Gig Business

How to Make It Through the Off-Season

By Matt Holland

Almost every business has an off-season. As a freelancer who works from gig to gig, these slow times can have a large impact on you financially. But if you prepare ahead of time and take advantage of your free time, you can make it through the slow season without all the added stress.
 

Create a budget for the off-season.

The first step is to prepare your finances well in advance. Relying on gigs or freelance work for income means that money can be sporadic. But you can avoid the droughts and famines by setting up your own payroll system.

  • Create a business account in addition to your personal account.
  • Put all your gig funds into a business account.
  • Choose your salary based on the lowest monthly income for the past year.
  • Pay yourself out of the business account on a scheduled date weekly or every two weeks.

Beyond setting a spending limit, saving regularly—even a small amount—should be a part of your budget plan. Ideally, you’ll want to have the security of a few month’s income to hold you over in the slow season.

Utilize apps that can help you stay within a budget and save. Mint is a great way to keep track of the money you’re spending and to set up a customized budget.
 

Work on your marketing materials.

Use this additional time to update your PromoKit and website, and work on producing even more promotional materials.

  • Reach out to past clients and ask for reviews on your PromoKit. Make use of the reviews tool in your PromoKit to request feedback.
  • Create new media (photos, videos, audio tracks). Here are a few ways you can keep your costs down.
  • Advertise more on social media. Now that you’re not as busy, you can spend more time actively promoting yourself. Try a live video on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Live videos can create a sense of urgency as well as add a fun and interactive experience for your audience.

 

Develop your skills.

Practicing and improving your skills can often take a backseat to performing. With more time on your hands, you can learn some new material or work on your stagecraft.

Take a look at your current performance or even the performances of your competitors. Is there anything you can add to enhance your show? Be inspired by checking out what others are doing. As hard as it can be to admit, there is almost always something to be learned from your competitors.
 

Participate in your community.

Get involved and connect with your community. Volunteering is a great way to give back locally and you may even make some new connections in the process. Perform for free at a local charity or nursing home to practice some new material in front of an audience. Not only will you be giving back to your local area that supports you, but these low-pressure gigs are a great way to try out a new act or routine.

If you haven’t spoken with fellow performers recently, make time to do so. Meeting with like-minded people can be uplifting and helpful. If you don’t have a group of performers in your local area, join or start an online group. Online groups are particularly useful, as you can glean new ideas from those outside of your area.
 

Make time for you.

Use the time off to practice some well-earned self-care. Reduce your stress, recoup, and refocus. Taking a vacation and getting away from the normal grind is good for your health and your productivity.

For each person, this self-care will mean something different. For some, this means spending more time with family and friends or this may be the perfect time to take up a hobby. Ultimately, do something that leaves you feeling refreshed and is not related to your work. You will return to your work with a new outlook and ability!
 

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