What to do when business is slow

What to do when business is slow

We’ve all been there, things are going along swimmingly and then suddenly we hit a lull in business. It’s scary financially, and if you’re like me, after about 48 hours you’re thinking no one will ever hire you again and you should just give up and WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU EVEN THINKING?!

Then you drink half a hard cider, pass on the couch while watching CSI:NY, and wake up the next morning feeling like a hungover loser.

It’s cool though, because after you repeat this process a few times you’ll realize that lulls in business can be FUN. And they can actually help you improve your business and make it better!

So stop drowning your sorrows in Angry Orchard and cheesy crimes, and do one of these instead!

Write blog posts

This is something I wish I did more often–creating a backlog of blog posts for when I’m too busy to blog. Having a collection of posts you can schedule for when things pick back up means you won’t be scrambling for a blog post when you really need one!

Create an e-course or write an e-book

Passive income is awesome, and while I’m only making about $200/month passively at the moment, it’s a really nice little bonus! The problem is that when I’m busy with client work I have trouble finding the time and motivation to work on products that will bring me more passive income–so I enjoy lulls in my business that allow me to get this work done! The added bonus of products like courses and books is that they allow clients who might not be ready to invest in your premium offerings to give you a kind of test drive to see if they’d like to hire you in the future–so even free courses and books can be hugely beneficial to your business!

Update your website

With designers, our sites are always the LAST things we work on. We tend to forget to update our portfolios, tweak that wonky bit on our sidebar (because only WE notice it anyhow), and make sure our offerings reflect what we really want to offer clients. So use this time to chip away at that to-do list you’ve been keeping mentally for your own site!

Create new packages (and tweak old ones)

Sometimes packages sell like hotcakes, other times we can’t seem to give them away. Use the lull in working with clients to tweak and adjust any design or development packages to what will appeal more to your audience–or nix them completely and start over from scratch! You can use this time to talk to potential clients and figure out exactly what it is they need, and build your packages around this new info. Oh, and while you’re at it, remove ANYTHING from your site you no longer want to offer!

Take a class

What better time to learn something new to improve your business? Whether it’s a class on design, development, copy writing, or Twitter, use this time to your advantage! If you’re like me you don’t have time for this stuff when you’re juggling clients, so get those mad skillz now! Your new skills can attract more clients, whether the copy on your website is just better, or you’re able to offer an entirely new range of services!

Enjoy the vacation!

It can be hard when you’ve got bills to pay, but if money isn’t an immediate issue (because you have savings like a good entrepreneur, right?) treat yourself to some quiet reading time, mid-day naps, lunch out with a friend, or a clean house (because who has time to clean when they’ve got client projects?). You don’t have to actually go anywhere (unless you want to!), but use the time to relax and recharge and do something for yourself. When work picks back up, you’ll be fully energized and ready to go!

What do you do when your business is slow?


  1. says

    Great post! I am soooo not used to having downtime (which at this point in my entrepreneurial career is a good thing!), but as it’s been busy, I do find it hard to keep up with the regular features I have on my blog. I will definitely be taking my downtime and using it to schedule blog posts in the near future. It’s a much better use of my time than watching re-runs of Criminal Minds :P

  2. says

    Love this advice! Right now I’m in a lull (I’m waiting on potential clients so I know any minute it’s about to get crazy again) so I’m trying to be good and work on side projects, etc. It’s difficult though! I need the structure of having deadlines. Yesterday I took a guilt free day off to run errands and relax and it was amazing. I think we think we should always be working, but taking time off here and there is so important!

  3. says

    Great advice, especially writing blog posts. I’ve been wanting to get back into blogging but haven’t had the time. I’ll definitely keep this in mind next time I’m in a lull.

  4. says

    Great tips! I love the idea of having a backlog of blog posts- there’s nothing worse for the creative process than forcing it when you’re too busy. Thanks for this, Erin!

  5. says

    Hey, great advice. I haven’t experienced any lulls yet, just a list of to-do’s a trillion miles long in my first year of biz, but I look forward to having a little lull hear and there and when I do, I’ll think of this post!

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