Ever experienced the odd occasion where your online business is running smoothly, everything’s in place, and you’re finally reaping the fruits of your labour?
It sound mythical — but I have reached this point before. Yet, somehow, in that moment I didn’t feel relaxed; I felt lost. I found myself looking for more work to do, and new ways to be productive
If you’re ever fortunate enough to find yourself in this situation — relax. You’ve probably earned a rest break. Alternatively, if (like me) you do want to utilise those spare hours to better your business — or yourself — then I can recommend several tasks to fill your time during quiet periods. After all, there’s always room for improvement…
1. Get Ahead With Admin
I know, I know, admin’s boring. But it has to be done.
Those relaxed periods are a great opportunity to get on top of it, to make life easier on yourself going forward.
For example, you could:
- Start preparing financial accounts for the year end.
- File away important paperwork, receipts, invoices, business documents, etc.
- Improve your spreadsheet/database/system to provide more key metrics.
- Tighten up your system security by changing passwords, scanning for viruses, and protecting important files.
- Diagnose system/driver errors and find a fix (e.g. patch), to keep your hardware in good working order.
- Create backups of important files in a separate drive (e.g. Google Drive, or another cloud solution).
2. Re-share Old Content
Content creators are often caught up in catering to their current audience; the here & now. But how about all the people that have only just tuned in? How about those that haven’t even found you yet?
If you run a blog, vlog, or social media account then now might be the time to attract new people to your existing content. Here’s how you could go about that:
- Share old content on your social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn)
- Do ’round-ups’ of old highlights (e.g. compilation videos)
- Send out a newsletter reminding followers of old content that they may not have seen.
- Change your blog post titles and meta description in order to ‘recycle’ the content.
All the while, you can be thinking up new ideas to post out in the future.
3. Increase Marketing
There’s so many marketing avenues to explore that, without realising it, you may not have even scratched the surface yet.
Here’s some marketing ideas:
- Launch a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign. I recommend Google Ads and Facebook. But be weary of what platforms you use (some are dodgy).
- Increase social media activity. Share more content and engage with potential customers. Build up a presence.
- Check your emails for opportunities. Link swaps, increased social media exposure, advertising space, and email marketing are commonly discussed via email. Beware of scammers, though.
- Launch a new channel. This is your chance to start marketing via an entirely new platform — YouTube, a podcast, a blog, or new social media site, for example.
- Start a new website. One of my most effective marketing strategies is to build a third party blog that links to my products and services. For example, TopGoalkeeping.com (a football blog) linking to RectrixSport.com (a goalkeeper brand).
4. Improve Aesthetics
Working on aesthetics can eat into valuable time during busy periods. But here’s your chance to experiment and be creative.
For example, you might decide to:
- Refresh your website. Try out new fonts and colours, or install an entirely new theme. You could also add widget sections to improve the layout.
- Start a re-brand. The logo and website is a starting point. Just ensure that you actually strengthen your brand; you don’t want to lose recognition for no good reason.
- Create better images. If you sell a product online then your images/graphics are crucial. Invest some of your free time into making them look perfect. Filter them to look more eye-catching. Source professionals if necessary.
- Tidy up your in-house system. While this does not directly impact the customer, it’s important that you like using your systems (e.g. spreadsheets, databases). After all, you’re looking at it all day. If aesthetics improve your experience, then why not make the change now?
5. Analyse Your Competition
You’ve had your head down for so long that a competitor may have started to gain ground without you realising. Quiet periods are the perfect opportunity to snoop on them for inspiration.
Things to ask yourself:
- What are competitors doing better/worse than you? What can you change?
- Have your competitors launched any new products? Should you be doing that, too?
- How similar are you to your competition? How can you differentiate yourself?
- How is your competitors’ pricing? Can you compete with that?
If need be, reassess your business.
6. Learn New Skills
What better time to develop a new skill?
During quiet periods I usually look to develop skills that’ll benefit my business, such as:
- Image editing: learn a few tricks in Photoshop (or even a simpler mobile app) to create templates for advertisements or social media posts.
- Web development: discover WordPress plugins — or write code — to help improve a website’s user experience.
- Search Engine Optimisation: sharpen SEO skills and adapt to the latest methods; it’s constantly changing, so stay on top of it.
- Marketing: research new ways to get your product or service out there. Devise a strategy.
- Efficiency & Productivity: buy a book, listen to a podcast, take a course, or otherwise read free online content about improving your approach to running an online business. Not everything will directly apply to you — but often a few pointers will really hit home.
You don’t need to learn business-related skills, either. You might just decide to take up a new hobby.
7. Talk With Other Online Businesses
Talking with other blog owners and affiliate managers (of products I promote) has heavily influenced the path my online business has taken.
While it might seem like a shot in the dark at first, there are many potential upsides to reaching out to those in a similar online industry to you — even if you do not already have a rapport with them.
I’ve struck conversations where marketing tips were shared, as well as important information about the current state of the industry (e.g. what’s ‘hot’ right now). Some of those conversations eventually lead on to successful collaborations.
8. Harness What You Have
It’s the perfect time to make the most of everything you’ve built so far. This is achieved through optimisation.
So what can you optimise in your online business?
- Website content: identify the pages that perform the best and try to nudge them up on Google search results; a slight change could have a hugely positive impact. Similarly, identify vastly under-performing pages and focus your time on optimising them. Learn more on SEO.
- Advertising campaigns: thoroughly look over your campaigns. You’ll start to see what’s working and what’s not. This is your chance to strip out those poor-performing or irrelevant bids.
- User journey: use your site analytics to find out what users like, and what’s getting conversions. Rejig you website to direct people to those pages as quickly as possible.
- Product pages: aim to perfect your images and product descriptions to maximise sales conversions. Monitor any changes in your performance once you’ve collected enough data. Learn from it.
- Efficiency: work out what’s slowed you down in the past. Plan how you’re going to cut out pointless tasks going forward, and increase overall efficiency.
My advice is to go over your entire business with a fine tooth comb. Browse your content, improve your customer experience, and be critical of each and every process you have. You’ll always find areas that can be improved.
9. Start A New Project
You probably haven’t considered starting an entirely new project. Is now the time?
In the back of my mind I keep several online business ideas that I’d like to eventually get on to. Realistically, I do not have the time and resources to manage them all at the moment.
However, when the right time comes along, I start to lay the foundations for one of those businesses. I usually begin with creating a website and a brand to frame everything around and see where it takes me. I dip in and out of it in my spare time until I’m ready to devote my (relatively) undivided attention to it.
10. Take A Break
Part of running your own business is to enjoy the perks. Is this quiet period your chance to reap the rewards of being self-employed with some well-earned time off?
Plan a holiday, spend more time with family & friends, read, play computer games, get fit, or do something else that you’ve been itching to crack on with. Often you’ll feel more energised afterwards — which might be what you need.