It’s always tough listening to the rich and famous on TV documentaries, crying about their personal problems. You think: “You’ve got tons of money, fans, and adulation. There are people that would do anything to have what you have. Who are you to complain?!” Rock stars, daredevil business people, and major league athletes all seem to have the life that dreams are made of, and do not even seem to broach the issues of everyday people. But, these people are human, and they live in a realm that everyday people cannot really comprehend unless they experience it. If you can understand their lives, their gripes actually seem legitimate.
One thing these folks that live the celebrity life seem to return to in their 60-minute biographies is the time when they are not as hot as they used to be. They often refer to this period as “downtime,” and sometimes, a celebrity’s downtime can lead to all sorts of bad things, like drug addiction, money squandering, and dangerous liaisons. If they are lucky, they can rebound in the form of a professional comeback, like Mickey Rourke, or Steve Jobs. Some do not, and they often fall prey to the depths of depravity.
For today’s business pro, professional downtime is similar. They might be on a roll at certain times of the year, but then, they fall into a lull. If they aren’t careful, a lull can lead to permanent inactivity. If this is a reality for you and your business, it’s good to know how to use your downtime effectively, and how you can actually use it to your professional advantage.
It’s What You Have, Not What You Don’t
Working as a digital business pro is no different than being a skilled carpenter or mechanic. Over time, you acquire many skills, and all ones that you can practice again and again. This is the perspective you need to utilize during your downtime, and how you can solicit yourself for some freelance, weekend, or contract work. It’s about what you have, not what you don’t have.
No doubt you’ve had experience building your web site, and/or doing web site design. This can lead to you offering yourself to do web site design services or providing web site design tips to others who do not know as much as you do. Maybe you’ve also been doing the content writing and search engine optimization (SEO) with keywords for your online material. From that, you can create your own content copywriting services, and offer yourself as a content writer for others that can’t quite get their words right.
Real in-the-trench experience is something that many pros today need for their business. There is a sea of graduates who have education out there, but few with actual experience. This puts you at something of an advantage. If you go searching amongst your contacts and connections, and professionally offer yourself to them, you stand to get some good, well-paying gigs that help you make the most of your downtime.
Going the Distance if You Can
Downtime doesn’t usually last forever, and doing short gigs to occupy your time is the best way to toe the line in doing extra work, while sustaining your existing business. However, during your downtime, in never hurts you to consider if your downtime activity is something you might want to do full-time. With all of your extra work, you might discover where your real talents lie. Many pros wind up doing a bit of part-time design or writing, and eventually found their own design business or newsletter and catalogue design service as a full-time affair. This isn’t a bad example to follow, and if you hit on your real talents by accident, don’t be afraid to do a little after-hours considering of your future. You never know: if you find a new practice or job that you do well, you can go the distance to make it your new full-time gig. That in itself can be the real beauty of using your downtime effectively.
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