How To Break Free From the Feast & Famine Cycle…
I often hear people talking about the instability of running a freelance business, where you have great months, and then you have not-so-good months. It almost seems to be an accepted part of working in the creative industries.
What if I told you that it didn’t have to be like that? That you could actually earn a living from doing work that you love and get paid on a consistent basis? In this article, I’m going to share with you a proven strategy for eliminating the cycle of feast and famine.
What I often find when I’m talking to freelancers and small business owners in the creative industries is that they’re passive, rather than active. What I mean by that is, most of their work comes from referrals or direct inquiries, rather than having a strategy where they’re actively getting out there and talking to their ideal clients on a consistent basis.
What I’ve realised is, you need a system in place where you can actually measure how many conversations you’re having with somebody on a consistent basis. What tends to happen is, people are measuring how many sales they’re making, which is fine, but what that means is you only know that you haven’t made enough sales by the time it’s too late. One of the things that I ask my clients is, where’s basecamp for you? Basecamp is something that I came up with, as the word CAMP is an analogy for Conversations, Appointments, Meetings and Proposals.
When I’m working with a company that has inconsistent cash flow, with real peaks and troughs, the first thing I want to know is how many conversations are they having every month with potential clients, how many appointments are they setting, how many meetings are they having, and how many proposals have they sent out? If we measure these four things, then we can adjust accordingly. Whereas, if we’re just measuring sales and how much revenue is in the door, then, by the time we’ve measured that, it’s too late to do anything about it.
In fact, there’s a thing called the ‘30-day rule’, which states that what you do in the next 30 days, will come to fruition in the next 90 days, and so the reason this feast and famine cycle is happening is because people are so busy working on that project that they don’t find time to go out and have meaningful conversations with the people they want to be working with.
If you spend two months working on a project, that’s two months that you’re not having conversations, which will have a knock-on effect for the next 90 days, so if you really want to iron out this inconsistent income, this feast and famine, you need to think about how many conversations you need to have, how many appointments you need to set, how many meetings do you need to have, and how many proposals do you need to send out.
What you’ll find is there’s actually a ratio with that. For example, you might have 20 conversations, and out of those conversations, you might set 12 appointments. Out of those 12 appointments, you might have 10 meetings because, inevitably, a couple of people aren’t going to show up, or they’re going to cancel, and out of those 10 meetings, you might send off four or five proposals. So, what we know then is that with that conversion, we can work out how many conversations you need to be having consistently, every single month, without fail, no matter how busy you are, in order to not have that cycle of feast and famine.
So, with this in mind, what are your numbers? What’s your baseCAMP? Let me know in the comments below.