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Freelancing Basics

Surviving Freelance Work Droughts in Nigeria: A Guide

Last Updated on July 2, 2023

Introduction

Freelance work in Nigeria refers to self-employed individuals offering services to clients on a project-by-project basis. Freelancing is becoming a popular option for Nigerians due to the flexibility it provides.

However, one of the challenges faced by Nigerian freelancers is droughts in work opportunities. These droughts can last for weeks or months, leaving freelancers without income. This blog post aims to provide a guide to surviving freelance work droughts in Nigeria.

This guide will be essential in helping freelancers stay afloat during lean times and maintain their financial stability. By following the tips highlighted in this guide, freelance workers in Nigeria can save money, market their skills effectively and increase their chances of getting more work opportunities.

How to Prepare for Droughts

Creating a sustainable network is key to surviving a freelance work drought. You can do this through:

  • Online platforms – create well-curated social media accounts to showcase your work and skills.

  • Email marketing – maintain an email list of potential clients and send regular updates on your services.

  • Networking events – attend industry events, conferences, and seminars to meet other professionals and potential clients.

It’s important to keep in touch with contacts even when you’re not actively seeking work. This way, when a drought hits, you have a pool of people to reach out to.

Tips for Saving Money

During a work drought, financial stability is crucial. Here are some tips to help you save money:

  • Create a budget – knowing your expenses will help you cut back on unnecessary spending.

  • Reduce bills – negotiate rates with service providers and switch to cheaper alternatives.

  • Save for emergencies – having an emergency fund can ease the financial strain caused by a drought.

It’s also important to resist the urge to take on projects that don’t pay what you’re worth just to make ends meet. This can cause long-term damage to your career and financial growth.

Seeking Additional Assistance

During a drought, it’s a good idea to seek additional assistance to stay afloat. Here are some resources you can explore:

  • Government grants – research available grants and loans for freelancers.

  • Part-time work – consider taking up part-time work to supplement your income.

  • Professional development – invest in training and courses to improve your skills and make you more marketable.

Getting creative with your opportunities can also lead to new revenue streams. For example, you could offer services like consulting or coaching to other freelancers or businesses.

Essentially, going through a drought in freelance work can be tough, but it’s not impossible to get through it.

By building a sustainable network, saving money, and seeking additional assistance, you’ll be better equipped to weather the storm. Remember to stay positive and proactive, and you’ll come out stronger on the other side.

Read: How to Scale Your Freelance Business in Nigeria

Ways to Secure Work During Droughts

Freelance work is a great option for people who want to work on their own terms. However, sometimes there can be droughts in work which can be tough to navigate. Here are some ways to secure work during droughts:

Shifting your focus to priority areas

When work is slow, it is essential to prioritize your areas of expertise. It means looking at your strengths and weaknesses and shifting your focus to areas where you have a high level of expertise. This will enable you to create a brand around those areas and make it easy for clients to find you.

For instance, if you are a freelance writer, and your expertise lies in writing blogs and social media posts, you might consider promoting your skills in that area to attract clients who need those services. This way, you can create a niche for yourself and stand out from your competition.

Exploration of new niches

Exploring new niches is another way to secure work during droughts. Freelancers should not be afraid to step out of their comfort zones and explore new niches or industries. This means researching new opportunities, attending events, and networking with people in that industry.

It also involves identifying potential clients and pitching your services to them. It might take some extra effort, but exploring new niches can help you discover a new passion, diversify your portfolio, and increase your earnings.

Acquiring new skills to widen your client base

During droughts, freelancers can acquire new skills to widen their client base. This means investing in themselves by learning new skills that are in demand. For instance, a graphic designer can learn how to code or develop a website or acquire new animation skills.

This will enable them to expand their services and appeal to a broader client base. It also means keeping up with the latest trends and tools in their industry. Staying up to date with the latest developments might position you as an expert in your field and inspire clients to choose you over your competitors.

In fact, surviving freelance work in droughts in Nigeria can be challenging. However, by seizing opportunities, developing new skills, exploring new niches, and promoting their areas of expertise, freelance workers can weather the storm and emerge as successful individuals in their respective industries.

Read: Freelancing in Nigeria: Understanding & Setting Client Expectations

Surviving Freelance Work Droughts in Nigeria: A Guide

Marketing Yourself During Droughts

In a world where every freelancer is competing for the same pool of projects, it’s essential to stand out from the crowd. During droughts, it’s particularly challenging to get new projects and remain profitable.

This section provides suggestions on how to market yourself effectively so that you can remain afloat during dry spells.

Creation of an Effective Marketing Strategy

  1. Know Your Target Audience: Identify the clients you wish to attract and tailor your marketing message accordingly.

  2. Develop a Unique Selling Proposition: Determine what makes you different from other freelancers in your niche and communicate it effectively.

  3. Create a Portfolio: Showcase your skills, achievements, and experience with your past clients. Ensure that the portfolio is easy to access and visually appealing.

  4. Collaborate with Other Freelancers: Partner with other freelancers and businesses that cater to your target audience. This can help you gain exposure and attract new clients.

Utilizing Social Media Platforms

  1. Choose the Right Platforms: Find out where your target audience spends most of its time. For instance, LinkedIn is famous for professional networking and B2B services.

  2. Create a Professional Profile: Optimize your profile by highlighting your skills, achievements, and past projects. Use high-quality visuals and keywords so that potential clients can easily find you.

  3. Engage with Your Followers: Respond to comments, share valuable insights, and use relevant hashtags. This will boost your engagement and create a positive reputation for yourself.

  4. Post Regularly: Consistency matters significantly to keep your social media profile active. Post relevant and engaging content regularly to keep your followers interested.

Branding Yourself to Stand Out

  1. Choose a Niche: Specializing in a specific service or sector can help you become an expert in your field, differentiate from your competitors, and gain the trust of clients.

  2. Create a Personal Brand: Define your values, personality, and vision and communicate them through your brand. Use a unique logo, color palette, and design elements that represent your brand’s identity.

  3. Provide Excellent Customer Service: Respond promptly to inquiries, provide effective and efficient solutions, and make clients feel valued. This will help you build a loyal customer base and increase referrals.

  4. Keep Improving: Stay up to date with the latest trends, tools, and technologies in your niche. Attend conferences, read industry publications, and participate in online forums to keep learning and growing.

Marketing yourself during droughts requires persistence, creativity, and patience. A continuous effort in creating an effective marketing strategy, utilizing social media platforms, and branding your personal brand can help you stand out and get noticed.

Remember that consistency and excellent customer service is key to building a thriving freelance career.

Read: Insider Tips for Successful Freelancing in Nigeria

Managing Your Finances

Budgeting

  • Creating a budget is a crucial step to managing your finances during freelance work droughts.

  • List your fixed monthly expenses, such as rent or mortgage, utilities, and any subscriptions.

  • Factor in variable expenses, such as groceries and entertainment, and allocate a specific amount to each category.

  • Track your spending and adjust your budget as necessary to ensure you’re living within your means.

Decreasing expenses

One way to decrease your expenses is to negotiate bills with service providers, such as phone and internet companies. You can also cut back on non-essential purchases and opt for more affordable options, such as cooking at home instead of eating out.

Consider downsizing your living space or sharing living expenses with roommates to save on rent and utilities.

Seeking temporary employment

During a freelance work drought, consider seeking temporary employment to supplement your income. This can include retail or customer service positions or freelance work in a different field. Freelance platforms, such as Upwork, also offer short-term project opportunities.

Saving for emergencies

It’s important to have an emergency fund during freelance work droughts. Set aside a portion of your income each month into a high-yield savings account. Experts recommend saving at least three to six months of living expenses to cover unexpected situations, such as a medical emergency or job loss.

Networking and marketing

  • Networking and marketing yourself can lead to new opportunities during freelance work droughts.

  • Attend industry events and conferences, and connect with potential clients or collaborators on social media.

  • Update your website and social media channels with new work and reach out to former clients for referrals.

  • Stay positive and proactive in seeking new opportunities, and remember that droughts are often temporary.

Read: Freelance Work-Life Balance: Advice for Nigerians

Conclusion

Being prepared is crucial when it comes to surviving freelance work droughts in Nigeria, which can be unpredictable and challenging. By building a strong network of clients and continuously improving your skills, you can increase your chances of thriving in the freelance industry during challenging times.

It’s essential to always have a backup plan and diversify your income streams to minimize the impact of dry spells. Don’t wait for the drought to hit before seeking out new opportunities.

Remember to stay positive and motivated, as maintaining a positive attitude can make all the difference in overcoming challenges. Stay focused on your goals, keep hustling, and never stop learning. Embrace the ever-changing freelance landscape in Nigeria and be flexible enough to adapt to new circumstances.

Generally, surviving freelance work droughts in Nigeria requires a combination of preparation, perseverance, and hard work. While it may not always be easy, with the right mindset and approach, you can weather any storm and come out stronger on the other side.

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