There will come a time where you just don’t have clients or client work at the moment, and your business is slow.
And while it’ll feel AMAZING to not have any “work” to do, there are still some things you can “work on” in the meantime.
If you don’t have clients or assignments, don’t get discouraged! This is the PERFECT time to get some things out of the way and to build your business.
Listed below are productive things you can do for your business while you’re waiting for clients or assignments.
This post may contain affiliate links, and while it may not cost you anything extra, if you make a purchase through any of my links, I may make a small commission. All opinions are my own. Thank you in advance for trusting me! Read more here.
How to stay motivated & productive when business is slow
Having slow periods or no clients doesn’t have to be something negative. Instead of feeling down that you don’t have money flowing in, take this time to work on making your business the way you want it to be.
Learn new systems, map out routines, take courses, etc. Listed below are some things you can do when you have downtime (in no particular order).
1. Create content
Get ahead of the game and create content for next week, month, or next few months! This can include bulk creating your graphics as well. This would be a great time to research what problems people have and ways you (or your business) can solve them!
Where can you find what problems people have? Check out this blog post I wrote on planning content. If you need help with some content ideas, grab my free prompts calendar and worksheets.
Bonus step: batch schedule all the content you just created! (Try Planoly, SmarterQueue, Later) Oh, and don’t forget to refill your Tailwind queue! (No Tailwind? Get a free trial plus your first month free here.)
2. Browse Facebook groups
Think of what Facebook groups you’re in. Browse them to see if there is someone looking for a service/product you provide, what problems they’re having (and how you can solve them), etc. You can also see if you can answer questions on the threads (which shows your expertise in an area they’re inquiring about!). Some of these groups will even let you advertise your business! Be sure to check with group owners, or watch for promo days.
If you’re a Virtual Assistant, some great groups are:
If you’re a small eCommerce business:
3. Revamp your social media
If you’ve been meaning to re-do your social media sites (create cohesion, change up your about me/business hours, add services, change your cover photo, etc.) now is the best time to do it! Creating graphics that pop can call people to your page(s).
Another great thing you can do for your social media is to learn more about it! Research new information, look up hashtags, check for graphic sizes, etc. You can also research new strategies to build up your following and keep them.
After you have redone your profiles, find places and ways to share them and get more followers!
Bonus: Learn about performing a Pinterest audit from this post.
4. Revamp your website
If you’re like me, you’ve been meaning to change things up on your website. Some things you can do include:
-add SEO to your pages and blog posts
-add ALT text to all pictures
-switch out graphics for newer ones
-switch out the ads on your site
-change your theme
-add/change Hello bar
5. Create new pins for older blog posts
Pinterest loves fresh content! Even if it’s just a new pin to an older blog post, they’ll take it. Create at least one new pin for each blog post you have. Keep similar wording or write new ones, changes colors, pictures, etc.
Check your analytics to see what pins are working for your audience and you’ll know how to create your new pins. You can also see what people in your niche are creating and draw inspiration from them.
Check out this blog post for ways to SEO your Pinterest and to set it up for organic traffic!
Bonus step: pin 2-3 of those new pins, or batch schedule in Tailwind. (Don’t schedule or add all new pins at once; instead, add 1-2 every day.)
6. Create a new freebie/email series
First and foremost, you should be creating a nurtured email list for your business. An email list can truly help you grow and prosper. (If you don’t have one, start one NOW! I highly recommend MailerLite as a beginner email provider.)
One way to draw people onto your list is to offer a freebie they can get once they sign up. That freebie is usually connected to an email series.
The freebie can offer a solution to a problem that they have. Having an irresistible freebie allows you to draw people onto your email series, which acts as your funnel.
Some freebies you can offer are:
7. Business courses
I feel that we never stop learning (and shouldn’t!). A great way to fill your time is to brush up your knowledge or learn a new skill! Some great courses to look up are:
Pinterest for the People (my course! Everything about Pinterest)
8. Clean out your inbox
I know that I get upwards of 30-100 emails a day. (Yes, I’m subscribed to a lot of things!) So you can imagine that my inbox fills up rather quickly.
I usually take one day a week to clear it out, however, when I have free time here and there, I’ll go through as many as I can.
Of course, I scan my email senders and headlines every 2 hours or so to see if something urgent comes in. Otherwise, everything can wait.
If you find yourself with some free time, clear out your inbox, move emails you want to keep to a ‘“saved” folder, and unsubscribe to emails you are no longer interested in.
If you’ve been thinking of changing up your logo, colors, slogan, NICHE, now is the time to do it!
Not having clients at the moment can be a godsend and a great way to take your business to the level you want it to be.
That way when you do gain clients, you’re ready and fresh, and “new”!
Tip: be sure to make all your changes across the board, and inform your followers/send an email blast.
10. Reach out to previous clients
If you’ve had great relationships with clients you’ve worked with before, reach out to them and see if they need help with a current project or two!
You never know what someone may be struggling with. And you just might be their saving grace out of nowhere.
Shoot them an email or a quick message, asking how they’re doing, or an update on what you provided them with in the first place, and offer more services. A great way to reel them in is to offer some type of dicount or freebie, too!
11. Approach local businesses
Use this free time to up your game! Reach out to local businesses and see how you can help! If you are a service provider, show them samples of your work and let them know what you can do for them.
If you are a product maker, see about getting your product in the local stores! The worse thing they can do is say no. Otherwise, how would you know?
12. Draft future blog posts/Guest post
Downtime is a great time to prepare! Sit and write down a few topics you’d like to write about, and start drafting the outline of them.
By having an outline ready, you can crank out quite a few posts and get them ready to publish. That way you’ll never be without an idea to post and you’ll have a lot of content to promote. Grab my blog post outline worksheets to help you out.
A great way to establish authority within your blog is to write guest posts on other blogs! You can find blogs that are looking for guest posts on various blogging Facebook groups. Be sure to get the requirements for their blog, and get your backlinks in order as well.
13. Apply for affiliate programs
One way bloggers monetize their blogs is to apply and promote affiliate programs. There are quite a few programs out there, and it can be hard to go through them and weed out the ones that are in your niche.
The way an affiliate program works is that you promote any of their products, and if people buy through you, you can receive a percentage of that sale. (It can range from 5%-50%+) Almost everything we use has an affiliate program.
One thing about certain programs is that they sometimes require you to have a certain amount of pageviews each month.
14. Go through your social media analytics
When you sign up for business accounts on the major social media platforms (Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook , Twitter, etc.) you gain access to analytics.
Your analytics show you how your account performs within any given time period. These stats can show you the optimal times your audience is on, what types of posts perform well, what your audience resonates with, etc.
It can also show you trends of your audience as well. If you are on Tailwind, it shows you AWESOME analytics for your Pinterest profile! It’ll show you which of your boards are performing well, and which ones that may be hurting you. This is great information to have on hand.
I suggest you familiarize yourself with the analytics of the social media platforms you are on, and really see what goes on with your accounts. This will greatly benefit you in the long run, and can bring more engagement as well as, more sales!
Analytics can seem to be confusing and hard to interpret sometimes. This can definitely be a task you outsource. (If you’re looking for someone, send me a message and let’s chat!)
15. Learn a new social media platform
When you first start marketing on social media, it is suggested that you learn/use 1-2 platforms in the beginning, get to know those platforms inside and out, and when you are ready, branch out to other platforms.
Having downtime in your business is an excellent time to get to know another platform and extend your marketing to a different audience!
Side note: you don’t HAVE to be on multiple platforms! If a certain platform doesn’t fit your business, don’t force your business to be on it.
16. Create a webinar/course
Webinars can be a little nerve-wracking, but some people enjoying learning that way. You can create a webinar as a freebie opt-in, or as part of a paid program.
There are many programs out there to record and edit your webinar, as well as platforms to host them.
Another great thing to create is an ecourse. An ecourse is a course you can create for others to learn on their own time.
Great hosting platforms are Teachable, Kajabi, and Thinkiffic. I have only used Teachable, so do your research before deciding which one to host your course on.
17. Review/revise your business plan (or create one!)
Even though it makes one uneasy to not have clients (I bet you’re thinking about not being able to pay a certain bill, or have extra funds for the month) it is a great opportunity to make sure you are on the the right track with your business.
When you first started your business venture, you should have created a business plan, so that you had an idea of what you were going to do, how your were goings to do it, and what goals you are going to put in place to get there.
If you don’t have a business plan in place, I highly suggest you take this time to create one! This is the perfect opportunity to get your affairs in order and to bring some organization to your business.
You can find great business plan templates online. Just search for one within your niche. (A great place to start is Google and Pinterest!).
Other planners that can help you are Classy Career Girl’s 90-day planner and It’s All You Boo’s Slay your Goals planner. Both are printable and easy to follow! I use both within my business.
18. Create a task schedule
One of the things that keep me incredibly organized in my business is to create a task schedule.
To do this I create a list of tasks I need to be done during the week (batch graphics, batch scheduling, draft blog posts, publish blog posts, etc.) and also list the days I am in service during the week (Sunday-Wednesday and Friday).
Next, I write in what I want to be done on each day. So, I have assigned a task to each day of the week I am working. For example, Mondays I batch graphics and draft blog posts; Tuesdays are editing, publishing, and sharing posts; Wednesdays I draft my weekly newsletter and work on clietns work; Thursday off; Friday I schedule posts and client work; Saturday I’m off; Sunday I check emails and run analytics reports.
This is a great way for me to stay organized and productive in my week and allows me to get quite a few things done. And if I complete my task for the day, I can always work ahead, or have time to do other things on my list (like most of the things on THIS list!). Or, I can “reward” myself by having the rest of the day to do my mommy/wife duties.
19. Find and join NEW Facebook groups, Tribes, or Group Boards
There seems to be a Facebook group for just about everything nowadays. A few of the popular ones I’m in touch on the topic of blogging, Pinterest, virtual assisting, online/small businesses, etc.
These groups are great ways to network and advertise your business or blog (only when allowed of course!). Utilize the search bar and find groups in your niche.
As for group boards, if you are on Pinterest, these boards are a great way to share your pins and get them out to a good amount of people. Of course, group boards only work if everyone who is a part of the board pitches in-and not just uses the board as a dumping ground. Usually the “rules” of the board are to share X amount of pins for every X amount YOU share. If you keep up this type of mentality, group boards are VERY BENEFICIAL to all who are a part of them.
Tribes are similar to group boards, but can only be found on Tailwind. Tailwind is a Pinterest and Instagram scheduler that can help you increase your reach and gain more followers and pageviews (and hopefully more business!). In my opinion, Tribes are better than group boards in that Tribe owners can actually see who isn’t pulling their weight and who isn’t can get booted from the group. That way you can see which Tribes are performing well and which aren’t.
If you are in the Social Media Management/Virtual Assistant niche, or the Pinterest niche, I have 2 Tribes that you are welcome to join! And if you aren’t part of Tailwind yet, by joining the Tribe you will receive a free month of Tailwind on me!
20. Leave Facebook groups, Tribes, or group boards
Another thing you can do is go through your FB groups and see if the information included in them is something that you are still interested in. Maybe you haven’t visited the group for a while or forgot it was even there. (Facebook limits the reach of the groups that you don’t interact with so that may be why it stops showing up in your feed.) If you are no longer interested in the group, you can leave it. Also, if you aren’t active, the group owner may purge you from the group as well.
Same applies to Tribes and Group Boards. You can see which ones are performing well by checking your analytics on Tailwind. If these boards/Tribes are not benefitting you, then it is time to leave them and join new ones.
21. Research business tools and programs
Downtime is the best time to research business tools and programs that may help you with time management or productivity.
There are so many tools out there, and you may want to try them all but don’t have the time. Take the time to research what’s out there, compare services, prices, and features.
22. Check finances/create a budget
A lot of the things that get overlooked in a business is the finances. If you’re anything like how I used to be, you ‘guess’ how much money you have and go from there. You sometimes forget to record incoming payments, or even forget that an outgoing payment automatically comes out and may leave you in an unfortunate situation.
I knew that I really needed to get my finances in order; after all, this is a business! I’m in the business to make money, not ignore it.
The best thing I did was enroll in FreshBooks Cloud Accounting. By connecting my accounts FreshBooks automatically collected information for me and made it easy when it came to tax time.
By knowing all of this information first hand, I was able to create a budget for my business and stick to it! Pinterest has great budgeting worksheets; I recommend you find one that fits your style or create your own.
Another way that helped me get my finances in order was to create income reports to share with everyone! You can check out my income reports here:
23. Look into hiring help
If you are at a point in your business where you need help running certain areas, you can look into hiring help!
Not many people have this luxury, but if you do, there are many people who can help you achieve success in your business.
Great places to start are virtual assistants or social media managers. These people can take a lot of the marketing and day to day work off your plate, so you have more time to create and run your business.
You can find people for hire on various Facebook groups, or even by putting out an ad! Virtual jobs are very “in” right now and you will have no problem finding someone. Be sure to do your research ensure they’re qualified to do the job.
Learn more about social media managers on this post.
There you have it! 23 ways to stay motivated and productive when business is slow.
Building a business is a lot more than just doing work for other people. You actually have to build it, nurture it, and make improvements where needed. If you have “free time” in your business then you can always fill it with a task to add to your features.
Of course, if you have built a business that runs on auto-pilot, then hey you deserve to have that free time!
I suggest that you create a running to-do list and add to it what you really want to get done for your business. Then, when you find that you have extra time to fill, you can work on ticking those items off one by one!
I am 8 months into my business and still have a running to-do list of things I want to be working on. This is a great way for me to remember what I want to build upon and how I want to make it great!
Drop a comment below and let me know what’s on YOUR to-do list!