I don’t know about you, but I could literally feel the season shift the past few days as we approach the big shopping kickoff weekend (talkin’ bout you Black Friday + Cyber Monday).
You can feel that little magic in the air (mixed with a whole lot of anxiety).
Some of you are full-steam ahead on holiday sales, craft fairs, and events; while I know others of you are working on holiday + hitting a few more goals before the year closes out.
There’s just something about the end of year (I mean, besiiides the holidays) that leaves us feeling like we need to get all.the.things. done in order to check off the year as a success.
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So if you’re feeling the stress + overwhelm yet still have items you want to check off your list this year… here’s how I’m tackling it:
1 | Treat yourself like an employee
Yes, you’re the CEO, but when running solo we often find ourselves flitting around from task to task. Because it’s only us, and we can, and sometimes just putting out mini fire drills seems more productive than planning our day.
But that only works for so long.
I learned this the really hard way when I went from being an associate buyer (where you basically manage your own business with guidance from the buyer, your manager) to being the buyer. I was now a manager for two other people and coming in each day and just working through tasks wasn’t going to cut it.
When you’re accountable to others, you quickly realize you need to give direction and have clear ideas of what needs to get accomplished.
So treat yourself as both CEO + employee: give yourself weekly/daily tasks to accomplish just as if you had hired someone to do them. Setting up those priorities helps you hold yourself accountable.
2 | Understand your stress triggers
Knowing your usual reactions to stress can help you identify + overcome it and essentially call yourself on your ish.
My stress response? AVOIDANCE. (which spoiler alert: really doesn’t work.) I will just shut down and pretend my emails don’t exist. But they do and they will and avoiding them makes it 100x worse.
After having a few ‘come to Jesus moments’ at work with my email, I realized I needed to accept this was how I handled stress; but also come up with a better plan.
So when I’m stressed out, I don’t check my email first thing in the morning. I let myself come in, get real work done for a few hours and then check it at 11am before getting up for lunch. Then I’ll check it once more for about an hour at the end of the day.
Giving myself permission to avoid my inbox first thing has really helped me feel like I’m making progress on my to do list, which reduces my stress + anxiety.
I now use time blocking to help with my schedule. If you’re not familiar, time blocking is when you set aside dedicated chunks of time during the day to work on ‘x’ activity. And that activity isn’t defined down to the to-do list level, but more so “Monday 8am-10am, I run reports + review business”.
I read about using Strategic vs. Buffer blocks and found that helped me keep my priorities in line, so I didn’t dedicate too much time to “filler activities” (like answering emails or scrolling Facebook groups). Essentially, Strategic blocks are a longer 3-hour period where you do nothing but work on your strategic + money-making activities. And your buffer blocks are meant to handle the lower-payoff* or unplanned work – like responding to emails or Instagram comments.
(*By lower-payoff I certainly don’t mean they’re not important, necessary, or even a big part of your customer service or community strategy. BUT when building a business, they’re not the items that will really move and drive your business.)
Maybe yours is something else. Maybe you tend to over or under eat. Or you have a hard time sleeping. Take a few moments to recognize and acknowledge your stress. We all feel it!
Then find a few ways that you can accept your stress, look it in the face, and then plan for it.
If you forget to eat, prep small snack dishes on Sundays. Or set an alarm. Or ask your husband or friend to sit with you for a quick dinner.
You’re probably not going to “get over” your stress. It’s a freaking busy time. But you can plan for and around it.
3 | Get your personal ish in order
Schedule those appointments, get help with meal planning, set aside 20 mins for a face mask.
Natasha has an amazing meal planner centered all around saving time + headaches around meal prep; while still making space for gathering friends and family around your table. If you’re interested, I definitely recommend you check it out! Natasha Red Shop
Whatever YOU need to do this holiday season, schedule it in (mine is to get my nails painted before we’re about to literally jump in the car).
I talk about this further in this post, 3 Decisions You’ll Need to Make During the Holiday Season, but it’s important to call out again.
We all have personal things to take care of. That’s just the reality. No matter how important your business is (and I know it is), there’s still things you’ll want to take care of or be upset about if you don’t do.
So take some time to schedule them in and let it be ‘okay’ that it’s part of your day; instead of a last-minute interruption.
4 | Automation station
How many tasks do you repeat each day, with each order, or each week? Are you set up efficiently? Could you move one of those tasks off your plate during this busy season?
One area we all struggle with is time lost on social media — and unfortunately social media isn’t “our job”. It’s a task to support and market our work. Don’t fall into the trap of feeling “productive” because you scrolled through 10 facebook groups (ahemm kate, ahemmmm)
I started using PostPlanner to schedule my Facebook posts in advance (for both my page + group) and saw an immediate increase in reach + engagement on my posts.
It’s super simple to set up + has a built-in content search so it’s fast to find articles and comments to share.
5 | Create a promotional plan
When I asked in my stories the other day, a majority of you said you were still in progress planning your Black Friday sales. Set aside time TODAY to knock out your messaging.
Determine your offer, create your coupon codes, plan out social media posts, write your emails, create your graphics, schedule them all out.
I know your head just exploded.
But you CAN do this! And having everything written out + planned (I mean as much as possible – things will come up!) is going to make you feel sooo much better.
I think at one time or another we’ve all said something like, “I know what I need to do, making a plan will just take up time when I could be actually working!” , but it turns out that if you take the time to plan before starting a complex task (which let’s be honest, planning your holiday season is COMPLEX shit), you reduce the time it’ll take you to complete it by as much as 20 percent.
You have to do all the promotional activity to have a successful season anyway. So you might as well set aside time now to do them well + in advance. I promise it’ll make a difference.
If you’re really feeling like you don’t have the time to figure it all – I get it + I got you.
You can join the Holiday Promo Playbook where there’s actionable worksheets and marketing plug + plays that lay out what to say and when + where to post.
As in: 2 days before – post this, 1 day before – share this…
You’re not just learning fluff + nice to do’s.
You’ll get my exact plans for how to promote a new collection or launch, what you need to implement. The content calendars + timeline lay it allll out there:
- When to post
- On what marketing channel
- With what marketing message
- And a spreadsheet to keep it all organized + stress free
(And that’s just one part of it.)
Whether it’s your first year or you’ve been through this crazy holiday season a few times, it’s always better with a friend. And the Holiday Promo Playbook was designed to be just that… its strategies and prep work will be something you can return to again + again each year to refine and improve your shop.
So if you’re asking yourself, “Am I too late to plan a good Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale?”
My answer is heck no!
You can jump in today and have all your messaging written out in an hour.
There’s plenty of other tips + tricks in there too, but for right now – you can focus on the money making tasks for this year.
- How to prime customers to buy and what they need from you before they’ll purchase
- How to plan your marketing efforts in advance:
- what you should be prepping for
- a promotion checklist to ensure you don’t miss an important piece
- a ‘done for you’ content timeline to manage your promotions on social media + email