Ups and downs of freelancing

Money, Motivation, Creativity: the Ups and Downs of Freelancing

In the freelance realm of social media, we all see a lot of talk about feast or famine. A phrase generally used to talk about the financial ups and downs of freelance life.

Because god forbid you’d actually have a nice, steady flow of work, month in, month out.

You’re either drowning under client emails and requests or left wondering why they’ve all gone quiet at precisely the same time, convinced they’re all in cahoots.

But the freelance rollercoaster goes beyond that.

Sure, there are dry spells of work which can lead to dust collecting in your bank account, but there are also dry spells when it comes to creativity and motivation for working on your business that can lead to tumbleweed on your social media channels.

I’m in one right now.

Back in April, the opposite was true.

Sure, thanks to the pandemic, I suddenly had quite a lot of time on my hands, with life being cancelled, along with a lot of my client work.

But I was feeling surprisingly fresh, motivated, and writing blogs every single week. It lasted for quite a long time, and my blog back-catalogue is looking very healthy as a result.

Now I’ve slowed the pace, and when I do manage to blog, it’s only reflective pieces like these that I can manage.

I just can’t find the energy to put together the blogs bursting with advice which were flowing so easily a few months ago.

And that’s okay.

Running a freelance business, there’s a lot of pressure to be producing exceptional content constantly.

To be providing your audience with ‘value’, whether that’s in the form of blogs, newsletters, Instagram posts, or your medium of choice… Week in, week out.

Some freelancers do manage to stick to it. They plan out their content marketing months in advance, and stick to it. And I’m sure it works wonders for growing their audience and business.

But for me, that’s just not always realistic.

As freelancers, the vast majority of us are creatives, in some way shape or form. And creativity can’t be forced. It comes in waves, then goes through fallow periods.

I don’t know if it’s a lockdown-hangover, our still newfound (relative) freedom here in Spain, or just the fact that it’s nearly 40 degrees centigrade outside that’s brought my fallow period on.

But I’ve accepted it and am focusing on client work, keeping my marketing ticking over but not beating myself up if I miss a self-imposed deadline, and determinedly not comparing myself to other people.

After all, I have periods like these every year, so if a worldwide pandemic didn’t bring one on, I’d start to think something wasn’t quite right.

So for now, it’s time to read, listen, watch, and take things in.

The wheels will turn and at some point my motivation and creativity will return. Just like those wayward clients always do after a month of silence.

If you’re on a high make sure you ride it, but if you’re down here with me then don’t fight it. Try and relax into it and recharge your batteries.

Who knows, if you give yourself the down time you’re craving, then when your next creative period hits you it might be your best one yet.

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