I don’t know about you, but January tends to be a slower month for me in my product based business -- many people are recovering from the holidays and don’t have a ton of extra cash to spend. As a result, my sales significantly drop for the first few weeks of the new year. While this may seem discouraging, it’s a pattern that I’ve noticed in one of my online businesses, and through talking with some other entrepreneurs, it seems some other people experience this beginning-of-the-year lull.
Slow seasons don’t mean everything stops, though -- there are several things that can be done to still be productive even if sales aren’t coming in as usual. This month I’ve hit pause to do some re-branding and take care of some of the tasks that typically get bumped to the bottom of my to-do list during the busier months. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are a few things I focus on when business is slower than usual:
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When I say content creation, I really mean a variety of things. Content creation can come in the form of product photography, curating and scheduling social media posts, adding blog posts to your website, and everything in between.
When things are busy, I don’t have as much time to take photos and manage my business’ social media as often as I’d like. During slower weeks or months, I like to round up some solid photos, edit them and then schedule them to upload to social media. My favorite tool to schedule social media posts (specifically for Instagram), is Tailwind. I’ve talked about Tailwind before as a helpful tool to use in conjunction with Pinterest, but it’s really incredible for Instagram too. They’ll determine the most optimal times for your posts to publish to your feed (which go up automatically without you having to do any verifying), and their hashtag feature really takes everything to the next level to help you reach more people in your target market. It’s super easy to navigate and you can essentially schedule out several WEEKS worth of content in a few hours, saving yourself tons of time in the long run. If you want to check out Tailwind for yourself, you can sign up here or read more about it in this post.
Nurturing Your Email List
Who else gets overwhelmed with email lists!? I feel ya. While I fully recognize and often preach about the importance of establishing a solid email list, it’s something I struggle to keep up with when things get super hectic. Slow seasons are the perfect time to get your email marketing under control and set up some solid automated campaigns so things can run on autopilot behind the scenes.
In the past, I’ve used MailChimp for all of my email marketing but after doing some serious reflecting and research, I’m finally making the switch to ConvertKit. MailChimp has served me well the last couple of years, but I’m ready to take my email marketing to the next level (and in a new direction), and know ConvertKit can help me do that. A huge part of me wishes I would’ve started with ConverKit in the first place (more on this later), but I’m looking forward to making the switch and sharing more details about my ConvertKit experience with all of you so you can make the best choice for your business. If you want to give ConvertKit a try and see what the buzz is about, you can sign up here.
Diving into Pinterest
I will never get tired of talking about Pinterest. In the last several months I’ve done so much research on how you can leverage Pinterest to massively increase website traffic (whether you’re a business owner or a blogger), and I’ve had so much fun experimenting, growing, and learning. I know you might have some questions like, HOW does this work!? But I promise you there’s something coming soon that is going to help you learn exactly how you can increase your website traffic with Pinterest. To spare you some lengthy details, there are a few posts you can browse to find out more information:
Related Posts: How + Why to Set Up a Pinterest Business Account | How I Tripled My Traffic in One Month | How to Grow Your Brand + Drive Traffic to Your Website | 5 Mistakes You’re Making With Pinterest
When business is slow, it’s the perfect time to ramp up your Pinterest game. Take some time to make sure your business account is set up, create some branded graphics in Canva, and start scheduling your content via Tailwind. Pinners are coming to shop, so it’s important you’re spending some time building up your Pinterest skills and content when business is slower than usual.
For as long as I can remember, my Dad has always stressed the importance of networking. Wherever he goes, my Dad is always striking up conversations with strangers, building meaningful connections, and networking the hell out of any situation. As a business owner, you have to put yourself (and your brand) out there. To be honest, I let a lot of fear hold me back from marketing my bath and body brand. You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable to grow your business. Slow days are the perfect time to network your brand, whether that involves reaching out to potential stockists, clients, or customers; organizing collaborations with influencers or other brand owners; setting up meetings with individuals who can help you grow your brand; or looking for local events to attend and network at. Get on google and social media and see who you can start reaching out to.
In my opinion, filing taxes as a small business owner can be insanely stressful if you don’t have some sort of system in place. The first year I had to file taxes as a business owner, I kept all of my receipts thrown in several different boxes, and had even more electronically stored in emails or PDFs. When tax season came around I was stressed beyond belief -- I had piles of receipts to sift through, electronic receipts I had to find, and numbers I had to crunch and then put into specific categories. I was literally in tears just a couple days before the deadline because I procrastinated and underestimated how long it would take me to organize my expenses and file my taxes.
I’m no expert, but from my personal experience I highly recommend getting yourself as organized as possible, long before tax season rolls around. Once you’re organized, you can get a jump start on filing and start the process ahead of the game. I know for many of us, the thought of tax prep can feel rather overwhelming and almost unbearable, but setting some time aside on a slow day to get organized can make a massive difference in the long run.
There are so many facets to running a business and if you’re not outsourcing any aspects of your to-do list, everything falls on your shoulders. This is why spending your slow days, weeks or months creating and scheduling content, or taking care of all the other tasks that typically fall to the bottom of your to-do list is so incredibly helpful. Do you experience a slow season? What do you focus on when things are slower than usual?