Pros in public relations, social media, and communications never seem to have a shortage of things to do. However, there are seasons when client workloads may ease, you’ve completed a project, or you have an opening. During these times, you may find yourself actually thinking about those things on the bottom of your to-do list. Whether the slower period is part of a natural cycle or unplanned circumstances you can make it count! Below is a list of 7 things you can do when your business load is lighter than usual.
1. Do some business planning
We should make time to work on our business, but in reality it is easy to let that slip when you are crazy busy with client work. Use your extra time to review or update your business plan. You don’t have to write a 30-page plan, it can be as simple as one page that outlines your short and term goals and what you need to do to reach them.
2. Do a life audit
With time, wall space and post-it notes you can do a life audit. This process Is deeply reflective and will allow you to reconnect or reaffirm that you’re spending your time on the things that really matter to you. In fact, your life audit can serve as a good foundation prior to doing your business planning.
3. Conduct a business retreat
Many in our solo PR PRO community, plan an annual business retreat to allow time to reflect, brainstorm and plan for their business. The key to a good retreat is to have a plan and conduct it away from your day-to-day work location. This can be as simple as spending the day at a quiet location in town or spending a night or two in a hotel in or out of town. You can do the retreat on your own or invite colleagues or other solos to share the experience. If you do it as a group, have a clear plan – so that the time is well spent for all.
4. Make yourself more marketable
Adding or improving your skillset can both reenergize you and make you more marketable. Pick one skill that you want to learn or improve that will benefit your business and work on it. Make sure that the skill is both something you want to learn and can make use of in your business.
5. Prepare your dream roster
Make your list of 5 dream clients you’d love to have on your roster. Research the company to learn more about their needs and culture. Use LinkedIn to discover connections to the company. Look for opportunities to cultivate relationships on and offline. Social media is a great way to connect but don’t stop there. Look for opportunities to attend conferences or events where company representatives will be speaking or attending. You may even be able to make connections through volunteer opportunities.
6. Evaluate your workflow
Use your down time to improve your efficiency. Examine your work habits and look for ways to eliminate redundancies and streamline tasks. A lighter workload will make it easier to reflect on your habits and modify if needed. As a bonus, document your workflow so that you can create systems. This is especially helpful if you ever hire employees or subcontractors.
7. Test drive a new tactic
Now is a good time to experiment with new tactics. Whether you have been yearning to try your hand at social ads or create your own ecourse, try something that you have not had time to do and play around with it. Even if you fail, you will gain knowledge, and fodder for a good blog post or two.
Bonus: Embrace the season
You don’t have to fill the down time with anything at all! Far too often we miss enjoying the time to breathe and think until they're gone!
How do you fill your slower seasons? Please share in the comments!