When Covid hit I lost 8 out of 10 clients. 5 closed their businesses, and 3 weren’t able to continue paying me.
Covid was a tough time for everyone, and I found myself with a lot of “extra” time in my business.
I could have vegged out on the couch (I admit, I did do that more than I’d like to admit), but I didn’t want to be a couch potato 24/7. I still needed to be productive. I had a business to keep afloat.
Not having clients or assignments for whatever reason doesn’t have to be discouraging. Rather, use your downtime to get projects and tasks out of the way and build your business to the level you want it to be.
Listed below are 15 productive things you can do for your business while you’re waiting for clients or assignments. This list is definitely not everything you can do, but it is a good amount of things o keep you busy!
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click through the links and make a purchase, I may make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.
How to stay motivated & productive when business is slow
Having slow periods or no clients doesn’t have to be a negative thing. Instead of feeling down that you don’t have money flowing in (I know, easier said than done), 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 ways you can be productive when you have downtime (in no particular order).
Productive Tip #1: Develop an SOP (standard operating procedure)
SOPs (standard operating procedures) are systems to help to keep you organized in your business. It is a step-by-step checklist of why you do what you do. It is the epitome of being productive on a daily basis.
What are some things that can go into your SOPs? Well, think of the tasks you do in your business regularly.
-Do you want to post on social media daily? Engage?
-Onboard a client and send a welcome packet
-Write blog posts weekly
One way to help you think of SOPs is, what are some things you would/could hand off to someone? And if you do so, what EXACT steps do you want them to take when completing said task(s)?
For example: you are hiring a social media manager and want them to create a content calendar and graphics weekly, and engage daily. Write out the above and anything else they should to in an instructional manual format.
So how do you lay this out? You can simply list the tasks in a Google Doc; create a Trello board; use programs like ClickUp; and more.
Great resources: https://youtu.be/Kpo-YJrb26c
Productive Tip #2: 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!
Bonus step: batch schedule all the content you just created!
Productive Tip #3: 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, read pinned posts, or watch for promo days.
Productive Tip #4: Revamp your social media
If you’ve been meaning to re-do and refresh your social media sites (create cohesion, change up your about me/bio, edit 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!
Learn about performing a Pinterest audit here.
Productive Tip #5: Update your website
If you’re like me, you like to refresh your website every 6 months or so . Some things you can do to refresh include:
-add SEO to your pages and blog posts (ranking for new keywords!)
-add ALT text to all pictures
-switch out graphics for newer ones
-switch out the ads on your site
-change your theme
-add/change announcement bar
-check/change your links
Productive Tip #6: Create fresh pins
Pinterest loves fresh pins and will always push them out! Even if it’s just a new pin to an older blog post, they’ll take it.
What is considered a ‘new’ pin? A different title, layout, colors, fonts, stock photo, etc.
Create at least one new pin for your most popular blog posts. If you have the time, create a new pin for every blog post you have published.
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. (But don’t steal or copy!)
Bonus step: pin 2-3 of those new pins, or batch schedule in Pinterest. (Don’t schedule or add all new pins at once; instead, add 1-2 every day.)
Productive Tip #7: Create a new freebie and 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 usually offers 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:
Productive Tip #8: 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:
Productive Tip #9: Clean out your email inbox
I know that I get upwards of 30-100 emails a day. (Yes, I’m subscribed to a lot of things!) And that is just in my business email. So you can imagine that my inbox fills up rather quickly, and that it can be easy to miss something.
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, they can wait.
If you find yourself with some free time, create email folders and program them to separate your email for you, so you never miss an important email from a specific person/company/client.
This course will help you do all the above and more.
Productive Tip #10: Rebrand
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.
Don’t forget to change:
If you need a logo or a logo refresh, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat about your needs!
Productive Tip #11: 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 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 discount or freebie, too!
If they don’t need your assistance at this time, ask if they’d consider giving you a testimonial that you can share on your website/social media. This is great to showcase as social proof.
Productive Tip #12: Approach local businesses
Use this free time to branch out! 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?
Productive Tip #13: 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.
Productive Tip #14: Apply for affiliate programs
One way bloggers monetize their blogs is to apply to 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 as a commission. (It can range from 5%-50%+) Almost everything we use has an affiliate program.
One thing about some programs is that they can require you to have a certain amount of pageviews/visitors each month.
Productive Tip #15: Review 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!
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!
Let me know below which task(s) you need to work on!