The end of the year can be a dry time for some freelancers — potential clients are on vacation, hectic schedules mean emails don’t get returned, and on top of that, the troubled economy is taking its toll.
With so many businesses tapped for cash, is there any hope for ending the year strong?
You bet there is — as long as you exercise a little creativity and get the ball rolling now, there is plenty of opportunity to end the year strong.
Here are three ideas that can help you fill up the coffers before December is through:
#1 — Sell A Block Of Time At A Holiday Discount
While freelancers tend to keep costs down to maximize profits, other businesses don’t necessarily operate that way. In fact, some companies scramble to use up their yearly budget in December (otherwise their superiors will cut their budget next year, since they obviously “didn’t need all of it this year”). So now is a prime time to give offer them a chance to send a solid chunk of change your way.
Create an end-of-year promotion, such as a block of ten or twenty pre-paid hours of your time, all at an attractive discount. They can use the time come January, but you can pocket the money now, when you need it most — or use it as a cushion in case sales are slow next month. If your offer is good enough, you may get more business than you expected — a win-win for everyone.
#2 — Make The Most Of Downtime With Consulting
Perhaps your clients have retained your services without knowing how to leverage them as profitably as they could — which makes selling them some consulting services an inviting pitch. If you’re being hired as a graphic designer for a specific project, maybe you can propose a few hours of consulting to help them create a better overall branding strategy during the December slowdown.
This creates a new source of income for you if you can spare the time, and if the client can provide a glowing testimonial , voila — you’ve opened the door to an additional service to offer clients in the new year.
#3 — Give Your Clients Incentive To Refer New Ones
Finding new clients is the toughest part of freelancing, so why not enlist your existing client base for some word-of-mouth advertising? Offer your existing customers a special “new client” discount coupon to give to their contacts and reward your referrer with a free service or discount on their next order.
Never underestimate the power of referral business — it is far and above the best way to create a loyal base of repeat clients. If you’re impressing your current clients, give them an incentive to tell their contacts about you and make “hunting for dinner” a less stressful experience.
Tell Us Your Year-End Business Building Tips
As December kicks into gear, what are your cant-miss tips for bringing in more billable hours? Share your ideas in the comments below, and see what other people are writing as well. Post your best tips, and let’s make this month one that lets you finish the year off in style :-)