If you’ve been in the entrepreneur game long enough, you’ve probably experienced months of extreme growth...and months that are crazy slow. Last year, I experienced a really slow season. And by slow season, I do not mean me laying on the beach while taking planned time off. I mean hurting for client work and stressing out about business.
Friends, your slow season does not have to be a time of financial stress and worry. In fact, in my business, I now PLAN for slow seasons to ensure I continue to grow. I know from experience that the unplanned slow seasons are tough! Want to know something cool though? My 2 month stretch of really slow work resulted in my highest profit months yet right after. And it’s only gone up monthly since then. I attribute those crazy high earning months to the ground work I laid when things were slow! It’s not magic – you can do the same thing!
If you'd rather listen to this post than read it, you're in luck! Use the audio below to listen to this post. You can also download and take it on the go, just like a podcast. The audio version has some additional details as I dive a little more into each point. ENJOY!
Here are my top tips for how to GROW BIG when business is slow.
1. Save up a paycheck for the slow months.
This tip is what you need to do BEFORE the slow month hits – even if you think it never will. So, if things are rosy in your business right now, this step is for you! We always need to be planning ahead in our businesses, especially with our finances. In the early days of my business, I paid myself every cent I made every month. I was never saving money to pay myself when things were slower. This system caused those slow months to be STRESSFUL. Not only was I “hurting for work,” but, because I didn’t plan ahead, I was hurting for cash, too.
Now, instead of paying myself my full profits, I save money in my business checking account for those months where I bring in less or when I am taking a vacation. So, the first step to surviving the slow season is to PLAN FOR IT, little by little each month. Goodbye, stress!
Now into those big strategies to thrive when things are slow...
2. Analyze your business strategies.
It’s time to look at the numbers. Review your top paying (or favorite) clients from the past 6-12 months and answer the question “where did they find you?” When you know where you are obtaining clients, you can work harder to make sure that happens more often. When I did this, I discovered that most of my clients found me on social media or from referrals. With this information in hand, I was able to dive deep into step 3.
3. Focus on potential client outreach.
Where are your clients finding you? Be in that place! Spend intentional time each day searching for potential work that makes you excited, and having conversations with potential clients.
4. Improve your marketing.
Has your website not been updated since that last redesign? Maybe your Facebook page needs some attention? Now is the time! Here are a couple ideas on how to improve your marketing:
- Create a new strategy for your social media marketing.
- Schedule out social media content ideas for at least a month.
- Try something new on social media, and test the results.
- Update the copy on your website to better attract your ideal audience.
- Get your website, brand, or both, re-designed. If that is not an option financially, do what you can to make improvements yourself.
- Get those marketing design items like brochures or business cards finally updated.
5. Invest your time in education.
No, I don’t mean that you need to go to a pricey conference that you can’t afford. But, I do mean spending time training yourself to be better at what you do, which, believe it or not, does not have to cost much. Read that business book you’ve been thinking about, listen to more podcasts, or watch a free webinar covering a topic you need help with. Attend a local entrepreneur meetup and seek support and advice from other people who get it.
6. Start creating more free content.
If you currently don’t have a blog, now is a great opportunity to start one! Blogging is a great way to help you attract clients and display your authority within your industry. After just 1 month of blogging for my business, I was able to increase my site traffic by 350%, and a lot of that traffic was potential new clients!
If you already have a blog, consider creating a lot of content and scheduling it in advance. This prep time will allow you to not have to worry about creating content each week when things get busy again!
7. Do the business work that you never seem to make time for.
Have you been meaning to get your accounting straight? Maybe you want to set up a template library for common email responses or finally get a CRM system? Now it the time! During my slow month, I overhauled my new client onboarding process with a new website packet, questionnaires, and everything in between. This helped me improve my processes to better attract my dream clients AND prepare well for when things got crazy busy again. So, look at that crazy long to-do list and get those items marked off that you never have time for!
Take heart, and do not be discouraged!
Be positive, and consider this difficulty as an opportunity to grow your business! Remember friends, you have GOT to work ON your business, not just IN your business. Sometimes we get so caught up the daily grind of client work that we forget to invest time in the things that will make sure our business will last in the long run. Now is your time to draw your attention back to those other things.
I was featured this month on The Rising Tide Society where I talked about scaling your business in the slow season! You can read that post here.