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michaelajornlin
Community Manager
Community Manager

How do you feel about seasonal work?

Hey Everyone!

 

I wanted to pop in here to get your thoughts about seasonal work. During summer, many companies find themselves delaying initiatives while their full-time employees take vacations. This is a great opportunity for those companies to tap into the freelancer community. They can hire freelancers to carry the torch during the months when their employees spend less time in the office. The question becomes, "How do freelancers feel about seasonal work?" 

 

Many freelancers work on short-term projects and this might not feel any different to them. Others though, like to become established with clients and work with them on an ongoing basis. So what are your thoughts? Would you be interested in forming a close partnership with a client that might only engage you for a few months out of the year?

 

I'm putting together a blog post on the topic and would love any insights! If you're open to work this summer, share your thoughts and include a link to your profile (make sure it's not set to private) and you might be mentioned in the blog post!


Best,
Mike J.
Content Program Manager, Community
18 REPLIES 18
creativedigit
Member

Hi Mike,


Here's how I see it:


Seasonable work:
- Good for quick profit (pros)
- You can charge more (pros)
- I don't care what happens after I'm gone (pros)
- Future work not guaranteed (cons)


Longterm collaboration:
- Steady flow of income (pros)
- You generally charge a bit less for clients who keep you busy (cons)
- If something goes wrong with an old project, you will still be somehow responsible for fixing it even if you are working on another project for the same client (cons)

Thanks, Wassim! Appreciate your insight!


Best,
Mike J.
Content Program Manager, Community
moonraker
Member

It's all money in the bank to me.

I prefer long-term contracts, but seasonal work is fine if I don't have a full schedule.

Thanks, Jamie!


Best,
Mike J.
Content Program Manager, Community
a_lipsey
Member

All my work is essentially seasonal, and my clients are long term. So it's fine with me. 

 

Many of my clients are perfectly capable but need additional capacity from time to time. They know to call me when they need my help, and yes, there is a season. We call it "grant season". It's always grant season; it just depends on who is in "season". Sort of like fruit. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

 

Seasonal doesn't necessarily mean short-term. But also, even when it is short-term, since so many of my projects are long-term, it's nice to do a shorter term project. The key thing though is working with a client who is organized and prepared to work with a consultant or freelancer so the project can be successful. 

Thanks, Amanda! Great insight!


Best,
Mike J.
Content Program Manager, Community
lysis10
Member

Umm you can have long-term seasonal clients. Just look at my profile. There are several of them. One disappeared for a year. It's common for marketing people to dump a bunch of money into something and then scale back to see how it does.

 

I really don't care about long-term or length of time for a project. 

 

People who go for long-term only don't seem to make much money or they brag about it and then surprise pikachu when the client is done after a month or so and then they ain't got no income.

 

 

Great point about long-term, seasonal clients! I was a tour guide for a ghost walk in Milwaukee. Definitely seasonal, but I had that job year after year for that season.


Best,
Mike J.
Content Program Manager, Community

I am a bit of a rebel and don't follow any of the typical freelance advice that people throw around, but I think focusing on long-term is a mistake. Clients that tell you work is long-term are doing it to trick you into working for cheaper or just scamming you.

I presume all clients are short term until they actually become long term, and even then, I don't plan based on them coming back until they tell me they are. 

Oddly enough, in the past few years I have found being approached by new clients or short-term project clients to be far less seasonal. It's more a mixed bag.

 

Personally, I'm fine with it either way. When I have time open in my schedule, I consider approaches for new work. If not, I decline. 

 

In addition, I have long-term clients who have projects year-round. I like to prioritize them as a "thank you."

financemark
Member

Mike,

I can write a simple and plain answer - or, if you boost your question by giving me 30 connects today (which will be 35 tomorrow) - I can write something enticing and useful for your readers. 

feed_my_eyes
Member

I'm not sure that I understand the difference between "seasonal work" and just, well, freelancing? I don't think that anyone becomes a freelancer assuming that they're going to steadily get 40 hours of work per week, week in and and week out, so I don't see any problem there.

 

I do find that there are seasonal lulls, specifically around Christmas and for the whole month of August. As you say, companies might delay starting projects because some of their employees are on holiday, but I find that the people who normally initiate the projects are also on holiday themselves, so even though they know that I could pick up the slack, the work just isn't there.

 

But it's possible that you have more of a long-term contract scenario in mind? I'm in the Talent Scout programme and I see that most of the opportunities there are for companies who need freelancers to do a 30-40 hour work week for 2-3 months at a time. Personally, I have around 20 regular clients and a bunch of semi-regular clients who each give me anywhere from 10-30 hours of work per month, so I wouldn't be able to commit to working for only one client for several months. I suspect that many other freelancers are in the same boat, so a situation like that would probably only attract newer freelancers who don't already have a client base.

etrusca
Member

I prefer a few long term  and many short term clients

rockcy
Member

I would prefer a long-term contract, but seasonal work is fine if I don't have a full schedule.

 

Profile: https://www.upwork.com/freelancers/samuelotomewo

Mike, the way you describe 'seasonal' work in your original post reminds me more of temp work than freelancing. I guess there are FLs working in categories that might be brought in as temps to keep routine operations going while regular staff are on vacation. But that isn't relevant to the work I do, or that of most FLs I personall am acquainted with. As Christine said, to the extent things vary by holiday season, it's my clients who are apt to be out of pocket then. In any case, there are seasonal aspects to the work I do but they vary by client depending on the industries they target. For one who manufactures an after-market item for the RV and marine markets, activity waxes and wanes at certain times of the year. Another that is in the pesticide business has a different cycle. Some are fairly evenly active year-round, with any fluctuations driven by their internal fiscal processes. So, 'seasonal' isn't really a relevant construct for me.

 

marc_compte
Member

As the name indicates, a seasonal job is not defined by its length but by its relation to a particular season that repeats every year more or less at the same time.

 

Serving tables during the tourist season is a seasonal job. Doing small gigs that come at any given time during the year is not a seasonal job, it is just a short-term job or, simply, a gig.

 

If you have a client that gives you 20 hours of work every year during the same season for 10 years, that is a long-term relationship with a short-term job that happens to be seasonal.

 

The good thing about seasonal jobs is that you can predict when you may be getting busy and plan accordingly, but that's about it for me. What is most important is to have a long-term relationship. In second place, I'd go for a long-term (but part-time) job, although recurring short-term jobs are also interesting to me.


Mike J wrote:

 

I'm putting together a blog post on the topic and would love any insights! If you're open to work this summer, share your thoughts and include a link to your profile (make sure it's not set to private) and you might be mentioned in the blog post!


I strenuously object to the notion of a carrot of promotion being dangled in front of professionals, and to the subjective promotion of freelancer accounts that already start out severely self-selected.

If Upwork intends to promote "seasonal" hiring to clients, that should be one coordinated aspect of the overall marketing stategy, promulgated through standard business channels; and, as in all cases, should be about matching the best talent to client needs. How we "feel" about such work means nothing. If posts match our careers, we apply; if they don't, we don't.