Summertime – that time of the year when everything slows down and moves out of doors. “Less work, more play” is often the motto found in the minds of many. It’s a time when you spend a day at the beach or lake, or take an afternoon off work just to be outside. Kids are out of school for the summer and holidays are on the schedule. Outdoor activities take front seat.
But how do mumpreneurs deal with juggling their business commitments in the holidays? Here are some summer business tips for mums.
Running Your Business While on Holiday
It’s been reported that at least 60 percent of all small business owners don’t take a holiday in any given year. And of those who do, 75 percent still do some sort of work every day during their holiday, These numbers are higher for home-based business solopreneurs who have no one to toss the reins to while they take a break. It’s a challenge to take time away from your business when you know that if you aren’t working, you aren’t earning money.
But taking time off allows you to recharge your energy levels so that you don’t burn out. The summer slow-down time is the perfect time to do this.
Here are some tips to manage your work and time while you take time to have some fun.
- Plan ahead. This means setting up a schedule on your calendar for when you will be away, so you can get projects done ahead of that time. Let clients know when you’ll be away and have them schedule what they need prior to or after this time.For example, if you are going to be gone for a week in July, have all your projects finished the week before you leave. Don’t try to fit 3 days’ work into the day before you leave. Give yourself time to fit in all the activities you need to get done.
- Set up systems and tools. Almost all businesses have tasks they can automate. Marketing efforts can be maintained with various tools. For example, social media posts can be scheduled with tools like HootSuite. Blog posts can be written in advance and scheduled to post later in WordPress.Autoresponder systems like Aweber.com allow you to schedule your email message updates, so set up one that answers common questions you receive.Be sure to add a note that questions will be responded to personally after you return (unless you have a virtual assistant who can take care of them).
- Virtual Assistant/Online Manager. Hire a virtual assistant to take the reins while you’re away. They can take care of your emails, update posts or whatever you need them to do while you’re away. They can work as your project manager as well, keeping your projects moving forward. They can even help you in planning and setting up tools and systems.
- Outsource. Even if you have a virtual assistant to manage your business, you can outsource many other individual tasks, such as writing, graphic work or blog maintenance.
- Take care of maintenance only. While on holiday, make it a point to only check in once in a while. Do the very minimum to keep your business going, such as checking your email once a day and quickly checking in with your virtual assistant a couple of times.
- Inform clients. Let clients know you will be away from the business. Be upfront with them so they can get work to you ahead of time if they need to. Letting them know your schedule demonstrates that you value them and respect their business. But don’t forget, many of them will be on holiday too
If you need help with setting up any of the above or running it over the summer, check out Mum’s Little Helper
Just because you own a business doesn’t mean you can’t take time off for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Using the tools and systems available online can help you keep your business from falling into a slump while you are away. You can continue to market your business with help from a virtual assistant or concierge company. And you can keep your relationship with clients on good terms by informing them of your plans well in advance.
Managing Your Time While Having Fun
Summertime can find many online business owners focusing more on where they could be instead of the work that’s actually in front of them. We see images of boats on the lake, beaches and swimming pools and tall cool drinks instead of our computer monitor and the tasks at hand.
Working? Or staring at the sky?
Often, we are constantly checking the clock or the weather outside or even our Facebook accounts.
The summer slow-down steals your motivation to work and kills your productivity, making you feel like you’re constantly fighting an uphill battle to get work done. You try to work but the outside air is calling you…. You can beat this slowdown and still have time for fun by managing your time better.
These tips will help you manage your time so you can get work done more quickly.
- Switch your working hours. Change your normal working hours so that you have enough outside time to keep you satisfied. For instance, you could work early mornings and late evenings, leaving the afternoons free to enjoy outside activities. Or take certain days off during the week.
- Delegate work to others. Outsource more than you normally do in order to free up some time. Hire a virtual assistant or online manager to take care of the big projects, giving you more time to do what you want.
- Take advantage of technology. Use your smartphone to keep up with email and social media while you’re having fun. Wi-fi is available almost everywhere, making it easier than ever to keep in contact with customers and clients. Just be sure to set time limits for yourself so you don’t end up answering emails instead of catching waves at the beach.
- Use to-do lists. A daily to-do list during the summer can keep you organized and on task. Ticking off ‘done’ items from your list keeps you motivated to finish, instead of checking your social media accounts or daydreaming.
- Prioritise work. Plan out your days with work that has to be done. Do your money making tasks first. Also, don’t take on a lot of new projects if you are more interested in going out in the boat. Keep your work load lighter if possible so you can enjoy time on the water.
- Break up big projects into small micro-tasks you can do throughout the day or week. This works for projects such as a new product launch, and for client work as well.
- Take your work outside. There’s no reason you can’t take your laptop to the park or your back deck to work. Even without a wi-fi connection, you can write documents or work on graphics.
- Take advantage of systems. You can create a bunch of blog posts ahead of time, and schedule them for publication at a later date using WordPress. The same is true for your autoresponder messages. And social media posts can be pre-scheduled to appear at a later time using software like HootSuite.
Managing your time and taking advantage of tools and outsourcing can help you do more than just dream of being outside during the summer. Breaking down projects into smaller tasks can help you get more done in less time. Mum’s Little Helper can assist with any of your outsourcing requirements
If You Have Children at Home – How Do You Manage To Get Work Done?
Many online business owners work from home. And just as many may have kids at home with them during the summer holidays. It doesn’t matter whether they are young children or teens, working at home with kids can be challenging. Not only do you have to find time to work your business you have to keep the kids entertained as well.
Here are 10 tricks for working at home with children:
- Be flexible. Get up early and work before the kids wake up, or stay up a little later at night to finish projects and jump online throughout the day when you need to. Send emails while kids are napping. Don’t worry so much about how many hours you are working, and instead focus on getting your work done whenever you can.
- Get the kids involved. Hire them to do some of the housework while you work. If they are old enough, hire them to do some of the cooking or taking care of younger siblings. Older kids can even be hired to do small tasks in your business, like packaging orders or uploading photos to your website.
- Schedule playdates with other mums who have kids the same age. You can alternate between your homes so that one parent isn’t watching the kids more often than the other.
- Take advantage of technology. Use your smartphone or tablet when you’re out. Check your email or make notes while you’re at the park or take conference calls on the way to an outing.
- Outsource more of your work. Giving work to a virtual assistant or ghostwriter can free up time to let you spend time with your kids doing fun things this summer.
- Go on field trips. Take the kids with you when you need to pick up supplies or pick up a gift for a client. Along the way, stop at places your kids might enjoy, like a new ice cream shop.
- Go to the library. Or even a local bookstore. Check out new books or DVDs the kids can watch and read while you work. Or get some work done while older kids browse the library for their own books or DVDs.
- Send the kids to day camps. There are many local authorities that offer reasonably-priced camps your kids would want to attend. Everything from sports to music to adventures is available in almost every town.
- Schedule work ahead of time so you know when something has to get done, and can make arrangements for the kids to be entertained elsewhere (either outside the home or with their own activities).
- Don’t schedule any big projects to be due during the summer. Work more on maintenance and keeping things updated.
If you have children at home during the summer, finding ways to work with them underfoot can be a challenge. Make it a priority to spend time with them doing fun activities while fitting your work into their schedule.
Other Tips and things to consider during the summer:
Even if your business sees downtime and you are staying in town, there are some things you can do to get your business ready for the latter part of the year.
- Spend time looking for ways to add passive income. Create that program or eBook you don’t have time to work on during peak times of the year. Check out affiliate programs that fit your audience.
- Back up and tidy up your files. Consider an online backup programor an external storage device These can be used in addition to external backup systems. Summertime means many areas are prone to summer storms and power loss. Print out copies of important business information like client contact information and passwords.
- Jump into a training program for something you’ve wanted or needed to learn. Or attend networking events that can help you grow your business. Print out some relevant reading material or download some audio files to listen to while you are at the beach
- Plan marketing for the rest of the year. Do market research to see what your customers think about your business or services.
- Update your website if it needs a makeover. Improve navigation structures, remove or update old content, update the design and more.
- Look for ways to incorporate summer type themes or information into your email newsletter and your website. For example, send out newsletters that focus on summer specials, mixed with summer recipes or tips for pet care during the heat. Just make sure it relates to your niche.
Even if business slows down during this time of year, you can still make progress with your business. Take the time to make plans for growth, update your website and network with others.
What Happens Next
In this report we’ve looked at ways to keep your business thriving while taking time to enjoy the season. We’ve gone over some tips on getting work done if there are kids underfoot and how you can spend time doing activities with them while still having time for work. I hope that you have found something that you can take away and use in your own business.
Now it’s time to start implementing some of the tips you’ve found here so that you can enjoy the summer. Start planning and scheduling your projects. Get help from a virtual assistant or outsource work you are going to need done while you enjoy the season!
If you would like to hire a virtual assistant over the summer, or if you would like a few hours of hands on help to implement some of the projects covered in this report, then check out Mum’s Little Helper, a joint venture between Motivating Mum and Sooqini. You can pay somebody to take care of your business projects for a few hours, or for the whole summer, so you can get on with the things that are important to you and have some serious fun.