Business Boost: 10 Ways Writers Can Beat the Summer Slowdown

Does your freelancing business slow down as the weather warms up? Longtime PWAC Toronto Chapter Board Member (currently treasurer!) and freelance writer/editor Jaclyn Law has some great tips for how to use your downtime to tackle all those non-billable tasks you can’t always squeeze in.

  1. Update your website. Review and update your website, LinkedIn profile, Facebook business page, Pressfolio, etc. While you’re at it, leave the networking platforms and mailing lists you don’t find helpful.
  1. Take care of your tech. Practise good computer hygiene. Give your keyboard and mouse a deep cleaning and wipe off the germs on your smartphone. If you use a headset for phone interviews, clean that, too. Catch up on software updates and device maintenance. iPhone users, check out Apple’s out-of-warranty battery replacement program. Review your phone and Internet usage to see if a smaller plan makes sense.
  1. Digitize your stuff. Writers accumulate a lot of paper, including published clips, research notes and seminar handouts. I don’t want to lug them around forever, so I’m using a portable scanner to digitize whatever I want to keep (and to ease the monotony, I’m also working through my Netflix list). When I get new clips, I scan the pages or ask editors for PDFs. Eventually, I want to scan our family photos, too, with tips from this guy.
  1. Back up your files in the cloud. If you’re serious about protecting your personal and work files, backing up to an external hard drive isn’t enough. Research and choose an online service. To get started, check out Lifewire’s reviews of 21 options.
  1. Weed your library. I have stacks of writing reference books that no longer fit me, for one reason or another, and I’m finding new homes for them. Go through your own shelves and decide what to keep, give away, donate or recycle. Need tips? Listen to the pros.
  1. Review your progress. Now might be a good time to revisit your business goals, business plan and/or marketing strategy and adjust them, if necessary. To sweeten this task, I suggest taking your laptop and headphones to a café and treating yourself to an iced mocha.
  1. Research new markets. When you’re working full tilt, there isn’t much time for prospecting. Pick a publication, website, subject area, project or industry you’ve been meaning to explore and see if it’s a good fit. Bonus points if you pitch something to a potential client.
  1. Itemize your expenses. We’re midway through the year, so you likely have a pile of receipts to add to your expenses spreadsheet, or whatever system you use. If you do that now, I promise tax time will be less painful.
  1. Deal with money matters. Now is a great time to tackle your financial to-do list—things like reviewing your investments, researching insurance options, whittling down expenses or meeting with your financial adviser.
  1. Attend a PWAC Toronto Chapter event. Summertime Cheers with Peers is back! Join your fellow writers at Pogue Mahone Pub and Kitchen on Tuesday, July 31, and Tuesday, August 28, starting at 6:30 p.m. And if you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss the upcoming gelato social on Thursday, August 9, at Punto Gelato in Yorkville, starting at 7 p.m. (weather permitting). Check pwactoronto.org for updates.
  1. Bonus idea: Write for Networds! PWAC Toronto Chapter welcomes blog posts about the craft and business of writing. Contact blog editor Suzanne Bowness.