The biggest business tip I can give you at this time of year is to automate for time off over Christmas. Let your business take a back seat, guilt-free. Yes, your business is important, but you, your family, your friends and your right to some well-earned relaxation and fun are FAR more important.
This time of year is always SO hectic, and it can feel so overwhelming with all of the things on the to-do list that it can be hard to think what you should be doing when it comes to your business. Especially if you’re in the early years of running a business, you might be feeling like you’re not allowed to take your foot off the gas at all and that you’ll be damaging your business if you take time off. I’m here to reassure you that you ARE allowed, and you WON’T damage your business at all. If anything, you’ll be doing it a favour by allowing yourself to rest and recharge ready to tackle the following year as best you can.
A fantastic compromise that enables you to still ‘look after’ your business over Christmas but have some time off yourself is to batch, schedule and automate as much of it as possible. This week is the perfect week to do it while you’re still in the office and you’ve still got a little time left before those final 2 weeks of the year.
Here are some things you could set aside some time to do this week, that will enable you to relax more in the next couple of weeks:
1) Plan and create your Christmas out of office
Don’t leave this until the last minute when you’re rushed and end up putting something generic/vague on there, or end up putting it on later than you’d have ideally wanted or turning it off earlier than you’d have wanted. Decide NOW exactly which days you want to be completely out of the office altogether over the Christmas period. Write them down in your calendar so they’re non-negotiable and protected.
Now write the copy for your out of office with these dates on so that your clients’ expectations can be completely managed and they know when they can expect to hear from you. Draft it somewhere and then you’ve got it ready to copy & paste, plug & play on the date you’ve agreed.
2) Decide whether or not you want to respond to shoot enquiries
While you might not want to respond at all to general, non-urgent emails over the Christmas period, it’s totally understandable that you might not want enquiries and potential bookings to fall by the wayside. Again, decide NOW in advance how you want to deal with these. If you don’t want to respond, perhaps you could include a link to your brochure (and potentially a calendar of your available dates) in your out-of-office auto-responder so potential clients can still get important information from you even if you’re not personally responding.
If you do want to personally respond, I strongly suggest creating a canned response to enquiries so you can respond as efficiently and quickly as possible with minimal time and effort. You can (and should) of course always tailor the first sentence or two to each individual client, but most of the message can be templated, especially if you’re sending them a brochure with all the information inside.
You can also create workflows in your CRM if you have one (I strongly recommend Studio Ninja and you can use the code ANNAHARDY50 to get 50% off your first year). Doing this means you can completely automate not just one but a sequence of emails to be sent to enquiries at specific timeframes after their first contact. Think of it like your admin assistant!
3) Batch create, schedule and automate social media
Don’t put your out of office on, only to end up still spending the festive period stressed about not posting enough to Instagram or Facebook. Of course, it’s totally fine to not post for a couple of weeks at all – the world is not going to come crashing down if you take a complete break.
However, if you do want to ensure your social media content is ticking over while you have some time off, spending a couple of hours now batch creating and scheduling posts for the w/c 19th December and w/c 26th December will completely take off the pressure and enable you to ignore social media altogether if you want to. You can either use the inbuilt scheduler in Meta or something like Later or Hootsuite.
4) Batch create, schedule and automate your email marketing
Just like with 3 above, you don’t have to be emailing your mailing list over the Christmas period if you don’t want to. Take a little time this week to create any emails you’re going to want to send and schedule them in. Even if they’re ones you’re not able to complete right now, get it in draft mode and complete as much as you can so it will make it much quicker and easier on you later.
5) Re-share your best resources
This is by no means essential but just a nice touch if you have the time and inclination. If you want to help people to get to know you better without you being active in person, you can always create a list of helpful resources for people to peruse while you’re away over the Christmas holidays. Think of your best blog posts, any resources you’ve created, lead magnets, brochures, Instagram posts/reels/story highlights etc. If your clients were to ‘binge’ on you and your business, what would you want them to look at? How could they get lost in you and your content for an hour?
You could list these in your auto-responder, pin/highlight a post on social media, create a blog post and/or email your list. It’s a great way of showing that you’re thinking of and taking care of your clients / potential clients while you’re away, whilst also helping them to get to know you and your business more.
Of course, do remember that even if you don’t have time to do any of the things I’ve listed above, you can STILL take time off! Your business will not crumble, the world will not stop turning if you send no emails and ignore social media for a week or two. Just remember to whack on your out of office to manage expectations and put your feet up!
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