Hey, I am so excited to welcome you to this episode. I wanted to spend this episode chatting about what to do when your business is slow, especially because summer tends to be a slower period for a lot of creatives.
And also just this year in general. I’ve been hearing so many stories about how this year has just been a lot slower than normal. So I just wanted to share some of my advice and also kind of talk about what I like to do whenever business gets slow.
Yeah, let’s just go ahead and get started on what to do when your business is slow!
The first one is don’t panic.
Now, I know this is easier said than done, but if I ever realized that I’ve gone a few weeks without an inquiry, I tend to find myself getting really worried.
I usually will immediately just tell my girlfriend and be like, oh my gosh, this is going to last forever. It has been so long since anyone has even reached out, and it always freaks me out a little bit. And I always have to remind myself not to do that.
So what I tend to find is whenever it gets slow, it eventually evens out again. And normally I’ll have a slow month, and then all of a sudden, the next month I’ll be booked out for the next three months from inquiries. So I just remind myself slow periods are normal.
And I’m reminding you now, slow periods are normal.
And I’ve actually found that when I tend to freak out and stay freaked out, things will stay slow. But if I just stay calm and remind myself to keep doing what I’m doing, and I will eventually just get an inquiry soon. So it’s really just a mindset game.
And just because things are slow doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be working on your business. But I’ll kind of dig into that a little bit later.
Continue to Show Up
Number two on this list of what to do when your business is slow is to continue to show up. So when things are slow for me, sometimes I’ll realize that it’s because I haven’t shown my face on stories for a while, or I haven’t emailed my list or even posted on social media or done anything to market my business.
I find that when I consistently show up, even if it’s just on one platform or in one way, it will make big differences, even if it’s down the line. So just remind yourself to continue to show up as you normally would.
People don’t necessarily know that it’s like a slow time for you. You know what I mean? So keep posting on your stories and invite people to chat with you. Keep posting and keep marketing anyway.
Keep Marketing Anyway
So number three is marketing anyway. Marketing consistently can definitely be difficult, but I found that setting aside either a day a month or I’ve even tried a day a week and kind of calling it a CEO day can help significantly.
I will probably do a podcast episode at some point on just CEO days in general because ever since I started implementing them, it’s made a huge difference.
But take that time to sit down, plan out your marketing content, and then create it and schedule it so that it’s mostly on autopilot.
So I like to use my CEO days to plan on my upcoming content topics if I’m going to be launching anything. Also, decide where I’ll be mostly marketing.
Then I’ll start to plan out all of the details of that, whether it’ll be like on my blog, social media, email list, anything like that. And then what that does is if I do end up getting booked, my marketing is still going.
I found that when I do get busy sometimes, that’s when I start to pull back on my marketing which then could end up kind of creating this effect where you’ll just be stuck in a cycle of focusing on marketing and then not focusing on marketing, which creates slow periods.
You know what I mean? It just keeps going. So just try to market anyway and stay consistent.
Create Digital Products
This is one that I’ve recently started doing this year. But consider designing some passive products. So this can be huge because the passive product you pretty much just design once, and you can keep selling it over and over again.
Honestly, that’s how my templates came about this year. I made the Stand Out with Notion course when it got a little bit slow. I also did a Marketing for Creatives mini-course this summer, which was really fun to do.
I find that it’s really great to create a passive product and something that either A, you’ve always wanted to create in your business, or B, something that kind of answers the question that you’re asked a lot.
So my Notion one and my marketing for creatives course both came out of questions that I always got in my DMs about how I use Notion and how I market my own services as a creative.
Some examples of passive products you can create could be templates, printables, workbooks, or courses. And if there’s something that you’ve been wanting to create in your business, when it’s slow is the perfect time to do it.
Start a Hobby
Next, you can consider starting a hobby. And honestly, this could be either business-related or not business related. It’s completely up to you.
Take the time to learn a new skill. Experiment, see what happens. And honestly, it could even be something like crocheting or going to the gym, or baking. I just find that when you have the time to really focus on yourself, it makes a huge difference in your business because you get a lot more excited to kind of go back and work on your business.
So don’t forget about yourself along the way. And if it’s slow, consider doing a hobby that you’ve always been interested in.
Write Blog Posts
Number six, consider writing blog posts. So one thing that I’ve been trying to do a lot more on Inkpot is writing blog posts, especially when it’s slow.
And as service-based business owners, I know that blogging is something that a lot of us tend to pass on because we don’t really know the outcome that it could have on a business.
The other thing I found is that a lot of service-based business owners will write blog posts but not SEO optimize them, which is a huge mistake because you’re basically putting in all this work only for it not to be found on Google.
I am here to tell you that blogging pays off. Don’t take Inkpot as much of an example because we only have, like, 30 blog posts up right now. But I do have a travel blog that I run for fun on the side that gets most of its traffic from Google.
And we average, I think this past month, we averaged around 15,000 page views a month. So just imagine if you leverage the power of blogging with SEO in your posts and think about all the eyeballs on your content, that could potentially just find you a little bit more organically than you always having to show up on social media.
Blogging is definitely a long-term game, though, so that’s something I really want to mention when I post over on my blog. Some of my posts have ranked on the first page within a few days or even like, a day on my travel blog.
But that’s just because I am incredibly niched on that site. I’ve been posting consistently for a very long time, and I also have a very high domain authority on that site. But when you’re new to blogging and your domain is new, it can take a long time to start to rank, so just keep that in mind.
It can sometimes be even up to a year, but I’d say the average is like six to eight months before you’ll start to see results. And just know blogging is worth it, and it’s definitely something you should try to focus on if you have the time.
Try to Implement Recurring Revenue
Number seven, try to see if there’s a way that you can implement recurring revenue into your business. So many people tend to sleep on this, in my opinion. Think of a way to leverage your skill set on a monthly cycle, and it should relate to your other services because often these monthly services are ones that you can pitch to your past clients.
So, for instance, at Inkpot Creative, we offer monthly maintenance design services for clients, which is basically like monthly website updates. If a client knows that they’re going to need a lot of updates in the next coming months, whether it’s because they are having new launches or things like that, or they need new sales pages. That’s the perfect service for that.
We also started offering a monthly beta service, which is for blog writing for clients. Since I was talking about how great blog writing is, this is something we started to offer to a select few previous clients that we’ve designed websites for to practice it and get some feedback before we offer it a little bit more as a public-facing service. And that’s one we’re really excited about.
So when it comes to recurring revenue, try to think of something that your past clients could potentially hire you for because your past clients are again, the ones that you’re most likely going to kind of pitch the offer to and who will most likely invest in you again, especially if you did a great job for them. If you’re wondering what to do when your business is slow, this is a great option.
So some ideas for a photographer as an example could be monthly branded content. You could reach out to local businesses and see if anyone needs photography on a monthly basis for social media or anything like that.
And honestly, I feel like most small business owners would probably hop on that because we tend to post our photos really quickly, and then we have to keep posting the same photos if that makes sense. So definitely try to hop on that.
You could even offer it to other business owners in your area. That’s especially true if you’re in a bigger city. I’m sure there are businesses in your city who would definitely need your help.
Take a Course
Number eight, take a course. So if you’re anything like me, then you probably buy courses way too often and then you just straight up forget about them.
So I’m kind of a serial course buyer. I do this way too often. If you bought a course that you wanted to go through but haven’t had time, take the time now to go through it. This can also be a great way to further your business if you’re not like me and you don’t buy courses all the time.
One place that I’ve really started using this past year is Skillshare. This is not like an ad or anything, but I had heard really great things about it, and I finally bought an annual membership, and I just love the variety of courses on there.
You can learn anything from how to edit a YouTube video to how to paint, and it just helps my creative mind thrive. Like, I love it. I also even took a course on podcasting there. So it’s a really cool place to start if you want to learn more but don’t necessarily want to dish out a whole bunch of money for courses.
Number nine, relax. And I know for a fact that you hustle super, super hard during your busy seasons because I do the same exact thing. During my busy seasons, I tend to find myself way overworking, and I’ll be working like 10 hours a day sometimes just to get things done on time because I’m very much the kind of person that says yes to too many things.
So if you find yourself in a slow period, it is okay to take it slow for a little bit. You work so hard, you deserve it, even if it just means starting your days a little bit later than normal. Trust me on that one.
Number ten on this list of what to do when your business is slow, you could try networking. This is something I definitely have to get better at.
But if you’re a service provider of any kind, then you know that this business is very human first, especially if you’re the face of your business. So you have to make connections, and those connections can help you sometimes even in ways you didn’t expect.
You could try online networking groups or ones in person, like in your city, whatever you’re more comfortable with. This is definitely something that you could try out.
Update Your Content
Lastly, update your stuff. So when times are slow, sometimes, not always, it can be a sign to update your stuff.
You could edit your branding, your website, your processes, or even your website copy. Whenever things tend to get slow for me sometimes, I take that as a sign that, hey, we could just go ahead and update our website right now, and that could at least get more eyeballs on our website if we do that.
So that is something that I tend to do. I tend to update my website at least once a year.
We do offer monthly payment plans between four and ten months, depending on the service that you booked.
At Inkpot Creative, we always take slow seasons to to update our processes. We are always updating our processes, and we pride ourselves on having a seamless client experience. Literally, every few projects, Jesse and I will sit down and we’ll chat about what went well and what could have gone better, and then we’ll fix up our processes and go from there.
I feel like any time there’s a little bit of a hiccup in a project, and I’m like, okay, so what can we do to fix this, so it doesn’t happen in the future? And I think that can really help elevate your client experience if you’re always trying to stay on top of things like that and always updating things if something comes up.
The better your client experience, the smoother your service, and the more likely you are to stand out amongst other service providers in the industry.
Thanks so much for tuning in today; I hope you enjoyed this episode on what to do when your business is slow.
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KP (she/her) is the founder and designer behind Inkpot Creative, which was founded back in 2020. She specializes in Showit website design, blogging, and SEO. Over the years, she’s built custom websites for more than 50 photographers and has helped grow client’s monthly website traffic to increase their inquiries. When not designing, she can normally be found hiking in the mountains, working on her travel blog Volumes & Voyages, or trying to find the best iced chai in her city.