Do you also feel like the environment around you is changing faster than before? That the tools and processes you built your business on no longer work at all, or at least not the way you were used to? That everyone around you has easily adapted to the trends, only you are standing on the sidelines worrying about how to get enough clients and at least make enough money to cover your costs?

Something changes in the market almost all the time. But there are times when the changes seem somehow bigger and faster to us. This year, these three trends in particular strike me as significant:

Social media reach is falling

Social networks are no longer the easy and free tool to reach customers. Gone are the days when it worked to put a few content posts and one sales post in between. Valuable content is created by a lot of people, so it’s hard to be visible. And even if you have thousands of fans, some of your posts are not seen by anyone at all. Oddly enough, it’s usually the ones where you’re trying to sell something.

There’s a second thing I see as worse. Whenever you want to put a link on a network, you’re choosing between customer convenience and algorithm rules. Complying with the algorithm is kind of harassing the clients. I don’t believe anyone enjoys searching for a link among 150 comments or writing YES under a post and then interacting with an AI in the chat. If you comply with the customers and put the link right at the end of the post, you risk it immediately disappearing into the sinkhole of history.

Still, we don’t control social networks. So it’s worth relying on other tools alongside them, such as your own website or email database.

The online boom has passed

You feel this quite clearly especially if you started your business during the pandemic or converted your services to online form under its influence. Online courses and webinars just don’t pull anymore. Especially the “dead” ones, as I call self-study courses.

Lots of people openly state that they prefer to meet people in 3D rather than on the screen. So it could easily seem that time is playing into the hands of live events. It would be true if we hadn’t gotten too comfortable over the last few years. From what I see around me, most people are considering whether it’s really worth swapping their comfy sweatpants and slippers for presentable clothes and going somewhere.

Online events and courses still work. But you have to take into account that people are already a bit over-saturated with them and are carefully considering what to spend their precious time on. It also seems to me that participants in courses are behaving much more passively. They ask fewer questions, they watch the live broadcasts more often from a recording, and the willingness to share something with other participants has also decreased. As creators, we need to take this into account and think more about how to engage participants.

AI is everywhere

Even if you don’t use specialised tools to generate text or images, you still can’t avoid AI in the online world. It’s part of photo editing programs, online translators and web browsers. It transcribes text from video, creates subtitles, proofreads, invents logos, and removes backgrounds and unwanted objects from images.

Sometimes he creates six-fingered women, levitating glasses and five-legged dogs. She can also tell you to turn left at the Slovak-Spanish border or add pork belly and dumplings to a Vietnamese specialty. But these are childhood illnesses that will probably get better with time.

A lot of graphic designers, illustrators and translators are worried about their jobs. Copywriters have mostly learned to use AI and teach others how to write good prompts. Some freelancers have quickly jumped on the new wave, others can’t help but wonder. In contrast, craftspeople and physiotherapists are always busy for months ahead. As long as there are less routines and more human touch in your work, I think you can stay fine.

Some practical tips

To me, doing business in uncertain times means not being afraid to look for new solutions. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Calm down

Seriously. This too shall pass. Business always comes in waves. There’s practically always a crisis raging somewhere, and constant change is pretty much the only thing you can count on.

So take a deep breath. Feel the air flow in through your nostrils, down into your belly, and then out again. Repeat several times. And come back to it every time you start to panic.

2. Go back to your WHY

Why did you start your business in the first place? What service or product were you missing in the market? Who did you want to help? And what did you plan to change in the world?

Maybe those things already seem too distant, unrealistic and buried under a pile of tasks, invoices and daily responsibilities. Maybe it’s too far in the past. And maybe that little flame of passion that burned somewhere deep inside of you is fading or extinguished.

Whenever you feel uncertainty, it makes sense to revisit your WHY. To try to fan that flame and add a little more. At least by checking whether is it still there.

If the original reason has run its course and doesn’t really ignite you any more, it’s time to find a new one. Something that motivates you, brings you joy and warms your heart. Because you can’t really run a good business without it.

3. Go deep

If you feel like you’re doing everything right, following the marketing rules and learned practices, but somehow it’s not working, the problem is probably hiding a layer down. The same is true if you’re overwhelmed and lacking ease in business.

I’m persuaded that entrepreneurship is a kind of personal development. It puts obstacles in our way so that we can look at ourselves, process our inner wounds, and come out stronger on the other side. When you add up the individual digits of 2024, you come up with an 8, which in Tarot is the card of Strength. Its theme is exactly that.

What can you try?

  • Go to therapy. Or coaching, EFT, regression, constellations, or an astrological consultation. Anything you believe in that will help you fight your introjects and inner saboteurs.
  • Discuss it with your spirit guides. Maybe you already work with them, but haven’t thought to do business with them yet. If you don’t have any yet, start with Soul of your Business. Maybe you’ll add some more.
  • Share this with other entrepreneurs. You’ll often find that we all have similar insecurities. And you might even gain some effective ways to work with them. A great format that doesn’t skim the surface and brings valuable insights is a mastermind group.

4. Make a strategy

Whatever happens in the market, success in business usually comes when you know what you’re doing. And when you take each step consciously. Strategy is not rocket science, you just need to answer a few basic questions, and then link the answers together.

You can consider:

  • How much money do I want to make per month? Is it realistic to achieve this with my existing products, or do I need something else?
  • What can I do well? What are my strengths? What is my competitive advantage? Conversely, where do I not feel strong or strong in my crunches?
  • What customers do I want to reach? Who is my heart client? What does he or she demand, where does he or she hang out, what does he or she crave and what does he or she fear?
  • How high is my budget? And what other resources do I have at my disposal?
  • Which tools will help me achieve my goals? What of what I’m already doing is working? What can I stop doing? And what new things can I try instead?

Start by making an appointment with yourself. Sit down for at least an hour in a coffee shop or in a comfy chair at home and mentally engage with your business. If you feel like you can’t do it alone, you can come in for a consultation.

5. Value your clients

Sometimes, your customers may make you a little angry. You may feel like they’re demanding, making things up, don’t know exactly what they want, or that there simply aren’t enough of them. It seems perfectly normal to me. For a freelancer, sometimes it’s all just too much, so there’s no point in getting angry even at yourself about it.

Instead, try to remind yourself of the good things your clients bring you. Think of all the successful contracts. Read a few testimonials your clients have written (if you don’t have any yet, it´s a good time to ask for them). Recognize how you are improving and changing their lives, and how they are moving forward because of your services as well.

Imagine them standing in front of you. Feel gratitude for having them. And then try to send them some of that love you feel. Give them a mental wave, a pat on the cheek, or an air kiss. You’ll probably start to feel better. But maybe something will change on the outside, too.