Designers, especially freelancers, go through several cycles, and it’s almost inevitable that you will have times when you’re in between client projects and you don’t have a lot of work to do. In these situations, there are still many productive ways to spend time.
This article is meant to show you an example of things you can focus on when you don’t have enough client work to keep you busy. Read through the list and find a few that interest you the most. Keep these in mind when slow times come and you always have something you can do to move in the right direction.
UNLIMITED DOWNLOADS: Over 50 million add-ons and design resources
1. Start a planning blog
If your site has a blog, chances are it won’t pay much attention when you’re busy with customer projects. The time between projects can provide an opportunity to update your blog and reach more readers. Blogs are great sources for finding new customers, they can attract links to your site and give you a new opportunity to network with others in the industry.
Hosting a blog on your portfolio site is a common choice, but you can also set up a separate blog that is not affiliated with your freelance services. If you want to write about design or create high quality blog content with other designers as your target audience, this may be the best option for you.
Start your own blog: We have a step-by-step guide that shows you exactly how to set up your own blog in minutes. Learn how to start your blog easy way.
2. Write for other blogs
In addition to writing your own blog, you can also spend your time writing for other blogs. There are a lot of blogs that pay for articles, and even more that accept free guest posts. Freelance blogging can be a great addition to your income from client work, and any kind of work on other blogs will help with exposure, name recognition, and link building.
Writing popular blogs will also push you to do the best job and you will probably learn new things in the process. In my experience, one of the most rewarding things about writing other blogs is the ability to network with influential blog owners and editors. When I started the Vandelay Design blog in 2007, I spent money a lot wrote for other blogs in the field, and it was one of the key factors that helped grow my own blog.
3. Share-specific charts for sale
One of the best ways to use your design skills to make money is creating stock resources to sell. There are many marketplaces that sell images and graphics, and you can apply for an assistant. Alternatively, you can also sell at marketplaces such as Great deals and InkyDeals, plus you can sell resources on your own website or blog.
You can create the following resource types:
- UI sets
- PSD files
These are just a few examples, and there are many other possibilities. Stock resource planning is an ideal option because you can work on these projects whenever you have free time, and you can stop working on them when you’re busy with customer work. It is one of the best ways for designers to earn passive income.
4. Templates for sale
Make money by selling website templates, WordPress themeor Shopify theme is a realistic possibility. Creating these resources takes more time and effort than stock charts, but the revenue potential is also greater. Top-selling designs or themes can earn huge sums for a designer / developer.
If you choose this route, you will need to decide whether you want this to be a side project or a big part of your business. Sales in the market, such as ThemeForest is a good option if it’s just a side project because you don’t have to dedicate a lot of time to building your audience. But if you want it to become a Full Time Business, selling on your own website is a better option.
5. Track previous customers
If you’re in a situation where you don’t currently have a job, why not contact your former clients to see if you can do something for them? This can be an easy way to take on a new project, as many of your clients need changes to their website, business card design, marketing help, or anything else you can offer. While the customer doesn’t have immediate needs, it helps to keep in touch with them, and when they have a need for your services, you’re on your mind.
You can also ask past customers for references or set up a referral program give them an extra incentive.
6. Be proactive about networking
Getting a solid professional network is essential to success as a web designer, especially for freelancers. Why not take advantage of the time available to you with other designers, developers, marketers, or anyone else you would like to network with?
Your networking could include:
- Personal networking in your neighborhood
- Participation in conferences or seminars
- Reach people by email
- Connecting on Twitter, Facebook, or other social networks
- Leaving blog comments
While networking is really important, it often takes a back seat due to a busy schedule. Building a network is an ideal use of time when you are not busy with other projects.
Look 5 Principles of effective networking more tips.
7. Work on your portfolio site
Your design portfolio website is a critical resource for your business, but it probably doesn’t get much attention when you’re busy. When was the last time you updated your portfolio site?
You can use this time to add new items to your portfolio, post new testimonials, make design changes, or completely redesign your site.
Most potential customers evaluate a designer based on the quality of their portfolio site. If you want to increase the number of your clients when they want to hire a designer, improving your portfolio site is one of the most effective things you can do.
Don’t have a portfolio site yet? Setting up your site is easy. Read our guide How to create a portfolio website which will guide you through a simple process.
8. Define a portfolio of Behance, DeviantArt, etc.
In addition to presenting your work on your own portfolio site, there are a number of community-focused sites that allow you to showcase your creations. Some popular options are Behance, DeviantArt, Made of carbonand Coroflot. Find a larger list of options 17 websites to showcase your models.
Uploading your value to these sites will not replace the need for your own portfolio site. You can have your own website and also create a portfolio on such sites to reach a larger audience and build your network.
9. Create free programs
Creating resources for free release may work in conjunction with some of the other options we’ve already discussed. If you have a blog, you can plan free programs to donate to your blog. If you sell digital products like stock graphics or designs, you can give free products to get people to your door.
Free needs are always appreciated, and the highest quality free bets are also good at attracting links and social media shares. You can work with any type of freeware, including texture, Photoshop brushes, vectors, icons, design elements, etc.
Creating free resources can be the perfect way to raise your profile in the industry.
10. Read the book
Most of us would like to spend more time learning and improving in certain areas. Designers and developers can benefit from reading quality books. It’s hard to find time to read when you have a lot to do, so why not use your downtime to pick up new skills by reading a book. If you’re not sure what you want to read, we have several collections that might help:
11. Follow the guides
The quality is thousands guides available online, which can help you learn new skills or techniques. It can be a Photoshop tutorial, an Illustrator tutorial, a coding tutorial, or anything else that can help you learn something that will help your work. This is also something that is usually overlooked when you are busy, so the time between projects is perfect through tutorials.
Here are some collections to keep you busy:
12. Learn about photography
Photography can be an ideal creativity for designers. Many designers enjoy photography, and learning from it can even help with your design work. Not to mention that getting some high quality photos can also be helpful in your design work.
Many designers like to describe the textures they use in their work. You may want our article how to describe textures or just simply get out and practice.
13. Volunteering in a non-profit organization
If you want to put your skills to good use when you have no other jobs, consider volunteering for your services non-profit organizations.
I recommend that you work with an organization that you are personally connected to or that a family member or friend is dealing with.
There are certainly situations where an organization that gets free work doesn’t emphasize the process as much as it would if it paid for what can make things difficult. This can be made a little easier if it’s the organization you’re dealing with, and it also helps if you’re passionate about the organization and its work.
Sometimes it’s nice to simply get out of the office and out of the computer. Getting outside and being close to nature can provide inspiration. You may also feel refreshed and ready to leave when a new project arrives. Depending on how much time you have, you may even want to travel and experience new places.
15. Enjoy your free time
Not everything you can do for your downtime doesn’t have to focus directly on the job. Sometimes it’s best to appreciate slow times by relaxing. When new projects come up, you definitely need to focus and dedicate yourself to the work. A short free time can help recharge, so you get back more energy and enthusiasm from your work.
The next time you find yourself without a job and between clients, turn to any of the ideas discussed here. You will be able to use your time wisely and work to grow your business even if you don’t have customers.