15 Things To Do When Work Gets a Bit Too Quiet
Whether things are a bit quiet on the work or orders front or you’re suffering the fallout of Coronavirus, here are some ideas to help when work is a little… slow.
Maybe you’ve had a job cancelled or some work pushed back, maybe due to the virus scare companies are holding off on hiring. Whatever the circumstance, it can all feel a little tense.
Actually it just makes you want to curl up in a ball and do nothing. That might be just what you need, but also, if you want to do something productive, here are some ideas as this might also be a good time to work proactively on your business or on tasks that will grow your business.
There are some great posts around with advice for getting stuff sorted if virus related, do a bit of planning to give yourself the best chance.
Here are some great specific resources…
Eight things to consider if you’re freelance and worried about coronavirus – from Leapers, this one has some great tips to help you stay calm and make some plans.
Coronavirus / COVID-19 planning – This article from Work Notes talks about all sorts including working from home, contingency planning and insurance.
Eight Things Social Media Managers Should Do About Coronavirus – A handy one for social media managers to go through – from The Social Hub
This post is going to talk about what to do when you’re at the point when things have quietened down and what you can do next.
PART A – Looking after yourself and your business
1) Assess how urgent your income situation is
Although there may be support for the self-employed, depending on where you live, it makes sense to look at your household earnings and savings to check if you’d be able to go a few weeks to a few months if you didn’t bring in a whole lot of money, or if you or your family fell sick.
If it came down to it, what would you need each month to just get by? Work that out so you have that number so you can keep an eye on it.
Whether you need a quick cash injection or you’ll be OK for a few months is probably going to make a difference to what you do. If it’s the former, then points 3 & 4 will help, if it’s the latter, then try some of the practical tips in the practical tasks section further down.
2) Is this actually what you want to do?
Now might be a great time to assess if this business is something you love. Maybe the answer is actually no, and an opportunity to explore something you do really love. Do some journalling and work out some other ideas. What are your strengths, skills, values. What else could you explore.
If the answer is YES I love it, but it’s a bit quiet eek, then hold on! Now might be the time to take on that project you wouldn’t normally (see next point) or the time to do stuff for your business that will help it to grow and set you up for the long-term.
If this is your dream, don’t give up.
3) Take on other work
Is this the time to take work you wouldn’t otherwise take? I’m all about attracting clients you really love to work with, but needs must. If you’re struggling, now might be the time to take on that job you wouldn’t normally take on, but they’re ready to book.
If you take on work you wouldn’t normally, just don’t let it mean something it doesn’t. That’s not it now, you won’t only take on work you don’t love from now on.
Maybe it’s taking on that website project even though you’re not *really* doing websites anymore. Keep things ticking over, and when things even out again, phase those things out again.
4) Repackage your products and offerings
Look at how you could repackage your current offerings into easily digestible online downloads or courses, or have flash sales to bring in some monies. This could be a wake up call to you that you need to diversify your offering. If that feels hard, here are a few ideas, whether you’re a product business or service business:
– Do you have downloadable templates that could sit alongside your products?
– Could you run a flash sale on some products?
– Could you offer a call for other product businesses who are just starting up?
– Do you have seconds or leftover stock you could bundle up and run a sale?
– This might be harder, but have a think, is there anything you could offer online?
– Could you offer consultation calls to other business owners who need help with something specific.
– Could you stream events over webinar tools instead?
– Could you turn a workshop into a course?
– Could live workshops can be conducted via Zoom instead.
– Have you got course material that you could repackage into mini courses?
– Could you create some handy downloads that can guide your customer through a specific problem?
– Have a think about other products, downloads or new ways to package up your services that might be a lower cost entry point than you currently have available.
5) Find friends & communities
Find communities you can connect with, you might find lots of people are going through similar problems to you, and it can make you feel less alone. Buddy up if you can, perhaps you can be a listening ear or brainstorm ideas together.
Some of my faves are:
6) Relax and de-stress if you need to
Now could be a good time to really work on growing your business BUT you might be feeling worried and overwhelmed. Take some time away from social media, away from the news and be with yourself, your family, doing things you enjoy, reading, knitting, maybe you love to draw but never do anymore. Do something that feels light and fun, and enjoy spending that time to yourself to relax. When we have breaks we think more clearly too.
PART B – Practical business tasks to spend your time on and move you forward
1) Update your website
You’ve been meaning to do it for ageeees, now is the time pal. Do you need to update your home page, add new photos, make it clearer what you offer, make it faster, update your SEO?
You could create a Trello board or list to work through it systematically.
2) Work on that business project you never have time for or repackage something.
What’s that thing you keep saying you’ll launch and don’t get round to? The downtime is a great time to work on other stuff that could grow your business. We often get stuck in maintaining our business, and end up pushing those projects that will help grow our business to the side. That course you want to launch, repackaging your offers. Take one of the ideas in the section above to repackage what you do, and get it out there into the world.
3) Complete that course you paid for 🙈
The one that you started but then got distracted by LIFE, well, now you have the spare time, dive back in and commit yourself to it so that you can really make the most of it and make some changes in your business if you need to.
4) Get a marketing plan together
Work out a plan to get in front of your audience now and in the future, grab this Marketing Channel Planner in the resources section. It’ll help you to work out a plan of action for immediate sales, nurturing your audience and long-term plans, and you can complete it in 30 minutes or less.
5) Prep content, stay visible
Get out in front of your customers to stay front of mind, so that they know you’re open for business when they’re ready to invest. Schedule a bunch of content in Later, Buffer, CoSchedule, whatever you use to get your content prepped.
Have a long list of blog posts you’ve been meaning to write? You know what to do.
6) Catch up on admin
Perhaps the most boring idea, but you’re not going to want to do it when you’re busy so if you have those tasks you don’t love but have to do, try them with a glass of something, and a good playlist! Think email organising, folder organising, taxes, bookkeeping, receipt filing. Any of those things that you just don’t love doing but are pretty essential for your business.
7) Prep for busier periods
If you know you’ve got a busier time coming up, is there anything you can do to prep for when you’re going to be super busy again. Think Christmas for product businesses. Get packaging prepped, get pre-made products made up, get your social media campaigns prepped in advance.
8) Do something creative
Creativity can improve our health! If stress and worry is stopping you from making any progress, take a break and do something creative for your business that you wouldn’t normally do.
Maybe you experiment with something totally different than what you’d usually do.
9) Get organised
Been meaning to set up systems for ages? Start getting set up. You could try Asana or Trello or look at another online tool. You could also try a bullet journal if you’re an analog person. What other systems could you set up? Have you been meaning to set up your Calendly, or move your email list, or investigate social media scheduling tools? Have a think about what would make your life easier now and in the future.
10) Connect with your audience, do they need support too?
More specific to the virus outbreak situation but your audience might be feeling the same as you, are there ways you could connect with them or make their life easier? We’re in this together, so have a think about what you could do to make them feel at ease. Nothing everything should be an opportunity for growth, it can be a chance to just make personal connections as humans.
You don’t have to always be productive, but if you want to be, perhaps to distract yourself more than anything else, try some of those.
If you want some company come over to The Brand Un-Muddlers Facebook group.