When the work dries up …

Running your own business can be great – lots of activity, lots of people to meet and help, lots of money flowing through the till.

But what happens when it all goes quiet?

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I’ve been running my video business since 1993 and there have certainly plenty of busy and quiet times. In fact it’s been a regular roller coaster over the years. I’d be too busy to bother about marketing and then the work would slow down and I’d realise I’d need to do the marketing. Then the work would pick up again and so the cycle would continue.

But what happens when it goes deathly quiet? I remember it happening back after the Global Financial Crisis in 2009. I even questioned for a second if I should look for a job – literally for a second. Then I remembered I love the benefits of having my own business too much – the freedom, the variety, the control.

Of course that comes with a price – you have to generate the work, even when there’s no work around.

So what do you do? How do I generate work and find clients when it all goes quiet?

The epiphany I had back in 2009 was – what did I do when I started the business? I had to create work somehow and that was before I had hundreds of clients, a solid reputation and years of experience.

I rang people.

I proposed concepts that would solve a problem and create work for me. It was hard work at times, but it had to be done.

So I reminded myself to get over it. There was work out there. There were people who needed my services and I just had to go back to basics. I had to pull my finger out and get on with it. Make calls, talk to people and generate business.

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The other realisation I’ve had is recognising where work tends to come from.

For me a lot of work is generated from referrals. So the more people I mix with the more work I seem to get. This means networking groups are an important part of my strategy. Which is good because I quite enjoy socialising so it is relatively easy for me to do.

I’ve learnt over the years networking works best when you are not trying to sell.

Being interested in what others have to offer and what they are trying to achieve is more useful than trying to convince someone to buy from you. Desperation is not a powerful sales strategy :). More often than not, after being interested and being good company, people tend to want to know what I do and how they can work with me.

For others their sales might be through a strong website with effective SEO. It might be through a dynamic social media strategy or email campaign. Check where your work comes from and keep it in mind when determining where to focus your marketing energies.

When you think back to how much effort you put into your business when it started, it’s funny to think a quiet patch could be a threat. You’ve already overcome worse and know how to cope now. Go back to what has worked before and do what is required. You know what you need to do. Get on with it!


Featured image photo credit via photopin (license)


Geoff Anderson

Geoff Anderson is the Managing Director at Sonic Sight a Sydney based video production facility; author of Amazon Bestseller “Shoot Me Now – making videos to boost business” and a presenter on using video for business.

He has been working in TV and Events production for over 20 years.

Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.