[Originally published July 2017]
I don't know about you, but I absolutely come alive in the summertime. The beach... the pool time... the long, long days of socializing outdoors with friends and neighbors... watching the kids catch fireflies... the jogs that work up a Really. Good. Sweat... the vacations... the family time... the iced coffee and gin & tonics on the front porch... the summer fruit... I can't hide my seasonal bias.
But it can be hard out there for a parent entrepreneur. As a work-at-home mom who loves to maximize summery family time, I definitely have less time for client work in the hot months. The kids are home from school, every week looks different - heck, every day looks different - aaaand... in typical sibling fashion, they just might be at each other's throats by 9 a.m.
On the flip side, I have more energy!
I do believe I'm solar-powered.
Instead of letting my business wither on the vine while I'm scaling back on summer client work, I use that extra energy and unpredictable schedule to focus on planning for the year ahead.
Specifically, here are three ways I make the most of those lazy, hazy days...
1. Looking back and looking ahead
Late June/early July is a great time - THE time! - for reviewing the goals I had set for Q1 and Q2. Which ones have I met, and where have I fallen short? What worked and what did not? Am I on track to hit my revenue goals for the year? What can I do differently right now to increase my business growth?
Looking ahead, am I on track to achieve my business goals for the second half of the year? Looking ahead even further, what are some of the key personal and professional milestones I'd like to hit in the following calendar year? These might be revenue targets, publishing goals, conferences to attend, people I'd like to get to know... At this point I'm still thinking big picture, but as the summer stretches on, I revisit these over-arching goals and begin to more explicitly define them and attach timing to them.
2. Setting up systems so that my business can work even when I'm not
The summer months are a great time to devote a bit more attention and intention to setting up funnels to collect leads, scheduling your social media (I don't like to 100% automate here because I enjoy the real-time connection), automating your email marketing, and... creating information products. I've been devoting more time in these summer months to outlining products I can create that will help me solve the problems of more of my clients without having to create more work. I've got some exciting ideas and can't wait to share them when they're ready. Watch this space!
3. Making time for professional development
There's always time to further your entrepreneurial education! I see myself as a perpetual student, and I tend to devour books, podcasts and courses on all things business & personal development. I also allow myself a reasonable budget every year to invest in courses that I believe will have a specific and measurable impact on my business growth. Though I do these things year-round, my client work picks up a lot in the fall, winter and spring, and I have less time to keep up with courses. For me, the summer months - when my deadlines are primarily internal, self-driven ones - are the best time to really dig in, absorb and implement what I'm learning.
Any summer day that I can spend time with my family, take a dip in the pool and work on one of the above three things, is a clear-cut WIN in my book.