How to “Summer Proof” Your Service-based Business

Summer is historically a slow time for service-based businesses. Your target audience is slowing down to take vacations, spend time with their family, and pump the breaks on the hustling that they’ve focused on in the first half of the year. And can you blame them? Chances are, you’re in the mood to do the exact same thing.

If you’re relatively new to business, or experiencing a slump for the first time, you might feel like hitting the panic button. Before you blow up your life or burn your entire business to the ground, take a breather. Remember, slow seasons are a natural part of entrepreneurship. More than that, there are ways that you can “summer proof” your business to make it easier to withstand the slow season both now and in the future.

Let’s talk about a few ways to make that happen:

Focus on the Big Picture

The online business space puts so much priority on quick wins that we often forget that businesses are supposed to support us for the LONG RUN. Do you think that big companies are profitable every single quarter? Hell to the no, they’re not. They’re positioned to take the hit and bounce back.

You are not a big company, and most likely don’t have the cushion that they have when it comes to taking the hit and bouncing back. But it’s time to build that cushion and start thinking big picture. Otherwise, you’re always going to be stuck in feast and famine mode.

When you’re living “paycheck to paycheck” in your business (or maybe, no paycheck to no paycheck), it can feel impossible to pull yourself out of the day to day and start focusing on the bigger picture. Taking a 10,000 foot view of your business and its future requires 10,000 feet of free space.

Instead of looking at a summer slump as the end of business as you know it (trust us, it’s not), why not look at it as the free time and space that you need to finally get 10 steps ahead? Take an entire workweek and dedicate it to your business growth. Use this time to map out the next year of your life. Here’s your schedule:


  • List out all of the administrative/operational tasks that you’ve been putting off. Don’t list big-picture items like “new client onboarding workflow.” Instead, get granular. List out every step of every single thing that you need to get done on the backend of your business. Don’t put content creation on this list, we’ll get to that later in the week.
  • Put on your favorite pump up album and spend the rest of the day MARATHONING through the list.


  • Spend the morning finishing whatever is left on the list from Monday. Now, you have all of your “catch up” work done and you have no excuse for not focusing on the future. Note: if finishing this list takes up all of your Tuesday, that’s okay! Start fresh on Wednesday morning.
  • Take a long lunch break because you deserve it. Bonus points if you can eat lunch outside with your favorite book for a nice brain break.
  • Spend your afternoon DREAMING. No planning allowed. If you’re a visual person, make a moodboard or vision board. If you prefer to write or list out your dreams, do that. No dream is too big or small. By the end of the day, I want you to have your head filled with visions of where you want your business to take you over the next year, three years, and five years with tangible goal posts for each (i.e. “in one year I’ll have all my high-ticket retainer spots filled,” “in three years I’ll have two full-time team members,” “in five years we’ll have an in-person office space in NYC.”)


  • With your dreams written out, it’s time to make a plan of action. The remainder of this week you’re going to focus on prepping yourself for your ONE YEAR goal(s), then the next time you do this (maybe as a quarterly planning session?) you can focus on the three and five year goals as well.
  • Sit down with a full year calendar, digital or analog (whichever you prefer, we like to print it out and put pen to paper but that’s a personal choice). 
  • Start by marking out holidays/OOO days and slow seasons (the weeks before and after you’re taking a vacation, days that you want to have off, the entire month of December because let’s be real–it’s not happening)
  • What you’re left with is a calendar that tells you when to NURTURE and when to SELL. During slow seasons you’re nurturing, starting conversations and raising awareness with your audience, and having fun. Throughout the rest of the year you’re warming up and selling to your audience. What you’re selling and how you’re nurturing depends on your business.
  • If you are planning to launch new products or services over the course of the year in front of you, find space on your calendar for that (reserving at least 2 months for the launch period). If you are simply focusing on selling your existing products or services, use your SELL spaces on the calendar to do just that, focusing on one offer at a time.
  • Mark all of this on your calendar, then log out for the day. 


  • Now that you have an entire YEAR’S sales and nurture schedule in front of you, it’s time to map it all out. Go through each “phase” of the year and break it down into action steps–what do you need to support you operationally? What kind of content do you need to market and nurture? What systems, templates, or processes do you need in place? List it all out, phase by phase, in granular detail.
  • Start with the phases that cover the next six months of business, make a to-do list for everything that you need to get done, and start doing. Write canned emails, map out templates, plan your content, creating the baseline of whatever you need to support your goals for the next six months.
  • If you have an especially busy next six months, then just focus on getting all of that done. No need to worry about the six months afterwards.


  • Continue the work that you were doing yesterday or, if you’ve already finished the first six months, move onto the next six months.
  • If you finish early, call it a weekend.

You might not complete everything you need to get done during this week. But doing a work sprint like this is a great way to pull yourself out of the day to day and start focusing on the future of your business. Great entrepreneurs are always thinking 1-5 years ahead. Use this slow season to start making moves like a great entrepreneur.

Nurture in the Summer, Catch up in the Fall

Instead of panicking about slow sales in the summer, why not use the extra time to strengthen your relationship with your audience so that you can catch up with (and maybe even surpass???) your sales goals in the fall? Sales don’t have to be steady throughout the year for you to have a great year in business. In fact, the majority of businesses have a busy season that compensates for their slow season. Look at this time as yours.

Do market research about what your audience wants and needs from you in the coming months. Build relationships with your peers and potential collaborators. Have fun.

If you start spending your time nurturing connections while things are slow, you’ll see it pay off when things pick back up in the fall.

Launch Something Low Ticket

Sometimes it’s not that your sales are slow. It’s that your offers aren’t right for the moment. During the summer, people don’t want to make massive time and money commitments. They don’t want to spend their time glued to their computers. They want to enjoy their lives.

But that doesn’t mean that they won’t enjoy a quick and easy win. Whether you’re distilling the most important part of your signature service into an hour-long masterclass, or you’re creating a fill-in-the-blank template for something that you’re well known for, try taking something that your audience wants from you, turning it into a low-ticket product or service, and launching it over the summer. The results might surprise you.


Remember, slow seasons are a natural part of business. As a solo entrepreneur or leader of a lean team there is a lot of pressure to continue to set the bar higher month over month. That is simply not sustainable. So, instead of beating yourself up over something that you really can’t control, try to manage what you can.

For more tips on how to take a big-picture approach to running your small, service-based business, click here to receive our bi-weekly newsletter.