The F Word: How Creative Freelancers Work During the Summer

illustration by  Justina Lei

illustration by Justina Lei

The best thing about summer is the shorter work hours. For many office dwellers, Summer Fridays is a weekly sigh of relief. However, when you’re a freelancer the feelings are not so mutual, or it can go either way depending on your clients.

If you freelance at a creative agency, say in advertising, majority of the team will likely clock out mentally by no later than 3pm on Summer Fridays. Freelancers see this day as either a blessing or a woe. Since you’re the contractor, no one is thinking about you on this day of the week. Sorry, it’s a hard truth, especially if it falls on a payday. And if your freelance contract is fee by the hour, you have this scenario:

  • F*ck summer Friday. What’s a Summer Friday? Treat it like a normal work day, just as long as you do your due diligence by Thursday. That means getting signatures, approvals for tasks and projects and important emails (especially payroll) before Friday hits. Working alone on this day can actually be a much necessary breather for you, no distractions via email or Slack. Use it to your advantage to catch up, brainstorm or prep for the next week’s agendas. Get that money.

If your contract is a lump project fee, then you might as well when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Not to say that it’s an excuse to slack off, definitely show yourself to the important people on the team. Use this day wisely and independently as you wish.

illustration by  Maria Kotyshova

illustration by Maria Kotyshova

The summer is a wonderful time to be a freelancer and here’s why:

  • No one dictates your vacation time. There’s no HR to decipher if and when you can be out of office. However, schedule your time so that you’re still a valuable necessity to clients.

  • You can work from anywhere. Literally, anywhere. We all can, yet a freelancer makes it a point to be accessible (within reason) to a client, because your livelihood depends on it. Wherever you choose to be, know that thanks to your digital accessory, work can always be around the corner. At least you don’t have to suffer through treacherous office A/C.

  • Work hours are shorter, thus work load is smaller, lighter and not a lot of heavy thinking projects. Most businesses use the summertime to strategize for the fall and winter seasons, and that’s where you step in. This benefits you, because your ideas can shine a light on the problems at hand, or in some cases you are the extra pair of hands for when the regular staffers are on summer holiday. This is how they remember you as a vital team player and not just a freelancer.

  • Take inventory on your skill sets and brush up your portfolio or update the website.

The Freelancer’s Summer Hustle

  • Promote yourself. If you have a newsletter use it, take the opportunity to make your own Summer Friday with a $25 one hour consulting fee day. Something creative that allows you to show off your talents, knowledge and network. Share it on your social media, tell your friends to tell their friends.

  • In June and July you should be prospecting and cold emailing for potential clients. Now that you’ve updated your website, show it to the right people. Even if you get an “out of office” reply, at least it’s in the inbox and don’t be afraid to Boomerang (via Gmail) that email come mid-August.

  • Use Instagram as your visual mood board. If you have a separate account to use for your professional freelance life, try to keep it updated as you can during the summer months. By visual mood board I’m referring to displaying your aesthetic. It’s a subtle way of showing off your creative tastes. You never know when your dream client is out there searching for someone like you.

  • Do something you love every day. Keep your ambition thirsty and creative juices flowing.