Don't starve, take charge.
The feast and famine cycle is an all too familiar situation that designers and developers find themselves in. This situation is what happens when we go from having a lot of work to do, to having no work to do. This problem is reflected in our finances, where we can have a large cash influx followed be a drought of money coming in.
Rather than jumping into getting “more leads” the first steps to take are to change your financial set up by doing 4 things.
1: Setting up separate business and personal bank accounts.
2: Building a runway (a buffer of money) that can cover your business costs without needing to have new work coming in.
3: Paying yourself a wage rather than directly taking from the payments you have received.
4: Having a separate business account for large lump payments (such as tax).
These might sound obvious, and not the most exciting but it can have a huge impact by reducing our need and desperation for landing projects, by spreading out how our business uses it money and providing that buffer we can make better business decisions.
Now we have our finances in order, let's look at ways to create a more consistent income stream.
Working on your business.
We all know the trap of working on your business vs in your business. This is an easy situation find yourself in where you spend your time focusing totally on the work they have to do, and neglecting to take the steps needed to bring in consistent leads. By allocating time to work on your business you can spend time on your marketing and the tasks that bring in new opportunities.
Keeping your clients top of mind:
Getting in contact with your existing clients is one of the easiest things you can do.
A good way to approach this is to focus on your top clients and remember to keep in contact with them any time you see either an article or something funny that relates to them (as a person) or their business/industry.
This can be anything from a social media post to a news article. You don’t even need to say much, just let them know that what you are sending them reminded you of them.
You can also reach out directly to see how things are going (personally or with their business), but don’t sell at this point. Just reach out and let them make noises that they need your help.
This happens a lot, so look at a process that prompts you to connect with existing clients.
Get that tasty recurring revenue
Yes, recurring revenue is a real lifesaver, the consistent cash flow smooths out the feast and famine cycle.
It comes in many forms, from care plans to monthly tasks billed by the hour. For those of us in the web, there are a lot of options which include: Care plans, SEO, content creation, website updates, hosting, domains etc.
These are all really easy to sell and get clients on board with.
But you can turn any ad hock service into a retainer, by simply packing it up into a nice simple product. Get my tips on how I set up and manage retainers: https://coreydodd.com/design/how-to-sell-and-package-design-retainers/
Build those industry contacts.
One thing that can often be overlooked, is the importance of industry contacts. It’s a great habit to build your relationships in the industry you work in, both locally and online.
Not only can you learn and grow from you contact, but this can be a huge benefit for finding work opportunities, especially when work dries up. It can be really hard and somewhat damaging to publicly show you are quiet workwise, needing or wanting work/leads. But with industry contacts, this can be a benefit.
Your industry network connections will more than likely have an abundance of ideas on getting work, and in a lot of instances, they may even have work that could use your help.
So stop seeing those who do what you do as competitors and turn them into allies.
Want to find out more?
Check out the Beyond the Brief - Debrief Sessions #6: