Welcome back to our monthly series Ask Angella, where we do exactly that.
If you’ve ever had a potentially sensitive creative question, we want you to throw it our way so that we can hand it over to Angella: our resident art writer, expert, and all-around kind, funny and wise human being. Here’s the question we’ll tackle this month:
“How can I survive the holidays as a freelancer when I’m broke AF and there are no new projects on the horizon?”
Broke? Overspending? Welcome to the holidays, freelancers! According to a poll by the American Psychological Association, 69% of people feel the holidays are the most stressful time of the year primarily because they feel they don’t have enough money nor time. Money and time are essentially the biggest resources and challenges for freelancers, making the holidays doubly stressful. But do not fear, we’re here to help you stay merry and bright and sane, no matter what you celebrate this holiday season.
Wrap the year up by sending your favorite clients a little thank you note. Nothing fancy, an email will do. It’s a nice way to deepen your professional relationships and wraps the year up right. If they haven’t paid you yet, what an ideal time to gently remind them!
Your Presence is Present Enough
Being broke sucks. If you find yourself with empty pockets this holiday season do not judge yourself. Widespread holiday debt climbs incrementally year by year so take solace in the fact that you are definitely not alone. Need gifts? Go handmade. The more our world digitizes the more special a handcrafted gift or card feels. You’re an artist after all, right?
God Rest Ye Merry Freelancers
Depending on how you see it, not having a holiday party because of being a lone freelancer locked in your tower of production can be a blessing or a bummer. If a bummer, seek out your local freelancing union and check their events calendar.
File Invoices and Stock Up on Pitches
I usually take a break from freelancing come December with a promise to ramp up again come January. Both months, especially after holiday and end of year content goes live, are usually pretty dead for freelancers. It’s also the end of Quarter 4 tax-wise so now’s a good time to file all invoices and send all emails–they may get lost in the holiday and new year slush so file as early as possible. Hang onto those pitches or new ideas for projects until January and enjoy the time off. Resting your brain and bod is just as important as making money, if not more so.
January’s Comin’ (to Town)
Speaking of the new year, if you can, put a little bit of money away for January. Pinch those checks from Grandma if you got ‘em and hoard the leftovers. You may even have to dip into savings to make rent on New Year’s Day (otherwise known as rent day for most) and that’s okay. Give yourself some slack–it’s a new year!
Automate and Celebrate
Set a date to stop working and start your holiday season. Maybe you need to do a few errands or answer a handful of emails but since freelancing means irregular hours, you probably struggle to delineate when the work week stops and starts. So set a date, schedule an away automated email and relax. You’ve more than earned it!