6 Ways to Find Work When Business is Slow

By MBO Partners | October 24, 2023


Key Points

Even when business is slow during the holiday season, there are many opportunities to find new work.

Trying a new marketing strategy can introduce your services to a different audience.

Expanding your social media presence, asking for a referral, offering discounted services, or teaming up with another independent are all great ways to find work during a slow time.

As the holiday season approaches, it’s common to find business slowing down. Many clients will take time off for the holidays and prospective clients may not want to start a project until the new year. But it’s important to keep in mind that other businesses may have budgets that need to be spent by the end of the year. If you play your cards right, you may be able to land some new work. Here are six ways to find work when business is slow.

1. Try a New Marketing Strategy

There are so many different types of marketing strategies you can use to sell your services as a small business. if you’ve been doing the same things year in and year out, it might be time to try something new.

If you don’t have a professional website yet, now is the time to make it happen. A website can be a crucial launching point for your business. It boosts your credibility and makes it much easier for prospective clients to find you and learn about the services you offer. If you already have a website, consider how you might make it better. Adding content to your site in the form of a blog, for example, can help drive traffic and engage your target audience. Or, you might consider starting a subscription-based newsletter to help build an email list of leads.

Another marketing approach to try is producing video content. You can create short videos that answer frequently asked questions, offer advice, or interview an expert in your industry. Videos don’t have to be a big lift. Most smartphones today have great video capabilities, and you can edit videos right on your phone with low-cost apps. Share your videos on social media or on your website.

Offline marketing can also be a valuable pursuit. Attend a local conference, promotional event, or networking group where you can meet new people and talk about your business. Or make an effort to get involved in your local community by hosting a class or workshop, volunteering your services, or writing a shot column for a local paper. Getting your name out there, no matter how you do it, will help boost your credibility and recognition.

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2. Expand Your Social Media Presence

There’s always more to explore when it comes to social media. If you’ve stuck to one social media channel for your business, now might be a good time to explore some new ones. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at where your target audience spends their time. Or, investigate what channels your competitors are active on.

From there, take a look at what type of content or posts are popular. Are they more image-based with longer form captions, or is video more popular? Once you’re ready to give a new channel a try, take some time to think about your strategy. Line up a few posts ahead of time and once you see how things are going, don’t be afraid to iterate or change your strategy.

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3. Reach Out to Past Clients for a Referral

Referrals can be a great source of new work. to get a referral, reach out to clients you. have a good relationship with by sending a personalized email or giving them a call. Ask how they are doing, talk a bit about the last project. You completed for them, and then ask if they area in need of any new work or if they know another client who might be.

Asking friends who work in your industry if they know anyone who is looking for someone to fill a project-based role can be another way to get leads. Or, if you have contacts who are also self-employed you might consider teaming up with them on a project if they need help. They might work in the same industry as you, enabling you to take on aa bigger project, or if you work in two different industries you might pair up to present a client a more comprehensive offering.

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4. Take on a Side Project

If business is slow and you’re in a position to take a short break from a steady stream of work, now can be the right time to take on a side project. There’s so much involved in running a small business that it can be easy to overlook some important tasks. Check in with administrative or support tasks that may have gone overlooked in the past few months. Make sure that paperwork, expense tracking, billing, and tax filing are all set and up to date. Shoring up finances at the end of the year is a helpful practice that can set your business up for success moving forward.

The holidays can also be a great time of year to give back to your community if you have some downtime. Look for events or organizations that need volunteers, offer your time or expertise to non-profits or causes that you are passionate about, or create a free class or workshop to help people build skills related to your industry.

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5. Offer Discounted Services

Offering a discount on your services is not something you want to do regularly, but at a slow time of the year it can be just the thing to give your bottom line a boost. One way to offer a discount, especially during the holiday season, is to tie it to a specific campaign tied to that time of the year. This way, your discount has a specific start or end date to help generate a use-it-or-lose-it mentality among perspective clients. promote your campaign on social platforms, among your current clients, or through local media to help get the word out.

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6. Learn a New Skill

Learning something new when business is slow has the advantage of adding value to your future service offerings while actually having the time to dedicate to learning. If you don’t have something particular in mind that you’d like to learn, take a look at what competitors in your industry are offering. Is there a particular skill or certification that clients find valuable?

Once you’ve decided on what you want to pursue, take a look at different learning options. Online courses tend to be affordable and flexible. Compare vendor taught classes, traditional universities, and training institutions. If your learning goal is more general, check out educational webinars, in-person workshops, or seminars. If you are looking to pursue a specific certification, just remember that these programs typically require a more intensive time and financial obligation. But, they can help boost your credibility and add an important line to your resume.

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