When you’re a sole trader, it can often seem like there are only two settings when you work: either it’s dead quiet or you’re running a million miles a minute.

While the busy times are hectic, the moment you relax allows you to look back at all you’ve achieved and the money you’ve made.

It’s the quiet periods that are genuinely scary – especially when you’re in this alone.

Equipped with tenacity and resilience, self-employed people can usually handle this rollercoaster ride.  

But even the most experienced self-employed professional can get flustered if business is slow. It’s okay to feel a little down in the downtime.

Here are 5 tips to help sole traders ride out the quiet periods and get them ready for the deluge of customers that will eventually prevail.

  1. Don’t feed the self-doubt monsters

Self-doubt monsters reside in the lulls of the day. When all is quiet and it’s just you and your thoughts.

Did I make the right decision? What am I doing here? Should I just quit and go back to my day job?” you think as your thoughts snowball and the self-doubt monsters multiply.

Consider how far you’ve come in your career, the achievements you’ve had and the challenges that you’ve overcome. There will be quiet times, so don’t panic. 

When anxiety comes creeping, it’s time to get proactive and seize the day. Carpe diem and the like.

  • Review your business plan

This is a great time to take a step back and assess where your business stands.

Open up your business plan and take a review.

What were your business goals when you started? Do your current strategies align with what you want to achieve?

 Ask yourself who you want to work with. Consider your current client list, as well as those that have lost interest in you.

Analyse your competitors and see what they are doing differently to you. Perhaps there are some new opportunities to exploit or a threat that you need to be weary about.

If you don’t have a business plan, don’t worry! Now’s the best time to create one!

Check out this blog to learn more about creating a comprehensive business plan for your sole trader business.

  • Consider what risks you face

Being a sole trader comes with its own set of risks no matter what industry you are in.

Unlike being a CEO of a company, you are personally liable for any expenses your business may incur.

That means your personal savings may be at risk if something goes wrong.

Consider what risks you face and see if there is a safeguard you could put in place.

Some risks can be quashed right away while others you may not be able to remove entirely.

For the latter, consider sole trader insurance to protect you financially from the risks you face.

There are many different options of insurance for sole traders, so make sure you get the right balance of cover and cost!

  • Ask for work

Once you have identified your ideal prospects and past clients, you can get in touch with them. 

Ask your clients if there are any other tasks that they could benefit from your product or service. Also, reach out to others in your network who may be interested in outsourcing work.

Your situation requires action to get busy again, and if you don’t ask you don’t get.

So, you better get asking!

  • Take a break

While it may seem counterproductive, sometimes all you need is a nice break to recharge your batteries.

You should remember that being self-employed has many benefits – one of which is that you are your own boss!

Take a vacation or just a mental health day lounging around the house.

Let your thoughts drift wherever your mind wanders and eventually you’ll be thinking about work in a whole new light.

Hopefully, this will lead you to be more inspired and motivated to work again.

10 ways to take some time off work:

  1. Read a book
  2. Work on a side project
  3. Take a long walk
  4. Go to the beach
  5. Register for a short course
  6. Visit an exhibition
  7. Have a spa day
  8. Go to the cinema
  9. Add something to your bucket list
  10. Play a sport

The bottom line

Quiet periods can be scary when you’re running a sole trader business – especially when they seem to linger too long!

But take a step back from the panic and realise you’ve got an opportunity.

Time is a valuable thing and it’s the spaces in between sales that generate a successful, long-running business.

Hopefully, this blog will get you back on track so you can use these quiet periods to your advantage.

This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. © 2023 BizCover Pty Limited, Public Liability Australia is a business name of BizCover Pty Ltd (ABN 68 127 707 975; AFSL 501769)