Well, the dog days of summer are upon us (if you’re in the US at least) and the heat down here in Texas is soaring into the stratosphere.
For us here this is the time of year when no one really wants to get out in the heat and we certainly don’t want to dress for the occasion if we do. Cool drinks and swimming pools are the norm down here, but how do you combine summer activities with trying to make a living? Go fishing of course!
There are plenty of ways to increase business and beat the heat this summer if you just take a look around. I’ve decided to see how many I could come up with. Feel free to add to the list!
- Start a new marketing blitz. Depending on your budget, these can be done without a lot of expense by using bulk mailers and standard size post cards.
- Contact your local Chamber of Commerce for a list of new members. These are usually businesses that are relatively new to the area and may be in need of your services.
- Contact businesses you did work for six months ago. Are they out of anything?
- Volunteer your time and/or services to a non-profit organization.
- Go to the flea market. If you print T-shirts, create tangible products or just want to drum up business, go to the flea markets and open air markets. Give a business card to every vendor and customer that you get close to. I never walk out with less than 10 new business contacts, many of them then turn into paying clients.
- Start a newsletter. Or offer to work on the one at your church or club. This will sometimes open doors to new contacts you might not have otherwise met.
- Ask for referrals. If work has slowed down, ask for referrals from friends, family and past customers. If you did a good job, they are more than happy to help out.
- Keep your eyes open to new opportunities. I just hooked up with a company that does banners and vehicle wraps and needed a designer. Even though this is a new area for me, I’m willing to learn a new skill and they are willing to send lots of work my way.
- Revisit your resource list. If it’s been awhile, check out your resources for new freelance jobs and new markets.
- Take a class. Everyone knows if you fall off the radar for just a few months, you are considered obsolete in this business. Stay up to date by taking a class that updates your skills or adds to them.
- Teach a class. Offer classes to area residents for a small fee, or offer to tutor young people.
- Write a book. If you have the patience and the time, depart with a little knowledge or make someone laugh if you have that talent.
- Do you need to redefine yourself? Has your business grown or gone in a direction you were not anticipating. Maybe now is a good time to re-examine what works and what doesn’t. If there is a major change, do your marketing tools such as business cards and brochures reflect that? Toss out the old stuff and give yourself a brand new facelift.
- Expand your network. Or start one if you haven’t yet. Do you know businesses in your area that would compliment yours? Are you working with them on a regular basis to increase everyone’s business base? Now might be a good time to get acquainted.
- Clean out the office and organize. Now we all know we make more money if the office is clean. At least you will be able to find the files you need, when you need them.
- Go on vacation. I know, there is no such thing to a freelancer. But just changing your surroundings for a day can bring in new business. Check out the new mall or take a day trip to some place you’ve never been before. As freelancers, we can’t go anywhere without talking about what we do. Someone is bound to listen, right?
- Try out a new hobby. We all need a new distraction once in a while. Take up ceramics, painting or what ever trips your trigger. You will come back less stressed and with a fresh eye for your business.
The bottom line is to get out of the house once in a while, meet new people under whatever circumstances fit your needs, and make sure you are on top of your game. People have very short memories and it’s up to you to make sure they remember your household name. Pop the cap on your favorite beverage and let the summer heat begin.
Do you have a cool idea for increasing business while beating the summer heat? Share it with me! :)
About the author: Lois Knight has been a freelance writer and graphic designer for the last two years. She designs predominantly for small start up companies and non profits in need of design services that could not afford them otherwise.
She has a background as an entrepreneur for over twenty years and has dedicated herself to educating people interested in graphics as a career. She also wrote an ebook titled: I’m Tired of Being Broke A Freelancer’s Guide to Working at Home