Running a small business can often run the spectrum of feast or famine. Some weeks the inquiries will fly in; other weeks…crickets. Or, you may be getting requests but not taking on those who aren’t a good fit. Other times, it seems like you’re waiting on feedback from all your clients at once, giving you a slow day in the meantime. Or, perhaps lots of people are taking summer vacations!
Whatever the reason for the lull, rather than waste more time digging through all the Facebook groups you belong to, here are 10 ways you can work on your business or prepare for next clients:
1) Evaluate your website. With everything else that comes up, updating your website is so easy to push to the back burner. Make sure that all your info and content is up to date and reflective of what you do! You could refresh your about page, delete old offerings you don’t have any more, find some new photography to freshen your look, or knock out a few blog posts.
2) Learn a new skill (or brush up on one). Continuing to learn is essential when working in the fast-paced online world. Is there something new to your industry you could learn more about? Or maybe there is something you could learn about more deeply, like if you’re a web designer that is awesome at desktop design but needs to learn more about how to design for a responsive site. This will only make you more valuable to your potential clients.
3) Take a look at your client processes and collateral. When you get a new client, it is often a rush of “let’s get started!” and I know I tend to simply go with what I did with my last client. Take some time to see where you might clarify or simplify the process for your clients, whether it’s through documents you give them to explain what you do, the onboarding process, or how you manage the project. Making things simple and clear for the client means they will love working with you even more.
4) Find a way to help someone else. Look for a peer of yours that has too much work and could either hire you or refer you for the overflow. Write a more in-depth blog post about a problem that a lot of your audience has and you can help solve – or even a short ebook. Go through your social media feeds and see if anyone has a question you can answer. I really think karma is always at play here – if you offer your help, people will notice and hire you in return!
5) Touch base with past clients. Think back to clients that you loved working with and might be able to offer an additional service. If you designed a logo, see if that client is now in the need for any updated marketing pieces. If you took newborn photos, perhaps that family is ready for some whole family photos. Even if they don’t need anything immediately, it will help keep you front of mind should something come up!
6) Read a book or ebook you’ve been putting off. It’s so easy to buy a cheap ebook and save it for reading later, or to save a book to your Goodreads list and then never pick it up from the library. Find one (or a few!) and take a few hours to actually read them.
7) Reach out about a collaboration. Is there an acquaintance, fellow blogger, or a brand that you’ve been itching to work with? Now is the time to write that email or make that phone call! Tell them (concisely) about your idea or interest, and how the collaboration might benefit both of you. They can’t say yes until you give them the chance.
8) Clean up your social media feeds. See if anyone you follow isn’t relevant to what you do or look for anymore, and clear their clutter from your feed. It’s also a great time to sift through and see if there is anyone new-to-you to follow for inspiration or connecting with a potential client!
9) Catch up on your accounting. Ok, this one kind of stinks, but you will totally thank yourself later. Even if you have a bookkeeper, there are probably receipts you need to scan, income or expenses to enter, or even something as simple as making that transfer from PayPal to your bank account. You won’t be in a rush, so you can take some true time to get your accounts up to date.
10) Take a true break. Hopefully you will be busy again soon, so why not take a little time to yourself? Self-preservation is so essential when running a business by yourself or just a small team. Take an entire afternoon to go on a long walk and not look at your email even once. Take a day to go on a mini road trip. Do something creative but totally unrelated to your business. You deserve it!
What do you do when you have a slower day or period of time?