6 Ways to Use Your Downtime as a Freelancer


6 Ways to Use Your Downtime as a Freelancer

When you’re caught up on your paid writing projects, and waiting for feedback or revision requests from your clients, what do you do? A PTO day can refresh your creativity if you’re feeling mentally exhausted.

But, if you’re focused and energetic, schedule a day to work on your number one business client: YOU.

I’m always surprised when I hear small business folks talk about fitting their business promotion, marketing and website updates in when they have time. That’s a haphazard approach. You need to regularly dedicate time to work on your business, not in it.

Next time you have a free afternoon, day or week, try polishing your business assets.

Disclosure: This blog is reader-supported, which means this post contains affiliate links and advertisements. I earn a small commission if you shop through them, which helps fund this website so I can continue to bring you amazing content. Thank you! ~Angela

What to Do As a Freelance Writer with Downtime

Over the years I’ve been asked in online chats and interviews how I make time for this blog, updating my website and marketing my writing services across multiple social media feeds.

I schedule it.

I treat my business as my number one client and give it attention each day. I do this to keep the pipeline of projects coming in and to keep my name top of mind with my readers, editors and clients.

1. Update your business website.

If you’re managing your business website, there are always little tasks to tend to, such as updating broken links, refreshing outdated product/service descriptions or adding new content to your writing samples.

When was the last time you reviewed your writing website with a careful eye and revised outdated information? Maybe some digital spring cleaning is in order.

2. Write a blog post for your business.

I publish on the Web Writing Advice blog on my writing website regularly. This means I always have a pipeline of topics to write about. When I have some free hours in my day, I might grab one of those topics and brainstorm an outline, and start drafting.

If you have a hobby blog or side project, you can also devote time to crafting content for that entity. I write a lifestyle blog documenting my autoimmune health journey. Sure, it’s monetized, but it’s still secondary to my client work. When I have downtime, I often give Cupcakes and Yoga Pants attention.

If you don’t have a blog on your business website, or a side project, you can also write something that shows your knowledge in your field, and pitch it as a guest post to a publication to get your name and authority in front of more viewers. If you’re new to freelance writing and simply want to get published online, these eight options are a good place to start.

3. Engage on social media.

Many small business owners have a regular posting cadence for their social media feeds. Some pre-schedule posts to go out at specific times each day. Others contract with a social media manager to outsource this business necessity.

If you have downtime, use those hours to see what others are posting on social, leave insightful comments on posts and prepare new posts for your feeds if you handle this task.

4. Catch up on admin tasks.

Have you fallen behind in updating your accounting software, preparing invoices or replying to emails? Use your time to tackle these tasks.

If it’s nearing tax filing season, you can spend a few hours gathering business deduction receipts, scheduling an appointment with a tax preparer and getting income/expense reports ready for the visit.

5. Work on newsletter planning.

Use your downtime from client tasks to brainstorm new topics to write about in your newsletter if you have one. You know you’ll need to do this eventually, so why not now?

If you feel inspired, work on outlines and drafting a few paragraphs. When you’re not focused on client project deadlines, the words for your promotions might flow more easily.

6. Reach out to your clients.

If you have more than a day or two of downtime, connect with your current and past clients. Let them know you have an opening on your calendar and ask if they need help on any last-minute projects.

You can also discuss upcoming campaigns, projects and content needs to get a better feel for the coming weeks and months.

How did you spend your last span of downtime? Did you log off and enjoy a walk outside? Meet up with friends for lunch? Update your business website? Draft something you’ll pitch to editors? I’d love to hear what you do! Comment below.

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