Work at Home Business Opportunity in Canada

The Upside of Down-times

by Glenn Beach

Running an internet home-based business provides unique challenges. You may have to stretch your funds to last a year when you are only bringing in cash for six months or nine months. Summer is usually a slow time, but the winter holiday time can be too.

You must learn to prepare for the busy seasons and figure out how best to use your slow season to your business's advantage. And finally, you have to mentally prepare yourself for the rough times, even though you may not know when they will strike.

I've learned a few money survival strategies over my years of self-employment. The most important is to live within your means. This means not spending big when you're making big money, only to fall back on using a credit card during the lean times.

Live frugally when you're first starting out, defer spending, buy used, barter when possible, until you are able to roughly estimate a year's income, then spend according to an annual budget and save during the boom times.

Pessimism will usually get you pessimistic results. A positive outlook generates enthusiasm. The first impulse is always to cut back on spending when business is slow. It's important to not slip into a downward spiral of spending cutbacks alone, because this will weaken your organization.

The weakest entrepreneurs wish and pray for better days while making no lasting change. The strongest use the situation as a catalyst to create long-term change that will support growth well into the future. So don't dwell on your lack of sales; continually focus on new products, new technology or bettering your relationships with your customer base.

The weakest entrepreneurs reduce prices without a reduction in costs. When price reductions don’t work, deep cuts are made in business expenses to keep the business afloat. What are usually the first to go are customer service and marketing. Unless this cycle is broken, companies may get caught in a downward spiral of repeated price cutting and cost reduction.

The strongest entrepreneurs simultaneously reduce costs and improve the process, becoming more efficient and improving the product. This is the time to automate your follow-ups, begin a newsletter, write or update that ebook, actions that support both the short-term goal of survival and the long term goals of strength and growth.

Creating something new will deliver MORE value to your customer, and this value will further differentiate you from your competition. In other words, if ANYONE is going to buy during this slow period, they will be buying from YOU because you offer them the best value for their money.

Slow times are also a great opportunity to:

  • Revise Your Business Plan:
    Re-examine your markets, marketing techniques and maybe even your website -- and document your future course.
  • Design a Survey:
    Ask your website visitors questions about how satisfied they’ve been doing business with you, and ask them to offer at least one suggestion for how you could improve your product, service or customer service. You should offer those who fill out the survey a free gift.
  • Write Articles or a Book:
    Regardless of what business you're in, you want to be known as the expert in what you do. Once you become an author, people will assume you must know what you're talking about. Building your reputation is a perfect downtime activity.
  • Educate Yourself:
    Now's the time to catch up on all those ebooks you've been filing away, or visit your library and borrow that bestseller you've been wanting to read. Maybe there's a seminar you've been dying to attend...go!
  • Take Time for Yourself:
    Play catch-up--or don't. Straighten up your desk, organize your files, read, or don't! Remember why you went into business in the first place?
  • Enjoy your family and friends, rest up, exercise more or spend time on a hobby.
    Take a vacation, even if all that means is turning the computer off for a couple days a week.
  • Strengthen Client Relationships:
    Email people you already know, brainstorm, commiserate on lack of sales. You'll feel better, re-energized.
  • Branch Out:
    If you enjoy writing, offer your services as a copywriter or editor, for example. If you find that summers are always slow, then find a part-time job. This bit of socializing is just the ticket for curing the isolation blahs that can set in when you work by yourself day after day, month after month.

One theory of seasonal slumps is that there are none--only "a lack of creativity." A person who feels they have a slump should look at it from a different angle or find a niche they haven't reviewed before.

Just think and play with ideas. Study and read a lot of publications outside your category so you're familiar with what's going on in other industries.

So yes, there really is an upside to your down-times when you are working at home. After all, this is what being your own boss is really all about, having the flexibility to choose your own business style and hours.

You can either diversify and stay busy year-round, or work your tail off during the busy times and make enough money to relax and do what you want during the low times.

Remember to take the time to enjoy those benefits you wanted when you started this business: freedom, family, friends, relaxation.


About the author:
Glenn Beach is a poet, writer and home business entrepreneur in Nova Scotia, Canada. Free newsletter, more articles, and business start-up info at:

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Work at Home Business Opportunity in Canada

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