Freelancer: Make an offer - any offer!
The ONE thing I sometimes miss about a clock punching job is paid time off. However, the tradeoff is flexibility and basically I WOULD NOT GIVE THAT UP FOR ANYTHING.
I'm getting ready to go visit my parents for a whopping 10 DAYS (INCOMING MOMMA) and I'll do work during the non holiday part of it. My husband is coming out a little later, and I won't work while he's there either.
Y'all, I can't DO THAT if I have a clock punching job.
But, as you know, being a freelancer, no work = no pay. If you want to take some time off during the holidays or in the summer or whenever, you have to either work more before, or set up some little thingamajig that will make you some money while you're not working.
There are two ways to do this:
Offer a Digital Product
Is there something you can sell? Probably. We all have expertise. I'm working on a digital roadmap for freelancers where all of my scattered advice, best practices, etc. are in one nifty package that is easy to read and digest and implement, with templates and such, but that is a while away. (Sure you can get a lot of it via my blog and FB lives, but it is ALL OVER THE PLACE. In that case, when you buy it, you're paying for convenience.)
So think about what you do and what you know and how you can package it up so that it is convenient for someone to consume. Can you teach people how to grow succulents? Can you teach them how to make their own cross stitch patterns? Can you give them some DIY graphic design advice?
By selling it digitally, you can automate the payment and delivery system. You can make something ONCE and then sell it a bunch of times. Even while you're out on a cruise ship.
There is legwork involved to set something up like this and develop a platform and marketing so that you *will* sell the products at a regular clip, but it's totally possible.
I have a FANTASTIC GURU who can teach you how to do that. If you want the info for when she launches her new class, email me at katie at makemeafreelancer dot com.
Offer Deferred Services Via a Limited Time Package
Some of you took advantage of my Small Business Saturday Ask Me Anything half off package. I set that up so that 1) I could work with some new people and 2) so that I could generate a little bit of income while I was enjoying my Thanksgiving break. Even though I was on vacation, my business was not.
That was, essentially, a pre-book or deferral of time. I will have to spend the time working later in December, but I ensured that I'll a) have work in December and b) made some money while I was out running 5Ks for DAYYYYYYYSSSSSSSSS. (Woot to my two PRs at the Turkey Trot and Black Friday Dash.)
I set a limited number (because I have only so much time I want to work at half price) and a limited amount of time to sign up for the packages (snoozing = losing). Let's face it: offers have expirations to encourage people to buy. That is just how it works.
Think about what YOU could offer.
Are you a garden coach? Maybe there's a holiday package where if you usually charge $200 for a consult, if they book it and pay between xx time and xx time, they get it for $175 or $150?
Are you a speaker with a book? If they sign you up and pay a nonrefundable deposit before Dec 31, maybe you offer two or three books for the organization to raffle off or sell.
Are you a graphic designer? Maybe you can offer a deal on one sheets or social media graphics for the new year. Or, if you're raising your rates in 2018, offer to honor time booked and paid NOW at the 2017 price.
1. If you're offering discounted services, get payment or a significant deposit at the time of booking. I do this via Acuity.* You can set up different calendars and connect it to a payment system. No payment = no appointment. You can make forms for people to fill out if you need to collect information in advance.
*That is an affiliate link. If you purchase I make a small commission. Acuity has saved MY LIFE re: short projects being paid for in advance. If you offer one or two hour services, Acuity is a freaking GODSEND. You can set it up so that your time is only booked if they pay. It saves a LOT of chasing around.
2. Always ALWAYS send out your regular client paperwork, even for small service packages. I'm doing that today. (INCOMING SBA SIGNUPEES!) You want people to have agreed to EXACTLY what you've sold them, and exactly what they're getting IN WRITING so that, for example, in my case, a $75 paid package doesn't morph into $400 of unpaid work. 'Cause THAT isn't helpful.
Alrighty-I am super curious what you're cooking up to offer to close out the year. Email me at katie at makemeafreelancer . com.