What to do while waiting for the next job to come in

We all have those busy days, weeks, or months when we feel like we’re drowning. There’s just so much to do, but no time to do it. You know you should be working on your business, but you’re too frantic working in the business. You know, trying to complete projects by their deadlines and keep those clients happy!

And then there’s a lull. That scary, somewhat tortuous period where projects are being tied up, the phone stops ringing, and orders and emails stop coming in.

What do you do when business goes quiet?

You probably know you should be using this time to finally work on your business, but find yourself too stressed wondering when the next job will come in. So your mind goes completely blank. And you end up losing yourself in a never-ending scroll on Facebook.

Sound familiar? You’re not alone. So I collected 7 great tips* to keep you focused when business goes quiet.

1. Touch base with past and potential clients

Why not send some friendly emails to clients you’ve worked with in the past and haven’t heard from in a while? Make sure each email is personalised and based on their business or previous conversations, rather than something generic. Depending on the relationship, you might want to just say ‘hello’ to remind them of your existence or provide a special offer to push things along.

It’s also a great opportunity to touch base with interesting dead leads or ghost proposals. Don’t automatically assume they’ve gone ahead with a competitor (unless they told you they have!). They might still be in the research process or their original project fell through. Doesn’t hurt to say ‘hi’! You never know what might come out of it.

2. Build a stockpile of blogs

Now is the time to start writing those blogs you’ve been putting off! Smash out a couple in a day and you’re sorted for the next month. You can just schedule them in and forget about it. Well, you should remember to share them across your social network when they go live – so don’t completely forget! Set yourself a reminder on the scheduled date so you can take further action then.

Alternatively, you can start planning your blogs for the next 12 months. Remember, blogging does amazing things for your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and will help to bring new business in. Not sure what to write about? You can find some blog topic tips here.

There is another option. Use this quiet time to brief a copywriter, like me;  and outsource your blogs. They can then write high-quality blogs while you focus on everything else – areas that you’re stronger and more confident in.

3. Continue learning

When you’re busy, you probably shove your own personal and business development to the side. You’ll get to it later, right? Well, this quiet period at work is your ‘later’! It’s time to increase your knowledge. Do some research about the latest industry trends, download a couple of e-books (or buy some good ol’ paperbacks) that challenge your mindset, and re-visit notes from workshops, conferences, or courses.

Now is the time to grow. You’ll probably pick up some fresh, new ideas for the business as well! Win-win!

4. Catch up on your admin

Yes, the administration side of things can be boring – but so very important! How’s your tax return from last financial year looking? Are you up-to-date with your expense tracking and invoicing? If you have any outstanding invoices, now is your opportunity to chase them up!

Like me, you might have a cluttered inbox that needs attention. Are there any 10-day challenges you never actioned? Links to articles you never read? Or does your inbox just need a major sort out?

You can also use this quiet period to re-assess your systems and processes. Do any forms need updating? Is it time to embrace a new CRM?

5. Update your website’s SEO

A business owner’s SEO job is never done. Google is constantly changing its algorithm, so you need to keep on top of your website’s Search Engine Optimisation to keep that magic happening!

See Point 2 above about blogging. You can also revisit your web pages to update outdated content or flesh them out based on what your potential customers are searching for. But it’s important to always write for the person first and Google second.

6. Set goals for the year ahead

It’s goal setting time! Have a think about what’s gone right over the past year. What needs further improvement? Where do you want to be in the next 12 months or three, five, or 10 years? Think big picture and work backwards. Give yourself smaller tasks that build up to your ultimate goal.

For example, do you want to run a workshop? Consider all of the actions necessary to get it off the ground, then map those out in the weeks and months prior to the event.

From a marketing perspective, make sure you have a clear idea of who your ideal clients are and create the ‘perfect client persona’. What keeps him/her up at night? How can your service or product solve their problem? And where do they hang out? LinkedIn? Facebook? Instagram? Or are they likely to be reading the local paper? With this in mind, you can use this downtime to put together a new marketing strategy for the months ahead.

7. Give yourself a break

If you’ve been working hard lately and you’re experiencing some quiet time on the business front, then maybe it’s time to sit down and relax! Chill out in front of Netflix or take yourself to a much-deserved movie. Go get that massage or facial. Or take yourself on a big walk in the fresh air.

Because you know what? Your phone might ring with a massive order or project this afternoon and you’ll be busy again before you know it. So treasure this time and use it to rejuvenate and refocus.

You’ve got this!

How do you spend your business downtime? Feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear about it!

*Thanks to my copywriting peeps for the ideas!