Anyone else kick bootie when you’re busy but have a hard time just getting out of bed when business is slow? It seems like the more I have to do, the better I am at actually getting it done. Relate much?
I’ve been in my business full time now for more than three years. It’s my only source of income. The only income, in fact, in my household.
When I first made the decision to quit my day job and work my business full time, it wasn’t without hesitation. I mean, a girl’s got to eat, right!? And I have other mouths to feed in my house too—my daughter, two dogs and a cat.
So the motivation to get busy and stay busy was at an all-time high in the spring and early summer of 2013. I had just quit my full time (and very secure) day job, and I wasn’t quite to the point where my freelance side-gig was paying my bills. Not even close, as a matter of fact.
So I hustled, hard. And luckily, I filled my client roster quickly. And I was happy.
But clients come and go. Sometimes it’s a good fit, and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes a client just needs one project completed. And then the workload slows down.
In the last three-plus years, I’ve had a few scary months. Those months when I wonder where the next check is coming from. And when I had to tap into the emergency fund, things started to get sweaty-scary. (You know, when you start sweating before you even log into your bank online, because you’re afraid of what it’s going to look like? Yeah, you know.)
I’ve already talked about how I plan ahead financially for these slow times. But when it’s slow, what’s there to do with your time besides stalking your ex on Facebook? (No, of course I don’t do that!)
The key to mentally getting through those slow times (sans restraining order) is to work on you and your business. Work on those things that you don’t have time for when you’re busy. Here are some of my favorites:
Of course, as a writer, content creation has to be at the top of my list. It wasn’t always. Weeks and months used to go by without me posting to my blog or social media because I felt like a fraud. (And preaching to clients that they should be blogging made me feel like a bigger fraud because I wasn’t doing it myself.)
When business is slow, focus on prepping content for anywhere your audience might be—your website, social media, email, even video. Then bank it. Even if you’re several weeks or months ahead of your planned content calendar, keep creating. Eventually business will pick up and you won’t have as much time to create content. It’s hard to muster up the motivation, I know. But guess what? Content is a great way to market yourself, which will help you bring on new clients!
[bctt tweet=”Get through slow times in biz by working on YOU and in your biz! And stop feeling sorry for yourself.” username=””]
Update Your Website
Your website is never “done.” Even when you’re launching a new site. It should be an ever-evolving resource that helps you market yourself and your business. If your sales pages aren’t working, rewrite them. If your audience is telling you that they can’t find your services page, adjust your navigation. Make sure your website is as user-friendly as possible and keep it current. Using some of your slow periods to check this off your to-do list is the perfect way to get this done.
Check Automations and Systems
I SO wish I was a tech genius. Or could hire a full time virtual office manager. Most of us solopreneurs just don’t have that knowledge or that luxury, so it’s up to us to make sure that everything behind the scenes in our businesses is working just as it should. Take some time during a slow week to check all your automated tasks. Are the right emails going out when someone signs up for your list? Does the welcome series get pushed out at the right intervals for new clients? This is something you should be checking regularly, no matter if you’re slow or not. Be sure it’s on your must-do list at least once a quarter.
[bctt tweet=”Slow in biz? Take the time to check your systems and automations. You’ll thank yourself when biz picks up!” username=””]
Probably the most-forgotten piece of growing a business is self-care. When you’re busy, you’re too busy to cook healthy meals or make it to the gym. When you’re slow, you turn to food and your bed for comfort. I’m certainly guilty of pushing myself to the side when it comes to growing my business. Rather than get outside for a run, I’d sit on my computer and feel sorry for myself when I was slow. And to make myself feel better, I’d hoard junk food in my desk drawer (but, seriously, have you ever tried the gummy bears they sell at Sprouts!?). But what I really needed was to take better care of myself so I had the energy to get my client work done. That means I had to tear myself away from ex-stalking on Facebook and spend some time reading for personal development, hitting the trails on a run or simply spending some time cooking healthy meals with my daughter. It’s do-able, but sometimes you have to force it!
Being slow in business is hard, especially when you’re counting on checks rolling in to pay the bills. But sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself just drags you down that rabbit hole of “I’m not worthy” and “I should just get a job.”
Listen, if I can make a living working at home in my pajamas, I firmly believe anyone can. It’s do-able, but you have to get out of your own head when you’re slow and do something about it. What’s your favorite way to spend your (productive!) time when your business is slow?