It’s bound to happen– October through December are amazingly busy months for most online and b&m shops. You’ve been trying to answer convos, package items, work on custom orders, and find missing packages. You’re working long hours, forgetting to do silly things like eat and sleep… Then BAM! One day you wake up and… crickets.
Okay, so it might not be that dramatic, but it can feel that way, can’t it? We go from being so busy, both professionally and personally, to the stretch after the holidays when everything slows down.
The sharp contrast between the holiday rush and the after holiday lull causes my mood to drop and worries about my online business to crop up. But after a few years of this, I’ve moved past the doom and gloom (oh my gosh, I haven’t had a sale in ___ days. My shop is over! OVER I tell you!!”) to understand that there are natural ebs and flows to retail.
What do you DO with yourself during these slow times? How do you stay focused on your goals? What can you do during the slow times to help improve your shop and better prepare for the busier times?
Well, during one of my especially low and unmotivated days, I decided to write out a list of 10 things I could do to better my business. It was really helpful for me to brainstorm, and I thought it might be helpful for you too.
Here are 10 things you can do during your slow times to help your shop
1. Make new items and designs. Slow periods are the perfect time to work on your craft. Give yourself some space to spark creativity. Develop a new line, take some time to play, and make some new, fresh items for your shop!
2. Write. Whether you have a blog, want to create a Tumblr to highlight your work, or even just want to journal for yourself, take some time to write. For me, it really helps to get my ideas down on paper. I also have more time to write some great content for the blog, which I don’t have time to do during the busy season.
3. Shoot a video. There’s so many cool apps out there right now to share videos. Make some instructional videos, share your process, or just say hello to your fans. For me, I started a YouTube channel to share some DIYs a year ago and only made 1 video. That video saw some good success- 50,000 views and 600 subscribers, yet I haven’t found the time to post another!
4. Working on finding better materials. Whether it’s a cool new addition to your product line, finding higher quality or materials at a better cost, or even revamping your packaging, now is a great time to seek out and experiment with new materials.
5. Step up your marketing. Social media marketing is really important but takes time. I’ve remained focused on Facebook, Instagram, and Pintrest because I just don’t have time to focus on them all. I plan to take this time to make each of these better, and maybe even give some TLC to my ignored Twitter and Tumblr accounts.
6. Practice a skill or learn a new one. Now’s the perfect time to take a few hours each day to learn a skill you’ve always wanted to learn or practice an existing one. For me, it’s improving my lettering and learning calligraphy, as well as learning digital painting using a tablet I’ve had for a year now! What do you want to learn or improve, and how can that help your business?
7. Organize your work space. Does your studio look like a tornado went through it after this year’s holiday season too? Take some serious time to clean and organize. I got a new, bigger desk and some shelving units, and have been trying to organize all my things. It’s amazing how much easier it is to create when you have a comfortable, clean space to work in!
8. Network. Find people in your target market to reach out to. Find bloggers or other professionals whose fans might be interested in your product. Maybe you want to host a giveaway, maybe you want to write a guest post, or maybe you just spend some time writing and commenting on articles. Find other sellers who you can relate to and learn from. Network!
9. Improve your SEO. Okay, so you know an Etsy article wouldn’t be complete without mentioning SEO, right?! Etsy recently made some changes to their SEO. Go through each of your listings and refresh the SEO. A couple times a year I like to take a look at each item, what keywords are working, and which are wasting space, which ones are trending, and revamp the SEO. If you think this sounds tedious, it definitely is. But it’s the perfect task for slow times! Do a few each day and you’ll be surprised how quickly you work through all your items (okay, it takes a while, I won’t lie. But it’s definitely worthwhile!).
10. Improve your listings’ photographs and descriptions. Some of my listings have been sitting in the shop for years now. When I actually go back and look at them… ick. Just yuck. They’re not representative of my brand! Some of them have older photos, or old info in their description. Take some time and improve these things, even if it means snapping some new photos.
Bonus #11. Do something for yourself. Here’s a bonus to-do… do something nice for yourself! You’ve earned it! You’ve been working hard, and now that things have slowed down, take some time for yourself. Go buy a new outfit, take a bubble bath, try a new restaurant, go on a trip- do something to treat yourself, you’ve earned it!
These 11 tips are some great ways to stay focused on when your shop slows down, and if you spend your down time doing each of these, your shop will benefit tremendously.
What do you plan to do during your slow months? Do you have something to add to the list? Find this helpful? Leave me a comment below! And happy selling!