7 things I do When Business is Slow in the Winter


7 things I do when business is slow during the Winter

I hate the endless grey and rain that we get in the winter.  It seems like the sky shuts up and doesn’t allow for a ray of sunshine for 7 months straight. On top of that, business tends to slow a little bit.  So, I’ve assembled a list of seven things I do to keep myself from being ravaged by depression.

Work less.  I don’t work as much during the winter.  Part of this is because I work so hard during the summer months when the days are long and the weather is good. I save as much as I can during these summer months to increase the savings cushion and create some slack in our finances. People move more during the summer months which causes more used items to be bought and sold. More remodels happen also in the summer, which leads to appliances being swapped out etc.   Also, the weather in Portland negatively impacts people’s buying/selling behavior in the winter. So I just kind of roll with the seasons and try not to get worked up about the ebbs.

Drink lots of coffee.  I live in Portland, Oregon, a city that almost worships coffee.  While I don’t take it quite that far, I do drink 30-60 ounces of the sweet, fresh roasted goodness each day.  It’s cold here in the fall and winter and seems to rains for 7 months straight.  Which is always a good reason for one to warm up in one of our hundreds of local coffee shops.

Exercise.  Spend a little extra time in the gym or pool.  Most people gain weight during the winter months and get depressed.  Use some of your extra time to exercise.  I talk more about the benefits in this post I wrote this last year.  How I lost 40 pounds in 5 months.  

Save money on household purchases.  I actually do this year round, but when I’m not working as much on Craigslist, I spend extra time getting the best deals.  This past week for example, I got a 6 month old queen bed for free.  I’m extraordinarily picky and waited patiently for a long time to find a really nice, low-cost or free bed. The other day I finally did.  It also came with a new frame.  I sold the metal frame for $30 and will make a little more when I sell our old bed.  No matter how you spin it, we basically got paid to swap our old bed out for a very nice new one. (That’s a savings of over $500 just for the mattress.)

Read.  Last winter I went on a reading bonanza, cranking out 14 books in a row.  Again the weather plays a big part in this.  I have a really hard time reading as much when things are very busy in the summer.  When it’s storming and cold outside it’s a lot easier to justify sitting in a coffee shop reading.  Besides, when I’m reading, I’m learning, and I’ve got a lot to learn.  I read a lot of business and finance books with a few books for entertainment mixed in. I’ll post the list of books soon, as I highly recommend them all.

Go on vacation.  Last January I took our family back out to the Big Island.  It was incredible.  We were there almost 3 weeks and was the highlight of our winter. We set our sights on it and spent the year setting aside money for the trip.  The winter months, outside of the Holiday’s, are the cheapest times to travel out to Hawaii.  Anyway, going somewhere warm when work is slow and the weather is nasty is a great way to break up the winter.  Try it out. I will write a post soon on how anyone can do it.

Spend more time with family and loved ones.   No one gets to the end of their life, and looking back, says “I spent too much time with my wife and children, my family, friends and those I care about.”  Business is important, but needs to be kept in perspective.

I’d love to hear some of your stories and things you do when business slows during the changing seasons?  What would you like to be doing?


  1. Great ideas. On the other hand, if you’re aggressive you can do even better in the winter with heavy items that people are more intimidated to move.

  2. I like the recommendations. Would love to hear a book list. My margins on bicycles are going way up as winter approaches. Nobody is buying so i’m able to negotiate much better deals when buying myself. Only issue i’m experiencing is finding room to store all my bikes until i can sell once it warms up.

  3. Good ideas when things are slow, Ryan. As I mostly buy and sell bikes on CL as a hobby and for a little extra cash the winter months in Minneapolis would seem to be pretty dead. However, with so many universities in the area I get students who have had their bikes stolen and call looking for a cheap replacement. I expected to get deals on bikes in late fall but I’m surprised how the prices people are asking are still right up there. One thing that has worked to build up stock is having a bargain-hunting wife. She goes to the thrift stores weekly and calls me when she finds a good bike to buy. She also makes sure to go on half-price day to get real deals.

    • Thanks for the note! Yeah, I’ve definitely had to be more creative when I was first starting out, especially in the winter. That’s awesome that you can partner up in the venture with your wife. My wife helps me sell a lot of things on ebay. Smaller items, clothes, smaller electronics etc.


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