I have discovered something rather unpleasant. The leather on my second hand office chair at KindredHQ (my living room office) is not the best piece of office furniture to have on a hot day. This is the reality of freelancing when you don’t have an air-conditioned office to go to.
Our office employee friends probably think we have it all. There’s no one forcing us to stay in our sweaty home offices is there? It’s a golden opportunity to ‘work anywhere, work outside’ isn’t it?
The fact is that Summer creates lots of reasons for people to feel less like working. Especially if you are working for yourself. So we’ve come up with a few reasons to embrace the Summer and go with the flow, using the opportunity to get ahead of the pack.
1. You can be available
Everyone is on holiday. People say things like ‘let’s leave that until September when everyone’s back from holiday’.
Not you though. You can flex your holidays around the work, and despite the fact that your clients might be away; you can use the time to take advantage and be accessible. Even if the right gigs aren’t coming up (because everyone’s away), you can be laying the foundations for a new job at the end of the Summer.
2. You can rebrand
Summer gives us all a chance to breathe, look up and decide what we want to do with our lives. That’s why, for decades, the Summer return has traditionally been one of the busiest times of year for recruiters.
Even if you are taking a holiday with the kids, take some quiet time to think about what’s working and what isn’t in your working life. It could be a simple adjustment to your working style. It could be a refresh of your website. It’s a chance to be a fresh new you.
Think about how you are going to make that change, and plan your rebranded offer. If you need some help – join a Mastermind Group. And if you’re near London, UK – join ours!
3. You can have fun (and work)
We wouldn’t want to give the impression that freelancing means ‘all work and no play’. Why would you slog it out inside when you can be getting your Vitamin D in the park or going for a walk?
Most of us have a laptop, the essential item in the freelancer’s toolkit. So there’s no need to sit inside and wish you were outside. You can get some fresh air and work at the same time.
Often, inspiration strikes when you are out of your usual environment. Taking time to observe what’s happening in your local community can offer you plenty of material and ideas.
4. You can hone your skills
A recent report on trends in independent working across Europe highlighted the fact that independents and freelancers are less likely to think about self-development and improving their skills. Which is worrying really. Because many of us are dependent on our expert and relevant advice to earn money.
So use this time to improve your skills and think about how you can position yourself as a thought leader. Even if the conferences and seminars are thin on the ground this Summer, you can learn plenty online. Check out our article on the rise of free online learning opportunities.
5. You can legitimately read books
Let’s assume you have also taken the opportunity for a Summer break. That’s a good thing! Holidays give you time to reflect and think – and read…
Think about taking a book or two that will stimulate and inspire you to grow your freelance business and take you in new directions when you return to work. It could be something very practical and educational to a book about the future of self-employment and where the trends are. We’ve covered this in our blog about essential reads for a freelancer, which gives you somewhere to start.
6. You can reconnect with your real friends
That’s not to say that you can’t meet friends at networking events, it’s just that your friends are the people who will listen to your dreams and disasters with equal interest and are the people who you aren’t out to impress.
It’s easy to lose track of what really matters when you are going all out to get established, and just keep going when you freelance. But your friends are the people who will keep you bolstered up, and keep your confidence levels topped up. They’ll love you for who you are, rather than who others think you are.
So, spend a bit of time with your friends this Summer. It’s probably the most important way you can spend the downtime.
Oh. And relax. That’s what the Summer is for!