If you're a self-employed contractor, how do you handle the feast or famine in your business, and your checkbook?
I'm a self employed contractor providing technical services to individuals and I have a couple long-term clients that come back regularly. However there are still a couple times a year where I hit a slowdown, before the floodgates of work open up. How do you handle those ebbs and flows.
You've probably heard this a million times, but I would use those slowdown times as opportunities to get out and network as much as you can. Obviously, grab a bunch of business cards each time. Visit career transition groups/meetings. Get yourself invited as a guest to a chamber or Kiwanis luncheon. Treat it like you're job hunting. Also, make a list of 15-20 professionals you know and meet them for coffee and pick their brain for leads. Granted, you may be looking for needles in the haystack, but they are out there. One or two new clients make it all worthwhile.
Being in a similar position, finances is always on one's mind. For me, I have a number I created with my husband and once that number is hit, as in a decrease of assets, then it is on to a Plan B (But we are way off from there. :)). That helps me get through the financial ebbs and flow.
The other ebb I've found challenging is simply working, doing the thing I love - training and development, when I don't have a paying client. The other parts of the business are so necessary, marketing, etc, but not keeping my mind fresh and focused on my core business I have found makes it difficult to stay on course and excited. To help with that, I am reading more professional journals, LinkedIn Groups, and books. Sometimes, I will create a project to flex my training design muscles again. Even a fictional client helps me. Good luck!
The first question to ask yourself whether you are truly "self employed". By this I mean, do you lead your life as though you are an employee of a fictional organization owned by Christian Glahn? Or do you behave as though you are the owner and consumer of Christian Glahn Incorporated's profits? If you are able to answer this, you will be able to explain your current predicament. Also, if you are able to understand the difference between the two, you will be able to understand how to successfully delineate yourself from the undulations of the business world.
If you did not understand a word of what I said, spend as though you are salaried employee, invest as though you are a principal investor of a business. And your checkbook is well served by having a fixed expenditure plan.
There are some part time positions with 3rd party labor companies. Most all of it is at odd hours: overnight, weekends, flex visits. They have decent pay. I work with ActionLink. Mosaic is another big one.
Ask for referrals is always good. But you can also attend some networking sessions with your area chamber of commerce to met other potential clients.