The Upside

Experiencing a Client Dry Spell? Take These 5 Steps.

A few weeks ago, I shared my top three tips for growing your consultancy even in shaky economic times like we’re experiencing right now.

As a follow-up to that advice, I want to talk about how you may be feeling during slower months and what you can do about it.

During slow months you may be feeling…

  • Compelled to take on work that isn’t fully aligned
  • Insecure about your offerings or your rates
  • Unsure about the future of your business
  • Tempted to take on a full-time role 
  • Less confident in your abilities as a business owner

I want you to know that all of these feelings are completely normal and very common. However, I also want you to know that there’s a silver lining to having a lull in your client work:


Here’s what you can be doing to grow your business when you don’t have enough client work to fill the week:

1. Dedicate time to business development and relationship building.
Reconnect with old colleagues. Join a new business community. Re-engage and get more involved in your existing communities. Reach out to LinkedIn connections for casual coffee chats. Use this time to reignite stale relationships and build new ones, with no agenda. Plant seeds that can blossom into future client opportunities. (If you haven’t already, download our free Activate Your Network guide)

2. Work on your visibility.
A lull is the perfect time to elevate your content and thought leadership in order to gain more visibility across your network. Visibility builds authority. Authority builds trust. Trust builds relationships. And relationships lead to more clients.

3. Level-up your positioning.
When was the last time you worked on your LinkedIn profile? (If you haven’t already, you can access our free Supercharge Your LinkedIn Bio here.) How about your website? Your elevator pitch? Your offerings? Your pricing strategy? A lull is a perfect time to rethink and rework how you’re presenting yourself and your business to attract your ideal clients.

4. Clean up your operations.
Ops, SOPs, contracts, SOWs templates, P&Ls…these tend to fall wayyyyyy down at the bottom of the list of to-dos for consultants who are busy billing clients all day long. Yet, getting your operations in order is critical for long-term success. If you have a slow month or two, consider using that time to get your back-end ops cleaned up so that when the clients do come knocking, you’re set up for success.

5. Make space for creative and strategic thinking.
It’s a rare day that a consultant has time to take a step back to think creatively about their business and their future. One positive to having little client work is being able to create space to think and/or rework your lead generation plan. Here’s a free guide to improve your lead generation.

As long as you have enough money saved to cover your basic expenses, a lull in work can mean that…

You have the space to think bigger about your business.

You have runway for generating future clients.

You can take time off to recharge, if you haven’t done so in a while.

If you’re experiencing a lull right now, know that you aren’t alone and know that there are supportive networks out there like The Upside to keep you going.

Having your own business isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would do it. You’ve got this!

Erin Halper

About the Author

Erin Halper is the founder and CEO of The Upside and the leading authority on independent consulting. Since launching The Upside in 2017, Erin has helped thousands of professionals transition from corporate life into consulting to achieve flexibility, autonomy, and a renewed sense of purpose in their careers.

Erin has been a frequent speaker at Columbia, NYU, Harvard, and Brown and has been featured as a leading future of work expert on dozens of podcasts as well as in Forbes, Business Insider, Nasdaq, Crunchbase and many more.

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