The holidays are rapidly approaching. If you’re a solopreneur, being prepared is critical to getting through this season with your business (and your sanity) intact. If you handle the next few months appropriately, you may even end the year with a business that is stronger and more profitable than when it began. Here are a few things I do that have helped me do just that.
Notify Clients Well Before Taking Time Off
When you work as part of a team, your co-workers can help cover your projects or clients when you are off. You don’t have this luxury as a one-person business owner. If you aren’t on the clock, the work isn’t going to get done. Period.
That’s why I notify my clients one to two months before taking any time off. One, it puts them on notice that I will be unavailable during certain periods. Two, it also lets them know that they need to get me their projects well enough in advance for me to complete them before being off. If they wait until the last minute, I may not be able to provide the content they need.
The email I sent out just today to let my clients know of my upcoming time off was simple:
Good morning, [insert client’s name]!
With the end of the year rapidly approaching, I wanted to let you know well in advance what time I will be taking off during the holiday season. I will be unavailable for work:
Thursday, November 24th – Sunday, November 27th
Saturday, December 17th – Sunday, January 1st (the last two weeks of the year)
If you know that you will need any content during these times, please get it to me early to ensure that I can fit it in.
Thank you in advance and if you have any questions or concerns, please let me know!
All the best,
Keep a Detailed Schedule
The holidays can get incredibly busy, sometimes to the point where you can’t remember everything you have to do. It’s one thing to forget to take out the garbage. It’s another to miss an important deadline. Keeping a detailed schedule helps avoid this type of situation.
On your calendar, write down when each project you’re working on is due. Also note which work you have to complete on which days so you stay on target to hit your deadline, if not complete the project early—which can make your clients even happier with your level of service.
For example, every Monday evening, one of my clients gives me topics for three articles that need to be written that week. I put on my calendar to complete one on Tuesday, one on Wednesday, and one on Thursday. This ensures that I get them done, also keeping me from overbooking myself on these days solely because I forgot that I had to work on this content.
I also make note of all my personal and professional appointments on the same calendar. This helps me quickly see what time I have available each day to get my work done.
When you put dinner in the oven, you set a timer. If you have to take a medication at a certain time every day, you set an alarm on your phone. Taking the same approach for your work during the holidays can help keep items on your to-do list from falling through the cracks.
As an example, I have on my calendar this Friday to check in with a client if I’ve not received the project they promised to have earlier in the week. This tells them that I’m on top of things and going to follow up if the schedule gets thrown off. It also provides the opportunity to let them know what my schedule looks like in the days ahead and what that means for their work.
I’ve had numerous clients thank me for keeping them on task. Some just aren’t good with organization and they appreciate the help. Others got too busy themselves and simply forgot. By reminding them of these things, they know that I am part of their team, and they can count on me moving forward. This can go a long way in getting repeat business.
Build in Extra Time
Several of my clients have shared that one of the things they enjoy about doing business with me is my quick turnaround time. For smaller projects, I can generally get them a drafted piece in two to three days.
The problem with the holidays is that parties can pop up unexpectedly. Plus, there are extra trips to the store to pick up more groceries or gifts, and that’s not even taking into consideration the additional time that you need to get your house ready for a party or tend to other pre-holiday tasks. Any of these situations can force you to either work longer days or struggle to balance home and work.
Building extra time into your quotes during the holidays can keep your clients’ expectations in check without you having to burn the candle at both ends. If you can typically finish a project in two days, give yourself three or four. If you do get it done in your normal time, that’s great. You’ll look great because of it. And if something pops up that makes you take a bit longer, that’s okay too because you had the extra time to use.
Preparing your one-person business for the busy holiday season can help you enjoy time spent with family and friends, while tending to your business at the same time. As a bonus, you can take time off without feeling like you’ll pay for it later because you chose to plan in advance.short url: