Prep Your Business for the Holidays Like a Boss
It’s almost time to switch from Pumpkin Spice to Peppermint! That means it’s time to firm up details for our businesses now so we can fully enjoy the holidays with our family & friends. We asked 11 women what they’re doing to prep ahead of time for their business so they can watch all their favorite Christmas movies without feeling guilty. But how can this be? Is stepping away from your business during the busiest time of year a good idea? It is if you plan ahead! These business owners know they’ve already laid the groundwork to maximize their earning potential and make sure their clients are taken care of. Take a peek and tear a page from their book, because every business owner deserves to enjoy the holidays! Stay boss. xx -G
“The holidays are my busiest time BY FAR. As a product-based business, I do almost half of my income during the stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It gets intense around here. But I prepare by making sure all of my deadlines are clear, my shipping supplies are stocked, the Hallmark Channel is turned on, and I've got lots of caffeine. And I typically bring on holiday help. But I also give myself a clear cutoff date. The holidays are for me, too, not just my customers. So I make sure I add in some time to celebrate with my family… and I'm not still shipping on December 24th!”
St. Petersburg, FL
“First off, we’re talking about the holidays already!?! I always forget about the holidays ’til last minute… then all of a sudden it’s that time.. and I’m panicked. But not this year— I put systems in place! Holidays for my business are two folds.
1) Holiday Portraits for all those cards and gifts.
Social Media is key. I reuse posts and ads from years past and reach out to past clients. As a destination wedding photographer ,I have clients all over the country. This works well for my portrait sessions as I am also a “Gypsy Photographer” and travel a lot. In the Fall, I do portrait sessions in all the locations I visit (California, Michigan, Florida... this year Europe. Plus twice a year I hit the states between Florida and Michigan as a road trip in between my two homes. I advertise and push my “portrait tours” so I also get to see my awesome couple as their families grow.
2) Holiday Gifts. Every year in the past, come November, when my email box is full of ‘Black Friday’, ‘Small Business Saturday’, ‘Cyber Monday’ hullabaloo.. I panic and think, “Shoot, what am I going to do?” Well, last year I created an automated email system to go out to all my past clients with a sale on prints that will happen without me having to even think about it!
My best advice to give about the holidays (although I don’t always follow it) is to plan for it in January. Create your systems way in advance, that way it’s already set when the craziness of the time is upon us and you can sit back with a glass of mulled wine and enjoy!
Also, I always say I’m going to do holiday cards to all my clients, but never do. It turns out Valentine’s Day works better for me.”
St. Petersburg, FL
“The great thing about being your own boss is I am in charge of my schedule, in the past I'm guilty of over working, but this year I plan to take time 'off' and 'unplug' to enjoy my family and friends. Going into the new year feeling refreshed and recharged!”
“In the retail space Holiday time is HUGE! We usually start planing months ahead of time with fabrics, designs and photography; so we can start marketing early! I would tell others to plan far ahead rather than be left trying to play catch up. If you're not ready for this holiday season it's never too early to start planning for next years!”
“Being a wedding stationery designer, good old fashioned snail mail plays a huge role in deadlines. When the holidays approach, I have to be really careful to make sure deadlines are met way before Thanksgiving or Christmas, otherwise things get lost in the mail. I am also a big believer in unplugging completely around the holidays, and spending 110% of my time being present with my family and friends. I also like to take that time to be creative without the pressure of a deadline. I put an away message up on my email, I usually write a little blurb about how I’m stepping away on social media, and I prep all of my clients with where we are at and when I’ll be back. Communication is key, so as long as I keep everyone in the loop, no one feels like I’ve vanished on them. I try to make sure I’ve scheduled due dates before and after those weeks, and I encourage my clients to do the same.”
St. Petersburg, FL
“The holidays are one of my favorite times of the year, namely because reliving them through my kids' eyes is seriously one of the most amazing experiences ever. While they're little, I'm trying to be super intentional about keeping my holiday months lighter work-wise, so that I can enjoy the s'more making, gingerbread decorating, and tree decorating to the fullest. In order to do that, I'm trying my very best to book projects well in advance by encouraging my existing clients to get on my calendars now before my time is booked up. This way, I can feel confident I have work lined up through the rest of the year, and still take the time I need to enjoy these awesome years with my kids.”
“The holiday season is tricky for us over at FF since winter is prime wedding season in Florida (hello cool weather!). The past few years it's been easy to get swept up in how great it is that business is booming and say yes to every project that comes our way but we have families and holidays to celebrate too (Christmas is seriously my jam), so we'll be a bit more deliberate about how much we bite off this year. We're also careful to knock off as much as we can prep-wise before mid-December so we can kick back and relax a bit and only tackle the events that are currently happening or hiccups that arise vs. our usual load of meetings, phone calls, timelines and vendor check ins. It's the time of year that I think is most important to set boundaries and practice a bit more self care so you don't miss out on all the wonderful festivities with friends and family.”
“Ohhhh, the holidays. That's a tricky time for us interior designers. Everyone wants their house done perfectly for those holiday parties and family gatherings. For us to be efficient and provide quality work, we have come up with a deadline date for all orders to be in to promise holiday time frames. Even then, it still makes me nervous! The great thing about the holiday time, is many of our workrooms are closed so we get to take some time off and rejuvenate and spend quality time with our loved ones as well!”
St. Petersburg, FL
“Who has time for Thanksgiving turkey when you’re in the middle of your busiest season? We hear you. Begin by knowing what is essential and saying yes to the right holiday campaigns in the right time. Decide how many seasonal campaigns you will provide for clients and what amount you want to make this quarter. Once you meet that amount, rest. If a brand is pushing for a sponsored content, offer a waiting list or counter offer to nurture your relationship for 2019. Then once you’ve worked hard and met your goals, it’s time to disconnect. Take a breather and celebrate. I spend the last week of the year preparing for 2019, creating content, and writing for new courses (mostly from my yoga pants on the couch).”
“Holiday prep is real! We spend the months leading up to October supporting our clients in choosing holiday content calendars and offers tailored for their industry. We also support them by creating customized graphics and advertisements and setting up social media AD campaigns to maximize their efforts. By the time the actual holidays hit, things calm down for us and we start looking forward to the next year!”
“We will be training our first full time employee, re-merchandising the entire studio and designing and creating a pop-up shop in Ybor City. We are doing our budgeting and buying now for some amazing new things to make holiday shopping even more fun. I am also starting to work out more and really enjoy my down time because come end of October, it’ll be nuts!”