Once the weather starts to change and the temperatures start to heat up, business owners from all walks of life start to have something in common: they start to lose the motivation to work on their business! And without motivation, there is no such thing as “productive.”
If you find this happening to you, there could be any number of different reasons behind it. You may have been working hard all winter and are ready for a break; people tend to socialize more in warm weather so you may have a bunch of weddings, parties, reunions, and other gatherings coming up; and if you are a Mom, whatever time you had to work on your business during the rest of the year can easily slip once the kids get out of school for summer….
1.Develop An Organisation System
If you don’t already have an organisation system for your business, now is definitely the time to start. Different people work best with different systems, so unfortunately, I can’t tell you which type to use. Some people like paper systems, because they can cross items off their list as they complete them. Some people like digital planners because they can send their lists to their phones, etc.
Google Calendar can be a mix between both, as you can set appointments online and then print out your calendar as well. You can also view it from your phone, and have reminders go off on your phone and computer, as well.
Personally, I like the feeling of crossing things off a to-do list, and I like hanging things on my notice board, so paper is what works for me. But like I said, everyone is different. Find what works for you and go with it!
2. Start Planning
The first step in taking time off in your business is to start planning for it. How much time do you need to take off? You need to know how much work you need to do in advance so that your business doesn’t fall apart when you take the time off.
Let’s say you want to plan for a two week holiday. Well, if you blog 3 times per week, that’s 6 blog posts. You’ll also want to plan for your Twitter and Facebook status updates, as well as any promotions you are going to do before taking off on your holiday.
On the other hand, if you are going to be working a reduced scheduled, you need to plan for that, as well. For example, if you normally work 20 hours per week within your business, but need to cut it down to 10 hours per week in the summer, it’s time to figure out how much you need to do each week, so you can start working extra now to make up for it, and to make sure you schedule the most important tasks in your limited hours.
When you figure out how much work will need to be done, don’t feel overwhelmed. We’re taking this one step at a time. You don’t have to do everything in one night.
Look at the big goal, and work backwards. Using the first example of someone who is going on a two week vacation, let’s say you have four weeks before you leave. Well, if you wrote two extra blog posts for the next three weeks, you’d have the six you will need, plus one extra week to schedule your Twitter and Facebook updates to let people know when new posts are published.
3. Work Smarter
Now is the time to start working smarter, not harder. Like I said earlier, you can write posts now, and schedule them to publish later.
If the idea of writing extra blog posts gives you a big case of blogger’s block, start doing the following:
- Reuse old content – Take the content that is already on your blog and re-use it in a new way. Some examples include “Top 10 Lists,” where you list the links to some of the best tips you’ve previously written. If you don’t write tips per se, you can still use that idea and just call it a “My Faves” post where you list the links to some of your favorite previous blog posts.
- Get Readers To Create Content – Get your readers to help you create some content! Ask a question and ask them to answer it!
- Guest Posts – Ask some of your favorite bloggers to guest post on your blog! You can ask them to write an original blog post, or ask for permission to post one of the posts that was previously written on their blog.
When it comes to taking time off during the summer, technology is your best friend! All of the major blogging platforms let you write posts now and schedule them in advance. Your email newsletter service should be the same way. It would be impossible for me to know the facts on every single service out there, but all the ones that I know allow you to create your newsletter now and send it later.
Hootsuite (www.hootsuite.com) allows you to schedule social network updates, such as Twitter and Facebook. Once you schedule your blog post and have the link for it, you can sign in to HootSuite and schedule an update with the post title and link on the publish date. It’s like you are right there, publishing it live at your computer, even though you are out on your holiday!
Delegating can be hard. Really hard. It’s funny – you start a business because you want to be your own boss, but it can be really hard to start bossing other people around. Doing that requires letting go – and your business is a lot like your baby, and putting that “baby” into someone else’s hands can cause you lots of anxiety and worry.
But eventually, you’re going to have to learn to trust, and start letting go…
You can let go in small steps. Let someone write your newsletter. Let someone else answer your customer service questions. Let someone else post your items to your Etsy shop… Let someone else do what you are comfortable with. When the world doesn’t fall apart, let them do another task.
So, where are you supposed to find these people? Well, you can hire one. Look online for a virtual assistant, there are lots of BizMums Members who could help you so if you are a member ask in the BizMums Members Facebook group. You can go to sites like elance.com and guru.com, where you can post your job opening, and qualified people can “bid” on it.
These people will tell you how much they would charge you to take on the job. Now, don’t just pick the cheapest one. Look at their past work references! Just because it’s “cheap” doesn’t mean it’s good, and just because it’s “expensive” doesn’t mean it’s the best choice. Look at their past work and let that be your guide. Of course, you can also send a shout-out through Twitter or Facebook and see if any of your “friends” are interested in a side gig.
Another option is to find an intern. In most cases, interns do not get paid, but they should be learning something. So, you might be working with someone who has never used Twitter before. That’s okay. You can teach them! Yes, it will take more time, but you are getting some work done for free, so you’re going to have trade in some time for that exchange.
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