I have to admit that in previous years I've had a minor panic attack about the Summer school holidays. Not because I have to entertain two kids for six weeks, but because of the complexities of juggling work priorities.
I cannot simply "close down" for six weeks. That would be business suicide. I have traditionally taken at least two to three weeks off, but often found that more stressful than relaxing simply because of the cold hard fact that when you're self employed, no work = no pay. I also fear that if I'm unavailable to my clients, my competitors will take advantage.
So as the 2013 Christmas holidays approached, I was preparing to do what I've always done. I sent Christmas cards to my clients and posted on Facebook that I would be on leave until Monday 13th January. But then I realised something... it wasn't necessary!
Communication has been the key. I took the time to speak with my clients with whom I have W.I.P and let them know that I would of course have all major public holidays off (as would they) and that for the remainder of the school holidays I would be available as required, but I would NOT be sitting at my desk from 9am to 5pm. After all, self employment has to have some perks!
I really think it's a very good compromise. I get to take the kids to the beach in the morning and work for my clients in the afternoon. I am available for meetings, but not at a moments notice – give me time to organise someone to watch the kids for a couple of hours.
During those quiet times when I'm not working and the kids are happy swimming in the pool or battling it out over the new ping pong table, I have been reflecting over the past year. The struggles and difficulties I've encountered, how I've overcome them and the successes I've enjoyed. The second half of 2013 has been EPIC for me and I do attribute much of it to Facebook marketing. Not only have I been marketing myself (as a brand) and my business but I've also focussed on helping small businesses build their brands online.
Facebook has allowed us to maintain a presence even when we're on holidays. We've 'kept in touch' through posting Christmas well wishes etc, all scheduled well in advance. That's one of the many great things about Facebook, scheduled posts!
I've also been doing lots of reading on my new iPad Air, both for pleasure and for "work" - although I don't consider it work since I LOVE what I do – catching up on all the articles I want to read and all the other blogs and tweets that I often don't get time to read.
I plan to continue doing more relaxing and reading as the school holidays continue. I'm recharging and re-energising and focussing on what I want to achieve in 2014, for myself, my business and what I can do to help my clients do the same.
So rather than dread the holidays, I'm embracing them and using them to benefit myself and my business.
Bring on the New Year!
Jody Sharpe has over 20 years experience in marketing & branding and is passionate about helping local small businesses grow.