There are a few times of year when the unthinkable happens to us: inquiries start drying up and client work slows down. Usually this happens at least once a year for most business owners, and that’s usually during the summer months. People are going on vacations, figuring out how to entertain their kids, or just slowing down because they can, which means they aren’t thinking about making any changes in their business that would require hiring a designer.
Kory here! The first couple of years I noticed the slow down in my work I started freaking out. I went into panic mode wondering how I was going to pay my bills, and I was always on the edge of my seat wondering when I’d get more work. If you’re feeling this, rest assured that we all go through it. The good news is that you don’t have to overwork yourself trying to market your business or freak out waiting for new inquiries. Today we’re talking about four things you can do for your own business while things are quiet.
Update your website
As important as our websites our to our businesses (they’re one of the main things helping us book clients after all), they’re one of the things that often get overlooked for the longest while we’re working. Either things like our copy or pricing becomes outdated or we don’t spend time actually updating our portfolios while we’re working with clients. So, there are several things you can do to your site when client work starts slowing down throughout the year:
- Update your copy
- Add new work to your portfolio
- Completely redesign your site
Revisit and update your processes
Just like our websites, the processes we put to work with clients also end up not getting tweaked or updated until we have a horrible experience that forces us to reconsider how we do things. The problem with that is that as we work with more and more clients, we learn new things about how we like to work and tweaks we can make to our processes to make things go more smoothly. For example, maybe you want to change your moodboard process or update the way you onboard clients.
Updating these types of processes are perfect to do when you don’t have any clients because it’ll really give you enough time to go through every step and make sure you have things set up exactly how you want it to be. You also won’t have to worry about having two different sets of processes for your current and new clients, which is too much of a headache to even think about.
Do something on your “someday” business to do list
If you’re anything like us, then you already know what a “someday” list is, but in case you don’t, a “someday” list is simply a list of tasks that you know you need to get around to, but you keep putting it off or saying you’ll get them done “someday” or “soon”. Krista and I each have our own “someday” lists, and they seem to grow faster than we can tackle them.
Depending what’s on your list, you might have plenty of time to tackle some of those tasks when client work is slowing down so you still have productive things to do for your business. For example, a lot of people have tasks like “add new work to portfolio” on this list, but other people might have things like creating a passive income product on there. Whatever your tasks are, if you have a few weeks off or have extra time during the day, working on these things will help you move your business forward even when things are slow.
Take time off
Last but certainly not least is one of the hardest things for people to do: take time off from their business. I know it’s so hard to do this, especially when you really enjoy what you do for work. Taking time off is always hard for me, but every time I do I almost always come back to work feeling refreshed and energized to get back into the swing of things.
You don’t have to take a dramatic amount of time off, either. If you usually work 6-7 days a week, try just taking a weekend off. If you just work during the week, take a long weekend or a whole week off if you can swing in. Regardless of how long your time off will be, make sure that you’re actually unplugging during this time. Leave your computer at home or in another room, delete social media from your phone, and actually unwind. That’s even harder than just taking time off, but it’ll do you a lot of good to be completely checked out for a little while.
- Make a plan for what you can do when work starts slowing down
[…] talked about this in EP 012, but so many designers have issues with their portfolio simply because they aren’t updating […]