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Running your own business can be so great up until you realize you have no new client work coming in. Then, it can be overwhelming stressful when you’re trying to figure out what to do next. As a full time business owner, I know exactly how worrisome it can be when your income has dried up. Running a business has many ups-and-downs so I’m here to help you with some tips on what to do when you have no client work, or things to do before reaching that point!
What to Do When You Have No Client Work
1. Reach out to past clients
This is honestly the one thing that I stayed away from doing the longest, but it turns out, it was the most productive thing to do when new client work was at an all time low. For this to really work, be sure to contact clients who you have an amazing relationship with and those who really appreciate the work you do. Instead of straight up asking your previous client if they need any more work done, go to them with a list of tasks you can perform for them with an explanation of why it would benefit them at this time. Sending them a proposal with tasks and a rate in place makes it easier for them to say, “You know what, I think I do need that. Let’s go for it!” Rather than having them rack their brain on if they need anything new done or not.
• Related Reading: How To Be More Productive When You Work From Home
2. Search + contact new leads for at least 1 hour per day
While you wait on the responses from your previous clients, be proactive and go search for new leads yourself instead of waiting for them to fall into your lap. I know, we all want clients to come to us first, but it can take months to years to build up credibility for this to happen on a regular basis. To make sure you’re getting your name out there to multiple prospective clients, I highly recommend actively searching for work for at least one hour per day. I use freelancer platforms like Upwork to apply to projects, I connect with business owners in Facebook Groups, and at times, I even peruse Craigslist for gigs in my area of expertise.
• Related Reading: How to Skyrocket Your Business’ Growth with Facebook Groups
3. Promote passive income products
If you’re providing services to your clients, I’m sure you have a list of all of the amazing tools you highly recommend using and why you prefer them to others. Be sure to sign up for the affiliate programs that your preferred tools offer so that when you recommend them to others, you’re actually getting paid for promoting them! Every day on Facebook I see business owners asking questions about the best tools / resources to help run their businesses and I’ll always pop an affiliate link in my answer (if the group allows it.)
Pro Tip: ShareASale is an awesome Affiliate Platform that partners with thousands of top companies in their affiliate program in categories from fashion, education, health, and so much more. This is likely the top program you will be using when promoting products and resources to your audience, I highly recommend joining them!
But, not only am I promoting my affiliate products, I’m also promoting my own products that I’ve created. Last month alone (March 2019), I made a passive $300 from promoting affiliate products, my own digital products, and my own physical products. After these products are created, the only work I need to do is promote them so whenever I make a sale, my work is automatically completed and I get paid. Passive income streams are great for extra cash, especially if you have no new work coming in.
4. Create new free / paid content
If you’re still finding yourself with a lot of free time on your hands, try to stay positive and create even more valuable content for your audience. As a business owner, I’m sure you have a lot of insight and ideas in your area of expertise. Share that knowledge with others in the form of free content like a blog post, video, or even a free download. Not only will this continue positioning yourself as an expert, but it will also help bring more people onto your email list.
With more valuable + extensive content, you can even create paid content like digital downloads or courses. (Which turns into even more passive income!) When business is slow for myself, I like to create Digital Workbooks and offer my subscribers an irresistible deal to increase conversions.
5. Paid advertisement
If you’re still struggling to find new leads, don’t be afraid to invest in your business with paid advertisement or hiring someone to assist you in lead generation. I know it’s hard to justify spending more in your business when you’re making less. But, with the right platform, targeting, and content, you can really increase your passive sales or book out your schedule. Once you have a great ad in place, it can work just like a faucet that you turn on when you need more work, and turn off when you’re fully booked.
6. Better your skills
With more time on your hands, you can choose to see it as a blessing in disguise because you now have more time to better your skills or learn new things that you didn’t have the time to learn before. It doesn’t always have to be something that will benefit your business like setting up a WordPress website, but maybe something that you’d love to learn as a hobby like Watercolor Painting. Whatever you choose to learn make sure you’re not too hard on yourself, be patient, and have fun!
• Related Reading: How to Get Organized and Create an Effective Client Workflow
7. Find your support team
If it’s been quite a while and you’re still not seeing results or new client work coming in, it’s best to find your support team who can keep your mindset positive, offer advice, and maybe even help you find new leads. When I was having a hard time finding work, I vented to my group the Online Business Collective about my troubles. In just a few hours my business buddies were offering words of wisdom, referring me to others, and even hiring me for work! My family and friends were also helping me find leads which panned out to new clients as well!
Building / finding a community can help so much in terms of mindset and finding more work. I am so grateful to have built such a positive team of people who support me + my business that I can rely on when times get tough!
8. Take some time for yourself
Even with the right support team, it can be hard to keep your mindset positive. Depression is a huge issue that many business owners deal with (including myself!) and constantly chasing new leads + creating new content, yet still not seeing results can really take a lot out of you. If you feel like nothing is working and you want to give up, it’s time to take a break and clear your mind. It can be as easy as taking a few days off to binge-watch the newest Netflix series, or taking more time off and going on a small trip to really get away from it all.
Whatever you decide to do, give yourself time to really separate yourself from the negativity building up around your business. Set up an “Out of the Office” auto email so you’re not checking your inbox, leave your phone in a different room, and tune out the business thoughts. When you’re ready to come back, do so with a positive outlook and maybe even see it as a fresh start to try something new in your business.
*BONUS – Don’t devalue your services!
It’s easy to want to discount your services to absolute minimum if that means booking more client work, but I want to tell you to stay away from doing this! Devaluing your services will only make your prospective clients do the same regarding your business + work. Learn from my mistakes as I’ve seen these exact clients not fully appreciate what I offer while wanting higher quality work for less money, nit-picking endlessly, and feeling entitled to regular discounted work. In very rare instances will I discount my services and I’ll only do so if I truly trust the client and they have shown me time-and-time again that they really value my expertise.
It’s important to remember that business can be very difficult sometimes and it’s not always straight-forward with continuous growth. But, if you implement some or all of these steps above, I’m sure you’ll start seeing some positive results for you and your business!
Have you tried any of these steps when you’re having a hard time finding new client work for your business? I’d love to hear how they worked out for you in the comments below!