Jessica started her business with a bang, landing three great clients from the jump. But when that early momentum stalled, the work dried up for months. She considered throwing in the towel.
However, Jessica used the slow time to invest in honing her offerings and marketing. Though demoralizing, she persisted.
Then, one day, her pipeline exploded. Previous clients returned, and new ones poured in after her outreach gained traction. Overwhelmed with the influx, Jessica felt overworked, struggling to keep up with the long hours and tight deadlines. She also had trouble prioritizing and managing her overflowing workload effectively.
If you have been in business any length of time, this story probably feels familiar. Like many entrepreneurs, Jessica experienced wild swings in her new business. First, an unplanned dry spell that pushed her to the edge, followed by a flood of new business she could barely manage.
Business fluctuations like Jessica experienced can leave you overwhelmed, uncertain, and on the verge of quitting. So, how do you go from 0 to 60 and back without losing it in the process? By planning for it. Here is how:
Embrace the ride, but have a plan.
Know your slow times, the times you can expect to close more business, and what causes them in your industry. Understanding the cyclical nature of your business can help you plan and prepare for the ups and downs.
Create systems and processes to streamline your workflow and ensure you can handle an influx of clients effectively. This might involve outsourcing tasks, automating processes, or setting realistic client expectations. Know the who and what before you get busy!
Also (this was a hard one for me), instead of viewing slow periods as failures or signs of defeat, reframe them as opportunities for growth and reflection. Recognize that these moments allow you to recharge, refine your strategies, and lay the foundation for future success. And for the love of dogs, please never stop telling people what you do—even when you have more work than you can handle.
Solopreneur mindset matters.
The solopreneur rollercoaster requires a resilient mindset to navigate the challenges and setbacks. When you embrace an experimental mindset, you can view setbacks as opportunities for learning and growth. Then, instead of looking at things as failures, you start to see your activities as rich data points.
Recognize that every successful entrepreneur has faced obstacles and experienced periods of uncertainty. Seek these stories in books, TED talks, and podcasts for inspo during tough times. The startup community on Twitter and the industry friends I found with my coach got me through some dark periods.
Build a support network.
Surrounding yourself with a supportive network of like-minded individuals who understand your unique challenges is crucial. Seek out communities, mastermind groups, or networking events where you can connect with other entrepreneurs. A strong support network can provide encouragement, fresh perspectives, accountability, and resources.
Striking a balance between consistency and growth.
To smooth the feast-or-famine cycle, cultivate long-term relationships. Long-term client relationships provide stability and consistent work. When you focus on building strong connections with clients who value your services, they are likelier to engage in repeat business or send referrals. Nurture these relationships by creating special offerings, maintaining open lines of communication, and going the extra mile to exceed expectations.
Proactive marketing is another essential aspect of maintaining consistency. Adopt a strategic approach rather than waiting for referrals or reacting to inquiries. Create a plan for consistently promoting your services through various channels, such as social media, content marketing, and networking events, that you will do even at a minimum when you have a full workload.
There is no doubt the high periods are fun after a dry spell. But don't let that distract you from thinking long-term. You must plan for growth. Overcommitting during busy periods can lead to burnout and a decline in the quality of work. Continuously evaluate your workload, pipeline of potential clients, business trends, energy level, and boundaries for imbalances. Make sure that what you say yes to fits your mission and long-term goals. (If you don't know those, that's an excellent place to start.)
Achieving a balance between consistency and growth is an ongoing journey for solopreneurs. Stay committed to your vision, trust in your abilities, and don't forget to enjoy the ride!
When you're ready to take your business and life to the next level, here are 3 ways I can support you:
Business Coaching and Consulting for solopreneurs prepared to build thriving, profitable businesses aligned with their purpose. 1:1 high-touch guidance explicitly tailored to where you are and where you want to go.
Empowerment and Accountability 1:1 with go-getters working toward a vision and ready to achieve personal and professional breakthroughs.
Free Community Access via my private online community and book club. Join our small group where you can chat with other peers, learn, share resources, and banish the loneliness that can come with solopreneurship! Questions? Let's chat!