How to survive slow months as a freelancer

This article was first shared in my newsletter

Slow months are a scary thing when you're a freelancer.
You've been working nonstop for months and when you're starting to think freelancing is finally starting to work out for you, you stop receiving emails with new work proposals.
At first, you almost don't even notice it as you're really busy. When it's been two weeks you start considering that something may be wrong with your email provider... 
Summer months tend to be slower months when it comes to freelance (depending on your area of work, obviously). But it's hard not to freak out and think you're the worst and you'll never get a new project again.
Here are some ideas of things to do when no new work is coming your way:

Work on your brand
This is something a lot of freelancers neglect especially when they have a lot of work in their hands. But if you're being paid to work on someone else's brand you can understand how important that is. So making time to work on your own is important.
This summer I'm thinking of creating a terms & conditions document to send out to future clients. I don't have anything like that and I can really benefit from being able to communicate clearly with my clients.
I also want to make time to create more videos for my youtube channel as I believe it's an awesome way to reach new people who wouldn't normally come across my work.
I believe that presenting yourself as a consistent brand will help people remember you when they need someone with your skillset.

Create new products
I love creating new products! It's awesome to change things up and to create freely without having to follow a briefing while still having your audience in mind. These products you create in your slower months can later be used as passive income streams to balance your finances when you're busier again.

Update your portfolio
If you find it hard (and boring) to update your portfolio on a regular basis, trust me, you are not alone (I am here with you...). But you also know how important it is, right? Use this time to upload the best projects you did in the last months. I'll be taking the time to write case studies for some of my client projects as I think it's something my portfolio needs.

Create a side project
You probably know I really believe in the power of side projects. It's a great way to create the kind of work you want to be hired for in the future.
I'd really love to have some more editorial illustration opportunities next year so I could create a project to showcase my skills in that area.

Send out promotional mail
 I believe this is still a powerful way to find new clients and keep in touch with old ones when you're an illustrator. But I have to confess I'm terrible at it. This summer I'd like to take the time to do it. But I'll probably wait until September to actually send them out.

Relax and enjoy
We're never satisfied. When you're working nonstop you wish you had more time for your projects and when you have the time you freak out and refresh your email waiting for a new client. This time I will try to stop and enjoy the time I have without feeling guilty about it. I'll binge watch a new tv series and I'm even taking a two-week vacation where I'm considering not taking my laptop with me. Can you believe that?

It's not always easy to stay positive when you're going through this but honestly what other choice do you have?
If everything goes well I won't even have the time to do all these things before new work comes my way. But at least I'll have a plan when it happens again.
I'll keep you posted.