Plan Ahead for the Summertime Lull
During the summer, time seems to move a little slower, and not just for parents. Freelancers often suffer from a summertime lull, seemingly bringing operations to a halt.
When this happens, budgets might be tighter and incoming work may go down; however, it doesn’t mean that this is the end of your business. All that you need to do is remember that the summertime lull is something that is recurring, and as a result, can be planned for and (somewhat) avoided.
Wondering how you can prepare your business for the summertime lull already?
Budget it In
The most challenging thing to manage during the summertime lull is your balance sheet. If you have salaried employees alongside ongoing regular expenses, the sudden decline in income could tip your business into the red zone.
By budgeting into your yearly plan a decline in revenue generation during the summer months, you will effectively be budgeting in the summertime lull. The best way to do that is by talking to your bookkeeper or accountant and setting up seasonal budgets. See what expenses you can reduce during the summer, and what expenses can be paid off during peak season.
If you do not have salaried employees and only need to worry about paying your bills, separating business and personal spending could be a great way to plan your budget for the summertime lull. By doing so, it will be easier to track business spending in advance and anticipate the costs you will have to cover during the slow season.
Retainers are a great way to reduce the impact of the summertime lull as well as you grow your business. Unfortunately, many companies do not like to commit to an hourly bank that they fear they may not need.
To secure a steady income, consider packaging retainers as something else. By bundling your deliverables, building a subscription, or creating an ongoing service model, you may be able to secure more retainers and reduce the impact the summertime lull has on your business.
In other words, instead of trying to get your client to agree to a retainer based on a bank of hours, offer them customized deliverables based on their unique needs. If you are a graphic design business providing companies with banners and landing pages for example, build a package based on a bank of deliverables that will reduce the overall costs and maximize their efficiency.
When operating any type of recurring payment model, it is important to provide your clients with a monthly report showcasing your output for their expenditure. Doing so will help validate the expense and remind them of the value you provide.
Invoice at Completion and not Commission
One great way freelancers can ensure revenue generation continues during the slower season is by adjusting payment structures for different clients.
While many freelancers choose to get paid upfront or collect a bulk of a project sum in advance, shifting your pay structure may help you survive the summertime slump.
Instead of collecting the majority of the payment when a project is commissioned, if you invoice a client when the project is complete, depending on the agreed payment terms, the revenue for that project may come in just in time for the summertime lull. Shifting payment models can also help your clients since it will enable them to defer payment, creating a win-win situation.
It is important to remember that any payment structure you choose should be done in agreement with your clients and should always be in writing in a contract or other legal document.
Upsell to Past Clients
Remember that client you worked with a long time ago? They may have forgotten about the great service you provided them, and there is no better time to remind them than during the summer.
Touch base with old clients and see if they need additional services. If you expanded your offering or skills, be sure to point that out.
Do not let your clients feel like they are receiving a cold call or email; instead, take the time to catch up on their business and when reaching out, provide specific examples of how you can help. For instance, if you supplied a particular company with website copy, check out their website and their digital activities and see if their content needs updating. If so, provide them with an ‘upgrade’ offer.
Even if they don’t need that particular service, reaching out may remind them of other tasks that you can help them with, creating a win-win situation.
Focus on Your Business
While a little bit of downtime may seem like a big deal on your budget, the summertime lull is a great time to focus on your business before the post-summer peak kicks in.
Take the time to spruce up your own website, tweak your offerings and build your brand. If you neglected your email marketing campaigns, now is the time to create campaigns for the next quarter in advance.
The summertime lull is also a great time to make software changes and integrate new tools. For example, if you want to start using a lead generation system, or want to shift to a new payment solution, you’ll want to do so during the summer.
No matter how you choose to approach the summertime lull, it is important to do so calmly and in advance. Remember that summer comes and goes, but your freelance business is here to stay.
The payment processing services offered by Payoneer are an excellent support for freelancers to efficiently collect income during all seasons of the year.