10 Things I Did When Freelance Business Got Slow

Last week Dennis Field shared a great perspective on When Things Get Slow for freelancers. I got to thinking about my time as a freelancer and about how I found new biz or tried to attract new clients.

I don’t have any great advice for you here, but I do have examples of some things I did to get your wheels turning.

My secret for generating new biz as a freelancer: get WEIRD. Do unique and fun projects that get attention. Here's a few examples.

1. Get weird
@jaredsgibbons and I left disposable cameras around Cbus for crowdsourced images of the city. This was great for getting people asking about what I was up to when we posted the images on social. Some ended up with selfies like below.

2. Being Visible.
By donating power strips to local coffee shops with Columbus Startups branded stickers on them, every time someone plugged in, they see the brand. Essentially we were “powering” the startup scene. Also the coffee shop needed the extra outlets.

3. Sponsor coffee for the day at a coffee shop. 
It was way better than buying ads, and it led to happier customers in the shop (win-win). Plus we got to watch as people’s day got brightened.

4. Don't “launch party” — host an event with meaning. 
Let them be a part of your brand values, make people feel good about themselves. A good idea could be Charity, dinner, introducing a bunch of people. For me I hosted dinners and meetups for 6–8 people I thought should meet. "It's in our CMYK"

5. (Must be said) T shirts, while cool, do not stand out. 
We hand pick @tattly tattoos for our Death to Stock customers, let’s GET WEIRDER people. And the hand written note is a given for standing out and being personal.

6. When things got slow as a freelancer: I made a broadsheet Newspaper and sent it to my favorite companies. Sorry for the weird note @kinfolk ! 
This one took serious time and effort, but if you’re sending resumes, there’s no way they’re going to be read. This was a fun way to proactively show people what I was up to, in a way that would be talked about. I really just wanted them to say "hey remember that kid that sent us a newspaper.."

7. All of the people on My Gold List email list got to X marks the spot tattoo to place wherever they wanted! Arrrrgggh
Again getting back to letting people be involved in your brand. They typically recieve all of my writing via email, so I thought, hey let’s do my email list this week just with regular mail instead!

8. When things get slow as a freelancer: Host an instameet! Or design jam.
This connected me with tons of other like minded people, not to mention great exposure via everyone’s photos flooding the feeds of people in our city.

9. When slow w/freelance biz: Send clients value BEFORE they hire you. 
@deathtostock was value for @alliepal and my peers before they asked. We found something we thought would be helpful as a service and product and just said “hey here’s great photos in case you need them, make something great.”

10. Counterintuitive: contract (pay) another freelancer for work. This buys you new access to THEIR network. 
I met Allie Co-founder of Death to Stock this way. Not only do you learn to work with a potential collaborator, but you gain access to their network. Plus how sick were these logos!

To sum it up: There are many companies that need you, badly. To be talked about, you have Inspire them with a good story they can share. After that you become “The guy/gal who..” 

Work/TechnologyDavid Sherry