The holiday season is upon us and it can feel extra busy and stressful when you run your own business during this time of year. Today, I wanted to offer you some tips to help you put some cash in your pocket and manage your schedule.
Manage Your Money
Let’s talk about money first. We’re usually hoping to make a little extra cash during the holidays in order to buy gifts, hold parties and either get away from it all or visit relatives. There are a couple of ways that you can bring in more cash during the holiday season.
If you need a little more client work to help meet your financial needs, consider offering a holiday discount on your services. Be sure to tell all of your regular clients about it and offer them an extra discount if they refer a new client during this time. Getting that extra business can help with your cash flow.
If you offer information products in your VA business, consider having a sale on the items and promote it like crazy. Take advantage of this tactic. People are used to holiday deals and specials, and everyone loves a good bargain.
Don’t forget affiliate sales. Perhaps you promote some tools, software or products to your clients. Take this time to check in and see if any of the products that you’re an affiliate for are having holiday sales and be sure to tell your clients about it, using your affiliate link, of course. They’ll thank you for helping them save money.
Manage Your Time
Let’s move on to time management during the holidays. There are so many extra things going on. We need time to shop, visit relatives and friends, attend the kids’ school pageant and prep for holiday meals.
Check Your Schedule
Look over your schedule for the month and allot extra time for all the personal stuff that will be going on in your life. Consider cutting back your work hours so that you can get everything at home accomplished.
Set Days Off
Don’t be afraid to set clear dates that you will not be working and inform your clients of those dates. And stand firm with them. If you come across a client who has an issue with this and expects you to work straight through, consider if your values are really aligned and if this is a person you want to continue working with. In most cases, chances are that they will have no problems with it as they want time off with their families, too.
Yes, work is important, but remember that one of your reasons for starting this business was probably so that you could be flexible with your time and live life on your own schedule. The holidays are a time for you to focus a bit more on personal than on work. Take full advantage of this wonderful position that you’re in with being able to work from home so that you don’t miss any of the special moments, time with friends and loved ones and experiences of what this time truly means to you.
Here are some time management tips to help you make the most of what you have:
Set A Schedule – Write down all of the things you need to do, in business and in life. Create a schedule that works for you to get all of these things done. We all have different lives and time constraints. Maybe you can devote your mornings to your business or maybe you can only work on your business a couple nights per week. Decide when you can fit “working” hours into your schedule and pencil them in.
Time Yourself – Many of us underestimate the time it actually takes to complete tasks. That leads us to over scheduling, and then we feel bad when we can’t get everything on our lists done. Time yourself on your basic tasks and get a realistic time frame for how long it takes to complete everything.
Plan Your Day – Once you know how long things take, you can realistically plan your day. Get out your schedule with your “working hours” penciled in and then decide what tasks you can fit into those designated times.
Automate – Chances are, you can automate many of your tasks, such as social media. Instead of spending hours writing social media updates every day, you can use a free tool called HootSuite, and spend a chunk of time writing them on ONE DAY. You can set up the day and time you want them to appear in the future.
Delegate – You can also free up some of your time by delegating tasks, whether it’s small tasks for your business, wrapping gifts, or cooking dinner for the family, you don’t have to do everything yourself.
Don’t forget that one of the biggest lessons in time management is knowing that it’s okay to take a break from business to enjoy your life. You will never get everything done. Get the important stuff done and then enjoy some free time.