radar. Talk about any upcoming projects and promise to brainstorm ideas during your hiatus. Most clients understand the need to take time off for holidays and will try to work with you. Don’t assume you won’t be needed, however. Always take the time to call.

Offer Discounts

In January offer a “back in business” sale to your loyal clients. Reward them for sticking with you even after you took off for a month or two. Offer a package plan or 20% off for the month of January. This might also bring in new clients. You don’t have to make the discount a permanent thing, but your clients might offer you extra work making it a more lucrative month anyway.

Create a Backup Plan

What if your clients aren’t happy about losing you for six weeks? You’ll have to make some decisions. You can continue to work for them rather than take the time off, of you can let them find another freelancer to take over.  Are you prepared for the possibility you might lose clients in your absence? If so, create a plan for finding new clients and making up the lost income.

Plan Ahead

It may be too late for it now, but if you know you’re going to be taking time off for the holidays, contact your clients early – like in August and September – and ask for an advanced editorial calendar. Put in some extra hours to meet their needs so you’re able to take time off later.

Recommend Temporary Help

If you’re taking time off and your clients still have projects, offer temporary help to a trusted freelancer. Let both the client and the freelancer know this is only temporary. It will enable the client to continue with business as usual and another freelancer will pick up some extra money and experience. Don’t outsource without discussing it with your client first though, they might feel betrayed if you snuck another writer in behind their backs.  Always be honest.

How to do you jump back into the swing of things in January?

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