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Keeping Busy Between Projects

If you've been a freelancer for any amount of time, you will know that from time to time you will experience lag time between client projects.  It is important that you do not allow this time to go to waste.  What are some things you should be doing during the slow times in your freelance management consulting career?

Get Up To Date on Finances

When you are in the throes of projects and client work, it's easy to fall behind on accounting - especially if you are handling this important business record-keeping task yourself.  When you are between projects you should check to make sure that finances are in order.  This may include:
  1. Going through unpaid invoices and sending a letter reminding overdue clients to pay
  2. Ensuring all income and expenses have been recorded in your spreadsheet program
  3. Balancing your accounts
  4. Ensuring all taxes are up to date (this should be an all the time activity)
  5. Making sure you've contributed to your IRA, Retirement, and other savings or investment accounts accordingly
  6. Researching ways to be financially secure
Networking

Many jobs come, not from advertisements but from those you know.  Take time during your downtime to brush up on any networking you may have lagged on.  If you do not have a Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook Business account, you may want to do this.  LinkedIn can be a great way to meet other people in the business sector.  Also take advantage of networking events and mixers during your down time.  Getting your business card out there may be just the kick you need to get that call you've been waiting for.

Personal Projects

Downtime between projects is a great time to work on personal projects. Personal projects may include:
  1. Research on new consulting techniques
  2. Learning how to use new strategy tools
  3. Writing a book or several articles on your niche area of management consulting
  4. Learning about a new skill or industry
Volunteer

Volunteering your management consulting services to non-profits or start up businesses can be a great way to get your name out there and build your resume.  Make a list of causes you are interested in, contact those who are in a position to offer you the opportunities you seek out, and work on a project for them.

Marketing

Marketing is necessary at all times when you are a freelancer, but sometimes freelance consultants become so wrapped up in projects that they forget about this important business feature (especially if you don't have a publicist or marketing agent doing this for you.)  When was the last time you updated your website? Is it time to start a new blog? Are your directory listings current?  Could you write some letters of introduction or send a document pack to prospective clients?  

Attend a Conference or Trade Show

When you are in the throes of a client project, it can be difficult to attend trade shows and conferences where you can network with other consultants, consultancies, and industry professionals and where you learn valuable skills.  Use downtime to reconnect in these venues - who knows what might become of it.  If nothing else, you will stay up to date on important industry trends and get in touch with some of those who can help you to build your career.


 
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