With the holiday season fast approaching, many freelancers are wondering how to balance family gatherings, road trips to see their relatives, and taking on enough work to give their budgets a little wiggle room for holiday shopping. When it comes to holiday freelance jobs, it’s best to start your search early and be proactive — while others are taking more time off, you can get ahead. Here’s how to market yourself over the next three months so you can bring in more business before the New Year.

1. When to Apply
The weeks leading up to the holidays are generally the most lucrative time of the year for many companies, which means there are plenty of opportunities for freelancers to pitch their services, land new contracts, and bring in extra income. However, December and January are typically slow months when it comes to picking up new clients — starting a fresh project with a new freelancer in the midst of holiday festivities can be a challenge.

Brick and mortar businesses are already starting to look for holiday help, and employers who work with freelancers are also thinking ahead. If you’re looking to take on freelance jobs that will boost your income through the holiday season, it’s time to update your portfolio with your best work from 2018 and start pitching. Use October to set the foundation for a successful holiday season for your business. Employers are aware that full-time workers will typically have extra days off once the holidays are in full swing, so it’s the perfect time for freelancers with more flexible schedules to step up to fill in the gaps.

As we get closer to the holidays and it gets tougher to find new clients, reach out to previous clients to see if they need a helping hand. This time of year can be overwhelming, especially for small businesses, so someone you’ve worked with in the past might be relieved to hear that you have some openings in your schedule for holiday freelance work.

2. What’s in Demand
Surveys from freelance job platforms like Upwork and Fiverr reveal what services businesses are looking to freelancers to provide during the holiday season. Consultants can definitely stay busy — many people want to get a head start on improving their business strategies before the new year. Freelancers who can assist with e-commerce and website building have plenty of opportunities since small businesses and independent artists will be processing extra orders online as customers order gifts. Businesses will also be investing lots of time and energy into social media marketing campaigns, so if you have any experience with advertising campaigns using Instagram, Facebook, or similar platforms, start reaching out to brands you’d be interested in working with.

3. The Perks
As long as a blizzard doesn’t knock out your WiFi connection, the chilly winter months are a great time to be a freelancer. You can choose to take on more work so that holiday shopping doesn’t hit your wallet as hard; you can set your hours around holiday events; and if you double down on your pitching and marketing strategies over the next few weeks, your holiday freelance jobs will put you on the right track to achieving your financial targets for 2019 when January rolls around. When clients know that they can turn to you during slower months when other freelancers might be unavailable, you can expect more assignments from them in the future. Another bonus: you don’t have to get up at sunrise to warm up your car before the morning commute.

Ready to polish up your proposals? Check out our tips for writing the perfect cover letter and making your résumé stand out.

Interested in freelancing? Discover, PINATA, a flexible, data-driven platform where brands, agencies, and freelance talent collaborate to create elevated consumer experiences. PINATA was founded in 2016 by ForceBrands’ Founder and CEO Josh Wand.