The summer season seems to find business owners in one of two very different camps: busier than ever or slow and quiet. When I was working with clients I typically found myself with a much lighter workload during summer, which is nice but also a little unnerving. Then, I distinctly remember the summers where I had more inquiries than I knew what to do with!
Regardless of what your client schedule is looking like right now, I have 5 things you can do before summer is over to set yourself up for success for the rest of the year.
1 | Learn something new
If your inbox is a little quieter than normal, I highly recommend taking some time over the next couple of months to hit the
books web and learn something new for your business. Maybe you pull out that course you didn’t finish last year or you invest in a new training, having the extra room in your schedule means you have more time to work on your business not just for it.
If you’re not sure where to start, I recommend taking a course from someone that can help you improve your process with clients or learn how to bring forth that new product to life for your customers. For example, last year I took a few courses that took a deeper dive into parts of the design process that I already knew but wanted to improve for my clients. Not only was it fun to learn from some of my favorite people, but when client inquiries started coming in, I felt excited to apply the new things I learned!
2 | Update your website
Take a second right now to think about the last time you updated your website. Whether it was getting a new design, writing new copy, updating your photography, or literally just updating themes and plugins on the back end. I’ve said this in other blog posts, but it’s so easy as business owners to get caught up in the day-to-day of working with clients and marketing ourselves and leave our website to gather digital cobwebs.
Start with simple maintenance
If you’ve been logging into your site and getting bombarded with the little red dots about all of the updates you have to run, it’s time to finally take care of those. Leaving updates for themes and plugins is not only an annoying reminder, but it can leave your site at risk of getting hacked. So, backup your site, and start updating!
Check your copy
It’s also important to regularly check your copy and the pages on your website in general to make sure you’re talking to the right people. How many times have you been to someone’s website after visiting their Instagram profile and felt a little confused on who they were actually marketing themselves to or what services they actually offered? Make sure your website is still touching on the pain points of the people you want to work with, especially if that’s changing. Update the pages that list your availability.
Update your design + photography
When is the last time you had new photos taken for your brand? What about the last time you gave your website a refresh? If summer is a slow time for you, this is a great time to do some behind the scenes work on your design. Maybe you’re ready to get a more strategic theme for your site or finally invest in a custom website design. Why not use this time to make sure your design is driving your business forward and helping you hit your goals?
3 | Create a new work schedule
One of the best things about working for yourself is that you get to set your schedule. I’ve always loved waking up in the morning knowing I define what my day looks like – when I work, what I work on, and such. However, sometimes having that kind of freedom leads to procrastination. Just kind of going with the flow with loose deadlines can lead to you not really getting much done for your business and always working to get things done at the last minute.
If you’ve found yourself in that sort of endless loop and wishing you had time to get ahead or improve things for your business, then use summer to create a new weekly schedule for yourself. Maybe you create themed days where spend each day of the week working on one specific thing for your business. My best friend used to do this, and talks a little more about her themed days here.
Even if you don’t (or can’t) create themed work days in your week, it’s at least a good idea to take a good look at what you spend your time on throughout the week. It’ll give you a sense of when you work best, what all you have on your plate, and how you can structure your days to be more productive.
4 | Outsource what you can
Building off my last point, knowing what you have on your to do list every day will help you figure out what you can start outsourcing in your business. I know not everyone is in a place to take on some kind of assistant, but here’s the thing: if you remove even 1 task from your weekly to do list, that’s more time you can spend with family, doing work for your clients, or showing up and working on your business.
If I’m being honest, I’ve always been reluctant to outsource because I usually end up thinking to myself “If I can do it, why should I hire someone to take care of it for me?” But when push comes to shove, I’ve still gotten help on a handful of things for my business throughout the years, and I can tell you without a doubt that it feels so good for things to get done while I focus on bigger or more important tasks.
If you’re not sure where to start, maybe you let someone take care of scheduling your blog posts and newsletters or creating graphics for Pinterest. Those are relatively small tasks that can end up taking way too long, and it’s a great way to start outsourcing even if you don’t have a lot of income to spare. Another great thing to outsource is video / audio editing. If you’re creating videos for YouTube or you have your own podcast, think about how much time you’d save yourself if someone else managed all of that work for you.
5 | Take time off
Last, and certainly not least, I’d love to see more people take some time for themselves this summer, especially if your workload is typically pretty light during the summer months. I don’t necessarily mean you have to take an entire month away from your business or go on an extravagant vacation to another country, but what if you took half a day off every week to spend some extra time with your kids before they head to school? If you don’t have kids, maybe you take a four day vacation and sight see around the city you live in. Take a week off to go to the beach with your loved ones.
Every time I step away from my business, whether it’s legitimately shutting down for the weekend, taking time off to visit family, or a longer holiday vacation, when I am ready to get back to work I’m always so excited and reinvigorated. I can’t wait to dive in and work on new projects or start working with new clients. Even if you can’t take time off during your work week right now, think about how you can take some extra time on the weekend to fully relax away from business so you can get back to work on Monday with excitement and joy.
There’s still five months left this year to get things done and accomplish your goals, so why not use some extra time this summer to set yourself up for success the rest of the year?
Will you make room in your schedule for one of these things this summer? Head over to Instagram and let me know!