It's summer right now, which means that everyone is out on their boat, at the beach, the cottage, out of town, visiting friends and families, having BBQ's, drinking bevvies on a patio, and taking the kids on day trips. All these people are your clients, and they're not interested in working on much right now. There are always seasons in life and in business, and summer is the season of slowing down. Try telling that to your bank account or your credit card company.
It's not just summer either. For us holistic health practitioners, depending on your niche, there's probably at least one other time of year when business is slow.
If you're a massage therapist, chiropractor, or naturopath, the two months before everyone needs to use up their benefits is insanely busy, but the two months after that are probably slower.
If you're an essential oil advocate, the busy times are September to December and March to June. The other months of the year aren't quite as hectic.
If you're a nutritionist, it depends on your niche. If your focus on weight loss, mid-November to the end of December is probably pretty dead, and then picks up in January and February when people realize they have a food hangover. If your focus is something else, you might find that you're busy up until mid-December, and then hit a lull until March when people come out of their winter hibernation.
The point is that there are at least 2 times during the year when you have the space and time to work on your business, not just in it.
You might not be selling a whack load of programs right now, but there are still tons of things you could be doing to build your business.
I have a mainly online based business, so I have a running list of things that I could be working on at any time of the year. Website updates and changes, pics for social media, completing the online course that I just purchased, recording a new webinar, truly the list could go on forever.
You might be just starting a website and realizing that you can use it as your master marketing machine year-round (need help with that? Check this free checklist out). You might have several social media platforms going that you know you aren't using to their fullest.
You can totally use this down-time to make shit happen in your business and bring in new clients for the next 6 months, but you can't just try things willy nilly.
Just like with anything in your business, you need to get intentional.
The problem is that when you start looking around the interwebs to figure out what you should be doing, everyone has a different opinion.
This person over here uses social media (whether it be one platform or several put together) to find new clients, is booked out for the next 6 months, and has a waitlist of potential clients 100 people long.
That person over there swears that blogging is the only way to grow your business, and has gone from zero to 6 figures in 6 months.
And we've all heard of that person who tells you that whenever they run a webinar, they sell multiple 5 figures.
The point is that there are LOTS of ways you could be growing your business, and the best and most annoying part of being an entrepreneur is that only you can figure out what way works best for you.
Personally, I lean towards blogging (you can read all about that over here), and throw in webinars mainly when I'm launching something new. I despise social media, but I'm slowly figuring out how to automate it so that it can work for me when I don't feel like working for it.
Even though I seem super extroverted, I'm actually a huge introvert. Even though I'm super transparent online, I'm also very private. This is why I hate social media, because I feel like I'm not sharing the whole story of my life, and I'm trying really hard (with my anxiety) to live in the moment and not feel like I have to be documenting everything and thinking about how future me can use a certain picture.
But maybe you love social media and hate webinars. That's totally OK! You're the ladyboss of your own empire, and can choose what you want to do. But you've got to do something.
When you've got a lull in business and you want to find new clients, here's 9 things you can do, broken down by category:
1. Plan out your next 6 months of social media presence:
What are you planning on running in your business in the next 6 months? A new 1-1 service? A group program? An online program?
Oh, you don't have a plan to "run" or "launch" anything? You're just waiting for clients to find you? 😂 Think again.
If you have no plan, you have no way of making money.
How many of us tell our clients this all the time? Clients who want to eat better or work out more, but they have no concrete plan of doing it. Don't be a hypocrite in your business.
So, I'll ask you again: what are you planning on running in the next 6 months of your business?
Now, write down when you plan on running them. Next, brainstorm some pictures that you've either already had taken, plan on having professional photographed (but read this first), or know where you can legally download and use beautiful stock photographs for.
Take a day or two, and using a free program like Canva, turn those pictures into inspirational quotes, tips for achieving what they'll achieve in your course, or marketing images for a free challenge you're doing to lead up to your launch (don't know how to do that? Check this article out here).
Then, get those images scheduled into whatever social media platform you're using so that you don't need to worry about them later when you might be busier.
2. Set up a social media scheduling service
If you're like me and loathe social media, then why not automate it? It's better than ignoring it.
I'm not talking about those people who pay for services that leave obviously pre-scheduled, totally generic comments on Instagram.
You know, the people who have tons of followers who leave comments on your posts that say "Thank you for being YOU!", "Inspiring!", "#awesome :)" , or "This is great". Seriously, just because your spambots comment on my picture does not mean that I'm going of follow you. #getbetter
In these programs, you set up various categories of folders, and then tell the scheduler when to post them.
The program will pick the next post ready to go in that particular folder that you want posted from on a certain day and time, and post it. When it's done going through that entire folder of content, it will start again at the first post.
These programs make sure that you always have new posts populating your Facebook and Twitter feeds, which increases your reach. If your posts are relevant to your particular ideal client, more people will engage with them, leading to more reach and more growth.
That's a pretty big if, and you can't just go putting random stuff in your category folders. Again, you have to be intentional and figure out what your ideal client wants to see. Some categories you can use are:
- industry trending articles
- things to show your personality (what makes you you)
- funny videos
20% of the time you can pitch your followers something, like signing up for your newsletter, getting your free lead magnet, opting in for a free challenge, or even buying one of your products or services.
This is also a fantastic way of bringing older blog posts back into rotation. You can set up a category of just your blog posts, and sprinkle those in once or twice a week. If you have a content upgrade in those blog posts, it will result in new people opting into your email list.
It'll probably take you an entire day or two to populate the folders that these programs will automatically pull from, but that's a fantastic investment of your time if it's means that your social media platforms will get more followers and more clicks to your website on auto-pilot, which means more paying clients (if you're doing everything right).
3. Invest in a program to learn how to use social media more effectively
Anyone can sign up for a free social media account on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat, Periscope, or LinkedIn. You could spend hours on these websites and apps, but that doesn't mean that they'll generate real business growth or results.
If you've been using a few social media platforms for awhile and know that you could be doing a heck of a lot more to grow your business with them, it's time to invest in a course to teach you how to go pro and get them working better for you.
I did this earlier this year with Pinterest by investing in Melyssa Griffin's Pinfinite Growth course. This course teaches how to figure out what your ideal client audience actually wants to see from you on Pinterest, and then how to automate your Pinterest content so that it looks like you're pinning all day, every day ... without actually doing anything!
It's required that you purchase some extra software outside of the course for a monthly fee, but for me it's been worth it to see more clicks to my website and new people signing up to my e-mail newsletter list from Pinterest. I was ready for that sort of investment.
You can find programs on how to use every other social media platform better, just make sure that the person knows what they're talking about before you purchase their program. Check out their free blog posts, webinars, or podcasts before investing your hard earned money on their paid course.
4. Write some blog posts
Blogging is one of the most important things you can do to market your business. I already wrote an entire blog post (hah!) on the subject over here, but if you want to find new paying clients on the regular, my opinion is that blogging is the easiest way you can do that.
However, blogging is one of the first things to fall off your schedule when you get busy.
I get it! I planned on blogging once a week on this website ... and when I got busy a few months ago it turned into every other week, and then only once a month.
So when you're sitting in front of your computer, complaining to yourself that you don't have any clients and you're not busy? Write a blog post.
When you're reading someone else's blog post about how they've grown their business to 6 figures and wondering why you don't have the same success? Write a blog post.
When you're getting ready to launch a new program or service and realize you have zero people on your email list and will have to pay for some Facebook ads that you don't even know how to set up? WRITE A BLOG POST!
If you find yourself with a few days of not much to do, bang out 2 or 3 blog posts. If you normally send out newsletter to your email list every other week, that's 6 weeks of work done in advance. Get them scheduled into your email newsletter software now, and you're good to go.
5. Write content upgrades for your most popular blog posts
So you're already blogging regularly and no one is paying attention or opting into your email list? Content upgrades are the answer!
What are they? Click here to read an entire blog post outlining what content upgrades are, how I've used them to supercharge my email newsletter list growth, and how I tested out the topic of my latest course that I've sold over $11,000 of in the last 4 months.
If I can sell 5 figures worth of an online course to an email list of less than 400 people, you can too, but you've got to work smarter, not harder.
Spend a day or two designing and writing content upgrades for your 3 most popular blog posts, and sit back and watch your email newsletter list grow by leaps and bounds. Then sell and launch to those people.
I teach all about doing this in a natural and non-sleazy way in my course: Brand, Build, Blog.
6. Plan your blogging schedule around your new program or service
So, you've done some planning and know you're coming out with a new program or service. You've done your homework and know that you're solving a problem that your ideal client has. You know your program rocks, and you've priced it right.
Work backwards from your program and ask yourself: what are 3 things my ideal client needs to know before they invest in my paid offering?
Let's say you're selling a weight loss program based on whole foods, no calorie counting, and meal planning. Right now your ideal client eats out of packages, hates cooking, and would rather eat something that has zero grams of fat but 10 teaspoons of sugar. Obviously you need to educate your ideal client on why what they've already been doing hasn't been working, and why your program is the thing they've been looking for to get the results they want.
Before you start your official launch, why not write 3 separate blog posts on the 3 topics your course is about. The headlines could say something like this:
1. Why eating out of a box will keep your fat, tired, and miserable → eat whole foods
2. 3 myths about counting calories and why it doesn't work → don't count calories
3. How to meal plan when you hate cooking → the key to making everything work
Post each one on your blog and send it to your email newsletter list once a week for the 3 weeks leading up to your course. Your ideal client will already be thinking that they need to know more about those three things ... and that's exactly what your paid course teaches them!
7. Get everything ready behind the scenes
When you run a webinar, it's not just about being live for an hour. Here are all the steps I take when I host a webinar:
- design the sign up page
- connect the sign up page to your email newsletter software
- write a welcome email that gets sent out automatically when they sign up
- send out the link and reminder emails 2 hours and 15 minutes in advance
- pre-write the replay email to be sent out 1 hour after the webinar starts
- design the live webinar page
- set up the Google Hangout event page
- embed the Google Hangout video into the live page
- add a custom comment box below the live video
- market the webinar in Facebook groups and to my list
- design the webinar slides
THEN comes the actual webinar where you show up for an hour and deliver amazing value with your free content.
That's a lot of steps, and depending on what software you use could take you an entire day. If you know you want to host a webinar a month for the next 3 months, get everything set up when you're not busy.
8. Improve your webinar slides
We've all attended webinars that were boring as shit. You may have even left a webinar half way through because all the person was doing was pitching their paid products or services.
Like anything else in your business to build trust (the first step to actually selling your stuff), your webinars should be 80% amazing free content and 20% pitch. For a 60 minute webinar, that means 50 minutes of mind-blowing value and 10 minutes talking about your paid stuff.
Here are some signs that your webinar wasn't up to snuff:
- no one bought whatever you pitched at the end
- there weren't any comments in the discussion area
- you didn't get any emails after asking questions
- a lot of people who subscribed to your email list via the webinar sign up unsubscribe within the next few days or weeks
Just because you ran one webinar that wasn't very successful doesn't mean that you can't do it again, but better!
Nothing is set in stone. Don't be afraid to change the title, add some new slides, or delete some others. Change slides that have a lot of writing into ones with pictures. Add in more stories.
Just don't run the same webinar again and expect different results. That's the definition of insanity.
9. Find people to do a joint venture webinar with
Maybe you're already doing some webinars, and you're getting great feedback. You're booking new clients or selling your online course from every single one that you run. However, you want to reach more people quickly (who wouldn't!), so how do you do that?
Approach other people with a similar audience full of your ideal clients but no competing product or service, and pitch them on a joint venture webinar.
What this means is that they email their newsletter list sharing that they're running a webinar with you on whatever topic you're an expert in. Since they know their audience, they'll know in advance that their list will love what you're teaching.
At the end of your webinar (that you already know rocks because you've done it before and it worked), you pitch your paid program or services. For most joint venture webinars, you will give the host a percentage of the sales, usually around 40-60%. You can decide with the host whether the people who attended the webinar should be added to your own email list or not.
This is a fantastic way to grow your email list and sales quickly by teaming up with like-minded people, especially if you have an online program that is just sitting on your website not doing much.
So there you have it, 9 things you can do to build your business when it's slow.
The best part about this list is that you can reap the benefits for years to come!
Got your social media all scheduled? Now you only need to spend 2 hours a month to tweak it (instead of the 10 hours a week you've been spending with little or no results).
Did you have an amazing webinar that resulted in sales? Turn it into a content upgrade on one of your blog posts, and watch people continue to buy your programs or services on a daily or weekly basis without you even trying.
The worst part about this list? Your business will start growing faster than you can probably handle, and times when you're not busy will happen less and less #goodproblemtohave. That's why it's important that these systems be sustainable ... because you'll never again find yourself saying "it's just busy this time of the year".
I wanna know: what is one thing on the list above that you're excited about doing? If you're not busy, go and do it now!