22 Ways To Be Efficient When Business Is Quiet
I'm incredibly excited to bring you this list of ways to be efficient when your online business is quiet because it showcases all the things I've learned by trial-and-error, experimentation, and just plain ol' failure. When our business email is full of tumbleweeds rather than exploding with opportunities, no one seems to be reading the blog posts we spent hours (or even days!) perfecting, and it feels like we're talking to ourselves on social media, it can be a real struggle to stay motivated. The last couple months have been fairly quiet for me and I couldn't understand why! It was utterly demoralizing and I considered quitting more times than I'd like to admit.
But, I didn't, and you shouldn't either, fellow online entrepreneur! A lull in your business is not only inevitable, but can be a tremendous gift because it provides you with the time and space to work on "little" things that will come together to make a big impact when completed. Further, and perhaps most importantly, pushing forward in the face of adversity cultivates perseverance, which is something you'll definitely need as you progress in your business.
Once I figured this out, I stopped fighting the quiet moments, opting instead to roll up my sleeves and get to work.
For Your Blog/Online Business
1. Take a class that will help you develop a new skill or sharpen knowledge you already have
I cannot stress how important it is to invest in yourself when it comes to your business. I know times are incredibly tight for many of us—myself, included!—but when you sacrifice time and money in the quest to improve, it removes any and all excuses to be mediocre. I was nervous every single time I charged my credit card, but I know I made the right choice by taking classes like Regina Anaejionu's Visual Arsenal course and the Photoshop and DSLR Bundle by A Beautiful Mess because they've made me a better creator.
Strapped for cash? I completely understand. Here's a list of free resources, too.
2. Open to incorporating paid posts on your blog? Join a blogger network.
Here's a list of over 40 networks. Apply to the ones that best fit your brand and read this guide for tips on creating sponsored content readers will love.
3. Refresh relevant older content
Make it new again by adding Pinterest-worthy graphics, high-quality photos, Click-to-tweet links, etc.
4. Got an idea that doesn't quite fit in your niche? Pitch it to another site!
There have been so many times when I've been inspired to write about something completely unrelated to my blog, and instead of pitching it, I scrapped it. Don't make that mistake! BlogHer, Scary Mommy, and others regularly accept—and pay for—original content. And if people like your story, they may want to know more about you, so don't forget to link to your website and social media accounts.
5. Share a personal story or meaningful anecdote so readers can see a different side of you.
I loved the vulnerability and honesty of this post by Erika Madden of Olyvia.co! She opened up about the reality of being a successful businesswoman, yet also spoke to the very real fears so many entrepreneurs have. If your audience sees you as somewhat stoic, maybe show your goofy side. If that's too intimate for your brand/business, consider sharing a behind-the-scenes peek into how/where you work. The important thing is to let customers into your world a little bit so they can emotionally connect with the human behind the brand.
6. Dive into a platform that's new to you
You'll challenge yourself and pick up some new audience members along the way. For example, I'm a big fan of Periscope for both viewing and posting! I've learned a lot from the outstanding people I follow. I've heard great things about Facebook Live, Blab, and Snapchat, too.
7. Want to update your blog, but don't have the budget to pay a designer? Consider migrating to Squarespace!
I'd been wanting to move my blog to Wordpress for years, but was too scared to attempt to do it myself. It just seemed like too big a leap, and I couldn't bear the thought of possibly losing my content! Then, I discovered Squarespace and it was like the heavens parted and angels sang! It's a cost-effective platform that has allowed me to have a beautiful website without extensive coding knowledge. I mean, yeah, there was a bit of learning curve when I moved from Blogger, but ultimately, I was able to do it on my own and for very little money. It's the perfect platform for me!
Bonus: They just added a bunch of new templates! Still nervous? Don't be! Check out my 13 tips for moving from Blogger to Squarespace here.
8. Send readers a survey (or ask them directly) About what they'd most like to see on your blog.
Their answers may open up a new world of ideas for you! If that feels uncomfortable, you could also examine your analytics for more insight about what's resonating.
9. Get or create an editorial calendar to stay organized and efficient.
I recently realized my lack of organization was not only holding my business back but straining my relationships with family; I was literally losing on all fronts! Fresh out of excuses, I bought myself a planner and started researching the best ways to create an editorial calendar. If you're a pen-and-paper person like me, check out the Slay Your Day Planner by Mattie James. More of a minimalist? This tutorial from ChloeSocial shows you how to create a digital version.
Once you find the right format, start blocking out time for brainstorming ideas, writing content, creating images, pitching brands, sending/responding to emails, and promoting your content.
10. Reach out to a favorite brand and let them know how much you love their product(s).
Many companies will respond by sharing your content on their social media platforms, thereby giving your traffic a boost. For example, I tagged the Whole30 in a post on Facebook and was rewarded with about 15,000 unique visitors to my website! How cool is that?!
11. Inject some personality into your Twitter bio!
Fire + Wind Co. gives great tips here on having a fun, yet professional profile.
12. Tweak your About Me page.
It's so easy to forget this step, especially when there are so many other pressing business matters to attend to, but you'd be amazed at how many people actually do want to know more about you. Again, it's that human need to connect with the person behind the professional website and amazing content. Use this killer post by Caitlin Bacher to get you started.
13. Upgrade your business email address
This seemed like such a minor issue until Mailchimp made me aware of the DMARC restrictions. Basically, it says filters are becoming more strict in order to combat spam, and targeting unrecognized email addresses that use free services like Gmail, Yahoo, etc. I procrastinated, but I finally got around to it (last week). Turns out, my account with GoDaddy actually included a branded email address. *facepalm* Long story short, changing my business email address from email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org makes me look more professional and ensures my messages won't disappear into the ether. If you use Mailchimp, use this guide to verify your domain, the first step toward getting a branded email address.
14. Promote others on your social media platforms
You're not the only creating useful content, right? Sharing value online not only breaks up your own promotional campaign(s), but positions you as a resource. Also, it's just good karma.
18. Get active
Move your body in whatever way makes you feel best. Hiking is one of my favorite ways to reconnect with myself, my family, and nature.
19. Eat right for you
Every body is different, so eat what makes your body happy! For me, that means a Whole30 lifestyle. I've lost weight, sleep better, and have more energy! I shared more thoughts and results in this video.
20. Find your tribe
As an introvert, it's difficult for me to assert myself in person, but I vowed to find support and engagement online. Discovering like-minded folks in groups like Courage to Earn has not only improved my blog, but also my mind and heart. I highly encourage reaching out because there is a place for you.
21. Check in with yourself emotionally
Have you been feeling down? Set aside time to figure out what's going on. I know it may seem tedious, but caring for your mental health is a vital component of success. Not sure where to start? Watch this video!
22. Create A Vision Board
I know this seems cliche´, but I wanted to include it here, anyway. Set aside time to quietly picture what you want, not only for your business, but your life. Where do you want to go? How do you want to feel? Who do you want to share this experience with? Really get specific, here. So often, folks simply want some vague idea of "success" but have no idea what that really means to them. Your vision for the future most likely differs from mine, your parents, your friends, etc. This is why it's important to figure out exactly what matters to you. Don't waste time pursuing someone else's dream! If you need help getting started, read this post on how to create your own Prosperity Picture.
Made it through this list and ready for more? Here's 40 more tasks to complete, courtesy of byRegina.com, you overachiever, you.
Have some tips of your own to share? I'd love to read 'em so leave a comment below!