Offer Seasonal Discounts; Host Holiday Open Houses
Start planning early, set goals, identify the target audience and develop a marketing plan.
Forbes Expert Panel · Sep 12, 2023
As the holiday season approaches, many service-based solopreneurs will find themselves at a critical point where balancing their workload and sustaining revenue becomes paramount. With clients often taking extended time off and readjusting budgets for the upcoming year, solopreneurs need to adopt proactive strategies to avoid the dreaded end-of-year slump.
Below, 16 Forbes Coaches Council members provide insightful approaches that can help solopreneurs not only maintain their revenue streams, but also capitalize on the unique opportunities the season presents.
Every client—yours and your competitors’—makes time for projects and people positively impacting their bottom line. Ask yourself: “Do I have a business relationship with clients, or am I only a ‘merchant’?” To avoid year-end slumps, consistently evolve your value beyond traditional buyer and seller roles. In our experience, clients reliably prioritize those conversations, regardless of the time of year. - Tia Buckham-White, Notre Internationale
Service-based solopreneurs can proactively combat year-end revenue slumps by adding products and services that create passive revenue, such as memberships, courses and communities. Additionally, consider creating special holiday packages or reaching out to existing clients with exclusive deals. Lastly, be sure to plan next year’s marketing and client acquisition strategies before clocking out for the holidays! - Kristin Andree, Andree Group
Lulls are often the best time to put your foot on the gas pedal. Use this time to proactively market to and stay top of mind with prospects. While they may not be buying, they are still online and still paying attention. Chances are your competitors are quiet. This is an opportunity to increase your social media and email marketing presence. Be seen everywhere they are to stay on their mind. - Krista Neher, Boot Camp Digital
Shine a light on your clients and consider what they need to be successful in Q4 and to start Q1 strong. Service never goes out of season. Consider the cash flow you desire and create 10 times that amount in value for your clients. Revenue reflects results. - Amy Pocsik, Bold Moves
One shift that I’ve made over the past year is to offer more retainer packages of six months or more to my clients. This not only gives me a steady base for my work and breaks the cycle of so many one-off proposals, but also benefits the client for longer-term support and improvement. I can then manage the seasonality of other engagements such as training, leadership retreats and conference keynoting. - Katie Anderson, Katie Anderson Consulting
Planning ahead for any seasonal slumps is a must. When done correctly, this is a great time to evaluate processes, expand or bundle service lines and to network. However, if a solopreneur wants to avoid a slow period, it is critical that they continue sales and marketing efforts during the busy season. A slump can happen as a result of getting too busy working in operations and fulfillment during the busy season. - Lindsay Miller, Reverie Organizational Development Specialists
Keep your clients warm. Stay in touch regularly. Share an article you wrote or read that relates to supporting their business. If you wrote a book—share it. Check in to see if they have any needs that need to be met. Offer a follow-up Q&A session for a presentation or training you provided. Make yourself available to be the support your client needs all year. - Joyel Crawford, Crawford Leadership Strategies, LLC.
Solopreneurs can counter end-of-year slumps by offering holiday specials, reaffirming client relationships for next year’s commitments and diversifying income through productizing services or creating passive income avenues. Additionally, harnessing digital marketing and social media can help reach new clients and boost visibility, ensuring a strong start to the new year. - Dr. Jolene Church, DJC Consulting, Coaching, & Training, LLC
Focus on creative ideas to celebrate your customers, which will help to draw in new ones at the same time. Make this time of year festive and showcase your services and business culture. Let that be the sales strategy. - Kurline J Altes, KURLINEJSPEAKS LLC
Being consistent in communication and visibility all year long can eliminate most revenue hills and valleys of being a solopreneur. However, I’ve found that even professional service businesses shouldn’t ignore the slump-busting, revenue-building opportunities available from Black Friday through the week of Cyber Monday. Consider: What tools can you bundle? What course can you discount? What annual access offer can you make? - Laura DeCarlo, Career Directors International
The idea that revenue has to suffer through the holidays is one I would never accept. Suggestion is the most powerful tool that we have available to us; once you accept an idea in your subconscious mind, it’s done. You can have your best month of the year through the holidays if you accept that idea. - Arash Vossoughi, Voss Coaching Co.
It can be useful to contact clients now to let them know you are planning your workload for the second half of the year and try to schedule work well in advance. In addition, it’s helpful to plan a 2024 planning session in the fall so that upcoming projects get included in the new budget. Otherwise, the risk is projects being deferred because they weren’t anticipated at budgeting time. - Kathy Bernhard, KFB Leadership Solutions
During the holiday season, prioritize client retention and prepare for the next year. Express gratitude to current clients, motivate them for ongoing engagement and encourage them to refer friends and partners to your services, leveraging the holiday spirit. - Stephan Lendi, Newbury Media & Communications GmbH
Being a service-based solopreneur, I schedule my client sessions enough in advance that I can plan for the holiday seasons (whenever they occur around the world), and I get to enjoy them along with my clients. If this means I have a super busy week prior to taking vacation, and then I switch off for three weeks, followed by another super busy week when I return, I plan and budget for that in advance. - Dennis Kight, it works! LLC
For the holiday season, service-based solopreneurs should deepen client relationships. Host networking events to foster community and collaboration. Diversify revenue with digital products, and use quieter times for personal growth. Communicate proactively with clients, and seek testimonials and referrals. Embrace the philosophy “the who is the how” to ensure year-end success. - Michelle Maree, The Nomad Escape
Start planning early, set goals, identify the target audience and develop a marketing plan. Offer seasonal discounts, gift certificates or holiday-themed services. Host a holiday open house, offer free consultations or run a social media contest. Reach out to new clients by networking at holiday events. Nurture existing clients by sending them a card or reaching out to say hello. - Inely Cesna, Institute For Next Level Leadership