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10 Ways to Thrive During the Slow Blogger Season

We’re going a little deep today, with something that hits me hard. And that’s what to do when it’s slow for a blogger.

We all go through the slow seasons of blogging and social media influence. Here are 10 tips to navigate a slow blogger season. #community #bloggingcommunity

I wrote this a year ago, after it had been brewing in my Notes app for a full year before that! So in truth, my perspectives and experiences have changed. That said, it’s always slow for a blogger this time of year! While I have learned to embrace the Q1 slowdown – and it helps to have other sources of income (in my case, my husband’s job, passive ad income, my photography business, data entry, and editing) – it used to make me absolutely panic as a blogger. It’s nerve-wracking.

10 Ways to Thrive During the Slow Blogger Season:

slow blogger season

Does it hit you too?

I couldn’t tell the difference at first, with fast or slow, and then I picked up in momentum, ambition, work, and passion. That first slow season (first quarter of 2016) was rough. I even talked about it with my therapist and then got into my car after that session and checked my email – only to find a brand new sponsored post acceptance. When those email subjects start with, “Congratulations”, (and aren’t spam) after all this time I STILL get butterflies in my stomach. I broke my own self-administered therapist/client rule and texted her with, “I got a blogging job five seconds after walking out of your office!” She wrote back, “Of course you did!” That was way TMI, but it’s my way of telling you that this affects me deeply.

slow blogging season

Why it affects me so much.

I’m prone to catastrophizing. Last year was my 2nd slow season and it was particularly bad – so much that I was almost daily texting my friends in the know and asking if it was normal. Even they admit that while slow blogging seasons are normal, 2017 was particularly bad. We didn’t know why. Then it picked up, and picked up wonderfully. It had changed me, though.

I made use of that time in early 2017 to work harder than I ever have. Maybe you love your job or you have found a way to make passive or active income that REALLY does it for you. It rocks your world. If you are like me, and prone to catastrophizing (which I hope you’re not), sometimes holding gold in your hands is too much pressure. You’re always afraid you will drop it or break it or tarnish it or get even one spot on it. That’s how I am. It’s fear of the unknown as well.

When Blogger Season is Slow!

I didn’t expect the slow season to be March. Now I realize that the end of the year is so busy, that the quarter four hires/jobs carry over into the new year. And you expect January to be slow. In fact, we always go to Disney World in January. During February we are juggling snow days and Valentine’s Day. March is a long month, and a month of transition in so many ways. It’s viruses still coming and going with a vengeance now that the season is winding down. It’s winter into spring and dark into light. And, it’s when you really notice if the blogging season hasn’t picked up yet, but you expect it to be there by now. Even if you know that it’s like this every March. It’s rough for me. I thought I’d write this in January.

Then, the next season always gets so busy that I get amnesia about the slow blogger seasons.

January wasn’t slow and February did what February does. (not sure what, but I think it involves heart-shaped sandwiches) So now I’m here to tell you that in the last year or so, I have learned about the slow season. Here are my 10 ways to deal:

10 Ways to Thrive During the Slow Blogging Season

1 – First, enjoy it. Yes, really. I’m mostly writing this to myself. I have two jobs, and sometimes three. My photography business also has a slow season, but it’s a different one, and I’ve been doing that for far longer than I’ve been blogging. As for a third job, I sometimes do freelance contract work with editing and data entry. Sometimes it’s a lot of work, and mostly it isn’t. When it hits, it really hits. I have to remind myself that during the slow season, I should be thankful for this.

At the end of 2017, I couldn’t say yes to any kind of social engagement and would even get annoyed if someone innocently asked me to lunch. I’d be constantly checking my phone and thinking I was missing something. I didn’t take ONE weekend off from September until maybe January or February. Not even a weekDAY. Now that it’s slow season? I make special goals for myself. I still work hard, but I carve in time to do things like go through the mountains and into a tiny village about 12 minutes from my house that has the most exquisite broccoli cheddar soup. And I go on cool road trips as often as I want.

I know things will get busy again, but I need to retain this ability to have and enjoy free time, even if that means cutting out some work. Although I never say no to photography or blogging unless it’s a terrible fit and we all know it. Yesterday was a snow day and instead of stressing about work, I walked the half-mile and back to the mailbox, and I ran around the yard with my arms spread out like an airplane. The kids will remember this. They will never remember me hunched over a computer.

2 – Update your profiles with all marketing and influencer agencies. I was surprised recently to discover that I hadn’t done that in years with one agency. No wonder they weren’t hiring me! I had grown a lot since then. It’s a good time to update bios and photos, especially if things have changed, and to make sure all social media accounts are connected. Be fresh!

3 – Work on pitching brands directly. Do you feel ready? I sort of feel ready. This is a big one and I’ve only done it twice, and both this week! There are pitching groups to join on Facebook, as well as plenty of articles and blog posts and samples of pitch templates. It’s a vast world and I wasn’t sure I was ready for it, but I finally feel like this is my next big move.

4 – Create daily, weekly, and monthly goals. My friend Charlotte does this well. It could be as simple as writing out a post-it each day saying you will pitch one brand, apply to one agency job, etc. Maybe you are looking for 50K unique page views a month, or 10K a week. The sky is the limit but when you write down those goals, and maybe even publish it, you’re holding yourself accountable. Join groups with other motivated bloggers. Success begets success. Tis a beautiful thing.

5 – Identify your weakest spots and amp them up. Whether that’s photography, recipes, crafts, writing, tech stuff, don’t write off or hire out what you may be able to excel at. Interview a mentor. Read an e-book. Join an online challenge. Ask for help. I’m still working on things I discovered I was terrible at back at 2016! I think (hope) I’m less terrible at them now.

On a related note, explore other sources of income that are not a far cry from this one. Like affiliate links, ads, or e-books.

Gain that blogger confidence! You can own this.

6 – Take a class. I once took a class on Twitter and Facebook. Then another on Instagram and Pinterest. There’s a class for everything and whether you’re looking for personal experience, or professional, it’s still worth blogging about!

slow blogger season

7 – Sign up for a blogging conference. This is about as networky as networking can be. And it’s fun! Even before the actual conference, you’ll join Facebook groups and “meet” fellow conference mates. This is a life-changing move each time.

8 – Follow up with potential and current clients. If you’re like me, you have a starred or labeled folder in your inbox full of potential clients. Maybe you were too busy to respond at the time, but kept their email for a reason. Maybe they can offer more than you’ve ever imagined. You have to ask for what you want. You have to start and maintain these connections.

9 – Time to declutter. Declutter it ALL. It’s not the best way to spend a workday(s), but in the end, it will work wonders. I have photos unedited, emails unanswered, blog comments un-replied, and physical clutter too! Time to declutter it all!

10 – Keep morale up and be hopeful. With everything, there is a season. It comes back around. After nearly three years, I’m still not used to the fluctuations, and often they make me sad. I have to think of them as opportunities for downtime, and opportunities for growth. There is no sustainable way to make money and stay healthy emotionally if you’re working 365 days a year. Enjoy a little downtime, and then GET BUSY. We have work to do! And I love to do it with all of you!

Keeping write stuff that’s truly YOU! If you write from the heart, everything else will follow.

Interested in more blogger related content? Here are my 5 Confessions of a Social Media Addict!

Do you have a tip for the slow blogger season? Does your career have slow seasons?

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25 Comments

  1. I couldn’t love this more if I tried. And I will add one more, which may or may not be a tip. But during this time you actually do have time to get sick with a cold at the very least. Not that I want to be sick by any means. But take this past week, I must have been run down from all the craziness in the last few months. So when I finally do have a break now, I found myself actually not just feeling burnt out, but sick. Yup, I have a go old fashioned head cold this week. Honestly just glad it hit during a slow time. But still I guess it is what it is. Thanks for the advice and also for always being my sounding board, too 🙂

    1. I’ll have to make a new one like this come the slow season again. It’s nice to think that the BIG season is just around the corner and we’ll probably be begging for a break! Thanks for being my blogging bestie!

  2. This is a wonderful post. It’s informative and makes me like you even more!!! 🙂 Thank you for being human. 🙂 Confident and courageous, too. Good luck during a few of the slow moments…and the very busy ones, too. xoxo

  3. You know, better than anyone, that I needed this. Man, did I need to read this. It can be so hard when things slow down and yes, it can even make you think about walking away! I love your tips and am trying as hard as I can to improve my skills before the next quarter!

  4. Great advice and I love setting goals and developing processes. I am going to Mom 2.0 this year for the first time and am really excited about it. Are you going to any conferences this year Tamara?

    1. I meant to answer this! I didn’t to any. I contemplated BlogHer, but sometimes going to NYC is almost harder than flying somewhere far away. One of these days..

  5. I’m jealous of how many opportunities you get! I did notice there have been a lot less to apply for right now, but didn’t realize it is not just me that it is slow for!

    1. It’s only because I made a full time job of it! It took me years to get here and I don’t doubt that you’d have your own gifts to give to this industry as much, if you wanted to!

  6. Tamara, I’m just amazed- AMAZED at all you have done to monetize your blog and make a good living with all your gifts and HARD work!! I have always wanted to look into this, but didn’t think I was (my blog was) a good candidate for it. I love that you wrote this to help others out and that you have figured out how to not only endure those super hard slow seasons, but choose to thrive in them and discover new ways to grow and prepare for more.

    1. It’s definitely a labor of love, but I find that I know how to change with it and keep loving it. I hope it lasts! Fingers crossed! xoxo

  7. I think these 10 pieces of advice are helpful for anyone who works in a business that ebbs and flows. Of course, yay #9! Many professions have slow periods, and these are great ways to cope. Invest in yourself and that business will eventually come back!

  8. Great advice! I take a LOT of mini-breaks otherwise I’d burn out easily. This year has been good for me, and I’ve actually turned down quite a few jobs because I want to do less this year. I want to spend more time with my family and less time online. You’ve been doing great and it only gets better.

  9. Great post Tamara! I’m definitely one to catastrophize. I’ve pretty much given up on doing sponsored posts, sadly. Even though I pitch and pitch, and take classes, and study and work hard – I think my age is against me. Even when I first started blogging 4 years ago I got lots of work, and my numbers and engagement were terrible. Now my numbers are better & I have a pretty loyal following, but it’s crickets from clients. It’s pretty frustrating because there’s nothing I can do about my age :)! I think it’s time to move on to something else!

  10. i think we have to learn to sit with the uncomfortable and understand in these moments that there is a plan in place. Making daily, weekly and monthly goals help keep me on track.

  11. I used to feel the “slow blogger season” and who knows, maybe everyone’s season is different – but honestly, I haven’t felt a “slow season” since maybe last year around this time. Since May of last year it’s been GO GO GO for me, which is a HUGE blessing. That being said, to fill in the gaps of the busy season… I always find things to fill my content with, be it trying out new recipes for the blog, taste tests, going on new adventures… We can’t focus on the slow times because that might make us think too much about our self-worth and think that we are not good enough, when really, slow season has nothing to do with YOU specifically !!

    1. No, I’m really with you. I think I get some of my most exciting opps in first quarter and I’ve learned from some great mentors that if you’re really doing things right by yourself, the slow season isn’t so slow. I am pretty busy! Not newborn baby busy, though!!

        1. And yet again, I’m with you! Scarlet was so easy. I was afraid to say it aloud back then because everyone was struggling but I really wasn’t. I LOVED being a mama and Scarlet slept all day long and never cried. Ever. That said, ask me how it was when she was three and Des was born and I was building two businesses. I thought I might die.

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