At the time of writing this blog, Christmas is only 5 weeks away…..eeeekkk!
When you have a small business, like I do, it is important to prep for the holiday season: the children will be home from school (and home is where your office is!), you might be taking time off to spend with the family or you might be travelling; taking a proper holiday or visiting relatives.
It doesn’t really matter what you have planned, the Christmas holiday means a change in routine – a change in your working days and hours because you want to make the most of time with family! The good thing is as a small business owner you can do all of the above…..BUT it needs some planning!
Re-plan your days and hours
There are a few options here. The first one is to keep the same amount of working hours but structure them differently over your week. Make sure you have all the important dates written down: start of the school holiday, outings, birthdays, Christmas, when you are travelling etc. The next step is to plan what a working day with kids at home would look like and how you can fit it all in, do you need to get reinforcements in place in the form of grandparents or a babysit? If so, book them asap!
I have teenagers so they are, usually, in bed till about 11am and then generally don’t really need me till about lunchtime :-). So during the Christmas holiday I get up early and make sure I am behind my computer at 6am! IF you have little ones, however, it is slightly more complicated. You could move your working hours to early morning (before they wake up), nap times and evenings. If that does not work for you, you might need to look into the option of hiring someone for a couple of hours a week to look after the kids so you can get the necessary work done.
Also, if your children are old enough, explain that you will have to work some hours during the holiday and that they will have to entertain themselves or have someone look after them.
If above is not an option or you are planning on travelling or just really taking the holiday season off, it is best to work with an Associate. An Associate is a Virtual Assistant who you contract to cover your work. You normally sign a contract with an Associate for a longer period of time. Obviously this is all quite delicate as this person is going to take on some of YOUR work, working with YOUR clients, so there are a few things to consider: You want to look for someone with the same work ethics and values and you want to make sure your Associate has the right skills to take on the tasks you give them.
The best place to try and find an Associate is in your direct circle of contacts. You are probably a member of different Facebook Groups, Network Groups and/or Linkedin Groups. Put your feelers out and ask around. Once you have identified a few people make sure you do interviews and once you have found the right person, make sure you sign a contract!
If you don’t want to work with an Associate, you can contract work out through a company like Fiverr. Fiverr works ore like an agency wher you can hire a freelancer on an adhoc basis. Great for if you have a couple of little projects over the Christmas period that need finishing.
Automate your business as best as you can
This is an important one! We live in a digital world and quite a few aspects of your business can be automated. I am talking about your blogs, newsletter and social media posts. To do this you first need to make sure you plan all your content well in advance to make sure it is ready before you break up for the Christmas holiday. Then make sure you automate as much as you can. There are so many digital tools out there to help you with this: Convertkit for your newsletters and blogs, Tailwind to schedule all your pins and Instagram posts, Hootsuite for Twitter and Smarterqueue for Twitter and Facebook…to name a few.
Make sure you have it all scheduled because you will be amazed at how many people check their social media over the Christmas holiday!
As you can see the underlying message is PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!
Having above systems in place will make sure you reduce your stress levels during the Christmas holiday, which means you can enjoy your mulled wine and minced pies. It also means your business will keep running and you can thoroughly enjoy your time off!
How are YOU preparing your business for the Christmas holiday? Let me know in the comment box.