Many freelancers get apprehensive as the warmer season approaches. Clients and prospects break for summer vacation, and the once-steady flow of work tends to dwindle.
But it’s a double-sided coin; if you’re someone who works a full-time job and hustles on the side, this summer lull is in fact, a boon. Your full-time job may slow down during this time, which provides the perfect opportunity to zero-in on your side-hustle.
Whether you’re just starting out or have been hustling for a while, here are a few tips for getting ahead on your business this summer.
1. Find New Clients
Perhaps the most obvious play is to focus on landing new clients. Just because business tends to slow down doesn’t mean it stops altogether. There are still plenty of opportunities to be had if you keep looking.
Remember too that pitching is, in part, a numbers game. The more prospecting you do, the greater the chance that someone will hire you. While it’s important to use summer vacation for R&R, there’s no harm in using one or two vacation days (or any other additional time you may get during the summer) to dedicate to pitching.
2. Up-Sell to Existing Clients
Perhaps work slows down with one of your clients because that particular project has wrapped up for the summer. But that doesn’t mean they can’t use help with something else. For example, if you’re a virtual assistant who offers email management services but your clients’ emails typically die down until fall, let your clients know you can also help manage their blog or social media.
Sometimes a client won’t ask you to do something simply because they don’t realize it’s something you can do. It doesn’t hurt to let your clients know everything you have to offer now and again to see who takes you up on your offer!
3. Devote More Time to Networking and Outreach
Networking is so vital to growing any business, yet it’s something that often gets pushed to the wayside – especially for some of us more introverted side-hustlers! When there’s a lull in business, it’s time to double down on your networking and outreach efforts.
The key to networking is to make connections for visibility and staying top of mind. Potential clients may not have any work to offer you now, but you’re letting them know who you are and what you do so that they know exactly who to come to when September rolls around!
Related Content: The Dos and Don’ts of Networking During Summer Months
4. Learn a New Skill
Summertime is the perfect opportunity to beef up your sellable skills. Even if you’re a pro at what you do, there is always more to learn! Invest in a course that you don’t normally have time to do during the rest of the year and spend a week or two going through it with intention.
If you offer Pinterest management services, for example, there are a lot of online courses that can show you how to design more appealing looking pins.
Or perhaps you could benefit from digging into SEO. (Pretty much anyone with a website can and should get into SEO!) Or you could learn a new program that would make you more efficient in your business.
5. Audit Your Brand and Offerings
Last, slower summer months grant you a rare opportunity to audit your brand. When was the last time you updated your website copy? What about your homepage? Does your website still convey the message you want it to?
Are there any housekeeping matters that have needed attending for months, but you just brushed aside due to more pressing matters?
More likely than not, there is something about your website or brand that could use a facelift.
What about your services or products? Is there something new you could roll out to keep your business growing? Or is there is something you currently offer that isn’t giving you the best return on your time? It could be time to pivot some of your offerings to keep your side-hustle growing.
6. Streamline Your Processes
Chances are, you know there’s a better way to do certain things, but you just haven’t gotten around to investing in the projects that require more time upfront but yield dividends in time saved. For example, if you find you’re sending out the same emails over and over, you could invest some time into creating email templates or organizing your inbox folders.
Although you may be focused more on saving money rather than spending it, now might be a good time to outsource certain tasks and hire a VA. Think about it: Is it easier to train someone new on your business when it’s slow or when you’re so busy you barely have time to do the work?
7. Get Some R&R
It sounds counterintuitive, but taking a break from your side-hustle might be precisely what you need. We entrepreneurial types often have a hard time putting on the breaks, but not taking time to rest and recharge our batteries will result in burnout.
And burnout isn’t a joke. It can afflict both your mental and physical well-being, which negatively impacts both your life and your business efforts.
So if nothing else, use this time to recharge your batteries so that when business picks up again, you’re ready to tackle it with fresh motivation and gusto!
Keep in mind that you don’t need to do all of these things to power-up your side-hustle. On the contrary, you might find it more effective to devote your extra time to just one or two of the ideas that make the most sense for where you currently are in your business.
Instead of viewing the summer as a season where your business stalls out, see it as an opportunity for reflection on the best direction for your side-hustle. Whether you want to keep it as a side hustle or grow it to replace your full-time income, downtime can be your best friend in helping you achieve your goals
Corrie Alexander is a content creator and logistics nerd from Toronto, Ontario. Her climb up the corporate ladder cultivated her interest in the topic of career development, a passion rivaled only by her love of exercise and strong coffee. Visit her website, thefitcareerist.com.