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Battling the Freelance Rollercoaster: How I Stay Motivated During Slow Spells

I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I took the plunge into full-time freelancing after leaving my cushy desk job behind. While embodying the digital nomad life has been liberating creatively, I’d be lying if I said adjusting to the unpredictable income rollercoaster hasn’t tested my resilience.


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After an overwhelmingly busy fall working with several hyper-growth startups, the new year ushered in a sudden drought once budgets tightened and clients hit pause on marketing efforts. Having weeks drift by without new contracts threatened my fiery motivation, especially after getting used to thriving on creative challenges.


If you’ve faced motivation-sucking freelance ruts too, know you aren’t alone! Here are my top survival strategies for making the most of slower seasons so you emerge stronger on the other side...


Rediscover Your Freelance Superpowers


Revisiting early client testimonials reminds me why I started this journey in the first place. I felt creatively stifled in-house, longing to spread my wings launching passion projects that fused artsy ideas and calculated strategies. Reminding myself that boring corporate safety blanket always awaits should I want it helps me vow to persevere a little longer in indie-land!

Overhaul Your Online Presence

Slow spells make perfect spring cleaning opportunities to spruce up your personal brand! I finally launched a sleek case-study focused site, professionalized social channels and crafted video overviews of services so I’m primed for future opportunities. Almost think of downtime as a production reset - the calm before your next creative storm!


Master New Skills


Rather than doom-scroll for gigs, enroll in online workshops expanding your capabilities across mediums and methods! With interests spanning illustration, 3D modeling and copywriting, having incremental goals unlocking new crafts keeps me energized to try innovative offerings once assignments restart.


Tap Past Clients


Rekindle old relationships! With available hours I pitched project ideas, offered discounted friends + family rates or simply checked in with former collaborators. Even minimal catch-up calls planted seeds for later harvests. Leverage archives showing your best work when it’s fresh for them again.


Explore Income Diversification


One upside of downtime? Space evaluating multiple income streams so all eggs aren’t stuffed precariously in one basket! I researched selling digital products, joining creator economies via Substack and even crypto art markets. Building supplemental channels generating residual revenue helps calm nerves. You can check out my side hustle on Etsy here

While I still lose sleep over when the next client will hit “go” on an exciting campaign, focusing energy on these spheres within my control helps navigate uncertainty. Would love to hear any other feedback on powering through the notorious freelance famine cycles! Now who wants to grab coffee and save me from solo work sessions?


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