How to keep going when business is slow
Support + strategies for those periods we all have in our business
I often speak to small business owners about how unpredictable running your own business is. You put in all the work, do all the "required" things, do the marketing, perfect your sales pages--and nothing happens.
Or, you're not working in any special way on your marketing or doing anything different, and get a flurry of new customers or clients out of the blue.
We've all had periods when business is slow, and we all still have periods when that happens. But that doesn't make it make it any easier to go through one of those periods.
When business is slow, please remember that this is not because you are not enough, or that you're not doing enough.
Today I want to share some practical things you can do when business is slow and you're worried about it. They'll help you to focus, and also to be honest with yourself.
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#1: focus on input
You can't control whether people buy from you or sign up for your services. Sure, there's things you can do to make that decision easier, but a lot of it is out of your hands. Whether or not someone buys from you has to do not only with whether they come across your products, but also with their own finances, their mood, their level of readiness and much more.
Focus on what you can control.
What you can control, is your input. You can control how you market your business. You can control your message. You can control the newsletters you write. Focus on what you can do rather than what is out of your hands.
#2: keep chipping away
I like to think of all the work I do in and on my business as chipping away. Every newsletter I write, every pin I pin, every client I connect with, every tweak of my website--these are all ways in which I'm chipping away at running my business and making money.
When I feel powerless about not being able to control the outcome of my work, focusing on chipping away shows me that I'm still doing something for my business that I enjoy.
#3: seek community and support
Building a community of other small business owners has made the biggest difference for me over the past couple of years. I love my mastermind group, and the Aligned Community is also always a place where I can ask for support on parts of my business.
Running your own business can be really lonely. Sometimes it seems like everyone has this thing figured out except you. Trust me: we all have the same struggles, you just don't see them.
Another thing to consider is to get paid support. As a small business mentor I can't guarantee clients or customers for you. But I can help you get really clear on the steps that you want and need to take in order to build the slow, gentle and profitable business that you crave. Send me an email if you want more info, or find out more on my website.
#4: stay focused
When business is slow, it's so easy to follow those shiny new ideas that we all have. Shiny new ideas can give us the energy that we might be lacking in our business at some points. But they can also distract from the focus of our business.
For instance, I love creating workbooks and guides. And while I really loved putting together the business boundaries and social media guides last year, focusing on them meant that I could focus less on 1:1 mentoring. This year I'm focusing on attracting more 1:1 mentoring clients, which means saving all the shiny ideas for new guides in a drawer for the time being.
#5: know your numbers
Depending on your situation, you may not be able to continue indefinitely without making (enough) money. This can be really painful, but knowing what you need to make is also freeing because it allows you to be prepared. How many months of few sales can you afford? What is the moment when you'll be looking for a (part-time) job next to your business? Which people in your network can help you out, or even people in a previous job?
Take a moment to think or journal about these questions:
Which elements of your business can you control? What is your input?
What are you going to focus on? And which shiny ideas need to go into a drawer for the time being?
Where can you find community and support? Who can you invite for a virtual cup of tea?
sandals | the warmer weather meant taking out my Saltwater Sandals again. These are the most comfortable sandals I've ever worn and they're super durable too.
Substack app | I'm subscribed to quite a few Substack newsletters, but it meant my inbox got just a bit too crowded. So I downloaded the Substack app and turned off email notifications. Now all new newsletters appear in the app, and I can go in there whenever I fancy reading them. It’s like having my own perfectly curated magazine.
When business is slow, please remember that this is not because you are not enough, or that you're not doing enough. You really don't need to do all the things. You do need to be strategic and focused about what you do, though (these blog posts about marketing might help).
What helps you in those times when business in slow? Do leave a comment and share, or ask for advice of the community here 💛
I'd love to support you in all phases of your business. Providing clarity, focus and next steps is something that my clients tell me I'm really good at. If you're curious about how we can work together through 1:1 mentoring, check out my website or send me a message--no strings attached. I have payment plans available, and flexible options for mentoring calls (30 or 60 minutes).