5 Ways to Make the Most of Winter Slowdown

It happens to almost everyone, every year (And if it doesn't happen to you, give yourself a pat on the back because you are killing it!). 

Of course, I'm talking about the:

The Winter Slowdown

Dun dun dun! Most makers spend most of December scuttling around like crazy with holiday orders & post office runs & most likely late nights in the studio, screeching to a halt right before Christmas. 

And then the New Year gleams on the horizon! So much opportunity! So many possibilities! This is the year for your business! 

But then you remember how broke most people are after the holidays. Plus they just got like eleventy billion new things to fill their home up with over the holidays. Shopping is usually the last thing on their mind unless you are having a massive 70% off post-holiday sale. Which usually means January & February are pretty slow months for many makers, resulting in what is known as this dreaded Winter Slowdown when sales are record lows or sometimes, non-existent.

It can be disheartening to go from booming business to hearing crickets in just a matter of weeks. It can lurch you into a slump & make you want to curl up in your pajamas and binge watch the latest hit show on Netflix while you eat obscene amounts of extra butter popcorn (No? Just me?). Well, let me tell you what I've learned from five and a half years of running Lu & Ed

Resist the urge to hibernate. 

Seriously. This is your time to shine, baby! Or at least to take a running leap into the New Year, that is still gleaming with opportunities & full of so many possibilities - and now is the time to put in the work to make your dreams for 2015 a reality! Here is how I make the most of the Winter Slowdown:

1. Do your taxes. 

Ugh. The dreaded T word. But use these quiet days at the beginning of the year to get your books in order, file sales tax for your state (most states are due by February 2nd. View a full list of sales tax due dates by state here) & get everything ready to file or pass over to your book keeper. Seriously, it's the boring hate-to-do work but the sooner you get it done the sooner you can get back to the fun parts of running a business!

2. Do a year-end review.

Take a look over your numbers for the previous year. I wrote about my year end review here. Sales, traffic, social media growth. Create charts, numbered lists or whatever helps you analyze this data to find out what content resonated best with your audience, what products were your best sellers, what marketing tactics worked, which social media platforms performed best and where you spent a lot of time that had little return on investment. Use this data to focus your energy in the New Year to determine what you should be researching and experimenting with to take your business to the next level & to weed out websites, social media accounts or actions that don't yield positive results.

3. Tidy up your studio

Whether you use a corner of a coffee table or have an entire room to use as your studio space, take some time to tidy up, organize & rearrange if needed. Clean spaces inspire creativity!

4. Build inventory

You know what would be awesome next year? If craft show season/the holiday season wasn't so darn crazy!

I always use January as a time to build loads of inventory so that I start the year off with a surplus of products for stockings, shows & sales. It feels great to start the year off churning out new designs & products and building hype & excitement with your audience, plus it gives you some cushion as you go into the busier show & sales seasons meaning a lighter workload later on in the year. Work smarter, not harder & save yourself some stress later in the year by generating lots of inventory during the slower sales period when you have ample time to dedicate to it.

5. Treat yo'self! 

Once your business is New Year Ready (taxes filed & permit fees paid & so on) use the slower months to take some time for personal projects, treat yourself to a hair cut or some shopping, take a few naps or any other activity you usually can't enjoy during your busiest seasons! Enjoy the coziness of the slow season & make time for coffee with friends! Feel free to schedule a week off to just relax, visit family or binge watch that show we talked about - but make sure to set a day to "come back to work" so to speak (so that you don't get sucked into the next season of that show) and commit to starting the year off productive & actively chasing those opportunities on the horizon! 

How do you make the most of the winter slowdown? Let's chat about ways to stay productive while enjoying the coziness of the winter slowdown!

1 comment:

  1. I may be the exception to this....but I love the winter slowdown. Not so much for the taxes, but the extra time I seem to have to create new and lovely things. :0)