I love, love, love the summer. Day trips to the beach, dining al fresco, quaffing rosé. What’s not to love?
Work is typically a little quieter for me at this time of year, so it’s tempting to play hooky (would anyone really know if I snuck off to a matinee?) and spend less time working on my business. Sound familiar?
The good news is, with a little planning, entrepreneurs and freelancers can enjoy the flexibility that our business affords us AND return to a full pipeline post-Labor Day.
Here are a few tips:
1) Get clear on what you need to do.
What will it take for you to have the creative career or business that you want? If you know what your goals are, you can create a strategy to reach them. I know that even the word “strategy” sounds like a lot of work (and not at all summery!) so I’d like to share a tool that’s simple, effective, and great for visual people.
Take a piece of paper and write your goal, e.g. 3 retainer clients, at the center. As thoughts come to mind, draw branches from the central point and write them down (in as few words as possible). You can create sub-branches for additional thoughts/action items.
Your first draft will probably look like the work of a crazy person. Review, consolidate your ideas and create a new, prettier version (I use Coggle). It will look something like this:
You can take it one step further and put numbers next to each branch to indicate order of priority.
2) Create a schedule
Now you have a clear idea of what you need to do, you can create a schedule. If you know you need to spend 3 hours a day developing new products or marketing your business, you can choose to spread the work evenly throughout the week or frontload it so you can take Friday off and go to the beach. Either way, you can enjoy your downtime with a completely clear conscience.
3) Put everything in your calendar One of the biggest obstacles to a thriving creative career is procrastination. Once you’ve created your list and priorities, put it all in your calendar. All the time and energy you’ll save not procrastinating can be put to better use at the beach.
4) Make the most of being out and about I meet potential clients everywhere: having drinks with friends, in line at Wholefoods, or at my kid’s school picnic. Take advantage of the fact that everything’s out and about, strike up a conversation with someone new, and remember your business cards!
5) Enjoy the downtime Being an entrepreneur or freelancer is full-contact sport. We show up every single day, ready to do battle. Make the most of the summer downtime and take a much-needed break. You deserve it!
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