I recently saw a post in freelance group I’m a part of that said:
I don’t have time to market my business when I have a ton of clients, but then I don’t get any more clients because I’m not marketing.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this statement and problem among freelancers, even when they’ve been at it for a long time.
You put a lot of effort into marketing, then get a bunch of clients and don’t have time to do any marketing. Then the clients drop off because you haven’t been marketing and you start the process again.
This is what we call the feast and famine cycle. This is what you want to avoid.
Marketing your business needs to be a constant. Although the ways and intensity of your marketing can adjust, especially during busy client times, it should never stop.
Although I shared with you a few strategies to get your very first clients last week, you need to put a plan in place and choose specific marketing strategies that you commit to doing for the long-haul, regardless of how busy you are at any given time.
Things like blogging, social media and email marketing (all topics I cover in The FTFP School!).
So what can you do to keep your income steady?
Don’t overbook yourself at any given time
I know how hard this is because I have this problem myself. When someone is interested in giving you money — you want it as soon as possible. But there are only so many hours in the day, and if you over-book yourself, the first thing to go will be your marketing. Especially because you’re so busy with client work, it’s easy to assume these big pay-days are going to keep coming.
It’s not until they stop coming that you realize, “Crap, I made a lot in a short period but now I have nothing in the pipeline”. We never expect it to happen but it does.
Be okay with booking clients at different intervals. You might lose a client if you tell them you’re not available for 3 months, but you won’t lose them if you tell them you can get started in two weeks. Don’t assume they’ll go to someone else just because you can’t start tomorrow.
Get a Control of Your Budget
I’m no financial planner, but I did see a big difference in the stress of uneven monthly income when I started setting aside a chunk of my income to go to the next month’s expenses. I use and love You Need a Budget to help me track this. I make sure that what comes into my business bank account, doesn’t leave to my personal checking until my expenses for the next month are accounted and saved for.
This ensures I always have my bills taken care of in advance and never experience a “famine”.
Choose One Day
Pick one day of the week where you commit to working on marketing. Don’t work on client stuff, don’t work on admin stuff. Choose a chunk of time that you dedicate to writing blog posts, sending your newsletter, and creating social media posts.
You can even go so far as to let your clients know you are not available on that day for client work so you don’t feel guilty not responding to emails or getting client work done on that day.
Pick a day and stick to it. Whether it’s once a week in the morning, or every other week all day.
Batch Your Marketing
Instead of blogging when the inspiration strikes or when you “have time”, spend one of your designated marketing days focused on writing several posts. (This post is the second of three I’m writing all in one afternoon!)
Instead of sending your newsletter only when you have a blog post, spend one of your designated marketing days batch-writing several newsletters that are unrelated to blog posts. The easiest way to do this is come up with some random quick tips that will help your subscribers solve a problem. Something that you don’t have enough to say about for a full blog post, but will still be helpful to your audience. Write 5 of these emails that are ready to send in case you don’t have a blog post scheduled one week and would normally skip sending your newsletter.
Instead of being a roller-coaster social poster (ya’ know, one day you’re sharing everything you find and then the next two you’re not posting anything), spend one of your designated marketing days batch writing interesting stuff to share on your social channels. This way you can be sure your feeds will stay fresh and updated even if you aren’t in a share frenzy mood one week. This is also a great way to ensure you’re sharing a balance of types of posts (and not just other people’s content or your own) because you can be more strategic in your planning.
There is never a better time than right now to put these strategies in place. Don’t wait until you get on the feast or famine rollercoaster and then have to try and get out.