It’s happened to me. It will happen to you.
It happens to everyone who hustles for a living.
You know what it is…
The dreaded Slow Season.
Things stop coming in. What once was a river of work has slowed to a trickle. And maybe, just maybe, work comes to a grinding halt. The worst thing possible can happen then…
Your hustle feels off the rails.
So, how do you deal when things get slow?
Do you constantly refresh your e-mail? Do you bid on a bunch of new work? There are lots of ways to fight this battle. It can be as depressing as it is temporary, but this struggle is real. A lot of times it’s not your fault. But…
It’s on you as a freelancer to get out of the slump.
So, what do you do when your freelance business is slow? In this blog post, I’m going to share with you some of the tried and tested methods for getting out of a client slump. These are things that I’ve used to get my groove back and that I’m confident you can use as well to get things back on track.
Let’s get to it.
1) Find A Few Events Worth Speaking At & Reach Out
The first way to combat a slow business cycle is to generate new business by flexing your public speaking muscle. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
For example, let’s say you’re a corporate blogger that knows about SEO, and wants to increase your business from tech companies. I recommend that you take some time, check out Eventbrite, and search for seminars or conferences that would have tech entrepreneurs present. From there, reach out to the conference organizers and see if you can get on a panel, or, better yet, have a solo speech to a captive audience.
Here’s another tip:
Once you’re on Eventbrite, put in your keywords, like “new media.” Then you will filter by conferences and seminars, and be sure to do so in your accessible area. Once you’ve found what you need there, click on the “Contact Organizer” button and reach out via e-mail. Sometimes, if you find the event on Eventbrite but it has its own website, it is good to reach out through their contact page.
Let’s make this even easier:
They’ll help you land the gig.
2) Plan & Schedule Content Marketing For Months In Advance
Look on the bright side.
You now have time to create all that great content you always wanted.
This is where having a slow time in your hustle can be advantageous. It’s so easy to forget about your social media pages, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or even your blog, when you’re busy on the grind and working with clients.
One great way to ensure that you’re presenting yourself online in the best way possible is to spend time creating lots of content that you can schedule to post for months in advance. You can do it on your blog through WordPress (if that’s your platform), or you can use tools like http://GetCrate.co to schedule content for the next few months on your social media pages.
When you use Crate you are prompted to sign in with your Twitter account. From there, you will build a “Crate” of blogs and influencers that are interesting and pertinent to your hustle. After that, you can easily schedule content and keep your audience abreast of what is most important to them.
3) Build Relationships With Past + Potential Clients
What’s the #1 way you lose business?
It’s not by being bad at what you do, and it’s not because you don’t work hard.
It’s because your treat your clients like clients, and not like people.
Business is all about relationships. A friend of mine once said that your vibe dictates your tribe and I couldn’t agree with more that idea.
Your clients will thank you for calling them to check in on their families, new projects, or just to grab a cup of coffee. If your clients aren’t local, you can still build good relationships with them by a phone call or a Skype or Facetime session.
It’s the little things.
If you’ve always wanted to work with someone, but never been able to pitch them, now is the time to get a casual cup of coffee or start a conversation. If you’re itching for the work, spend some time researching for an introduction or doing a bit of digging to find an issue you can help with immediately.
It’s OK to reach out to an influencer via Twitter or e-mail to someone you think is a “stretch” client.
I’ve done it plenty of times and been met with both failure and success.
You can ask for an informational interview or even a breakdown of their needs. The key here is listening, and creating a relationship that isn’t just about transactional business. You are a person and so are your clients.
Even if your hustle is tailored towards corporations, who works at those?
Planting seeds when business is slow might not bring quick conversions, but it will make certain you have a good smattering of people that feel they can rely on you and that you care about them.
Also, it’s interesting to learn about new projects! Ask people what they are into! Who knows? You might get an idea for a future project that they haven’t even thought about yet.
And, last but not least…
4) Invest Money & Time In The Person In The Mirror
It’s hard to have nothing on the go. It’s difficult to keep your head straight when business is so slow that you’re twiddling your thumbs wondering what’s next.
The best way to fix that is to invest in the person you see in the mirror.
Go to the gym, check out a new yoga class, or contact friends and family to connect.
But don’t forget to invest professionally as well. Invest your time into learning a new skill. Invest your time into learning a new concept. Invest your time into studying a topic that will give you a competitive advantage in the future.
If we show up for ourselves, and make the person in the mirror part of our personal hustle, you increase the chances that you will end out on top.
There’s no way to make your life better than to make yourself better. Treat yourself like you would treat someone you were mentoring or coaching, and realize that you can be your own best example.
When business is slow, you can give speeches, meet new people, check on your past clients, and continue your hustle by building your digital brand and working on the most important piece of this: YOU.
If you’ve made it this far, I know you’re hungry to improve because most people would have stopped reading if they weren’t. You’ve made it this far so I’m going to tell you something that I wish someone told me when business was slow:
Don’t beat yourself up over it.
Use this time to grow. Use this time to improve. Use this time to put yourself into a situation where you’ll never have a slow time like this again.
That’s what I want for you.
That’s why I wrote 100 Tips For Making Your First $100K and have helped entrepreneurs from all over the world take their freelance business to the next level. If you’re looking for more tips to grow your business, download the guide now.
Alright… Now over to you.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you thought of this post. I’d love to hear what things you like to do when business is feeling a bit slower than usual.