I’m not sure if any of you lovely readers caught my Facebook Live this week, but I have been complaining about the ‘September stress’, I have been feeling. Everything I see on social media seems to suggest that EVERYONE is so ‘on it’ and ‘raring to go’ with the start of the academic year. Personally, I am struggling to get back in to routine after the summer holidays and barely remember what day it is!
Therefore, I have decided to write this post as a little pep talk to myself and also a reminder to anyone who is also feeling a little overwhelmed and not quite so organised as they would like. Here a five things that I am focussing on this week to get me back in the groove and my priorities in order.
1) Re-read my business plan
For someone who runs workshops about writing your business plan, I always make people laugh when I say that my business plan is my favourite procrastination tool!!!! It is not meant to be an excuse to avoid ‘proper’ work, but I love just reading through all of the ideas I have listed within it; reminding myself of my mission, vision and values; and doing a little Googling to update my competitor analysis spreadsheet. It is like working without actually working!
Samantha Hunter, who I run the workshops with, always says that ‘knowledge is power’, so when I am reading the latest blog on content creation or researching some business stats I think ‘I’m not wasting time, putting off that task, I’m adding to my knowledge which will give me an extra string to my bow in my next client discussion or, perhaps, negotiation.’
Reading my business plan has reminded me of some of the new ideas I had for my own marketing and content creation and, also, what my goals were for this year…
2) Check my goals
I have a list of objectives and goals both in my business plan and in the back of my notebook and I feel like September is a great time to check in with these. Once October hits we are into Q4 (yes that’s the last quarter of the 2019), so I need to make sure I am on track for achieving something (!) by the end of the year. It certainly helps me prioritise the hundreds of things I decided I was going to do sat outside in the sunshine in August! Reviewing my goals will also make me think, this week, about what is most important for my business and also my own sense of achievement.
If you don’t have any goals, why not set some now? Just 3 or 4 things that you want to achieve by the end of the year.
3) Look at my analytics
I mentioned my Facebook Lives at the beginning of the blog post. A while back, I did a little rant/encouraging speech about making sure you take note of your social media and website analytics , and September is a great time to check in and see how it is all looking. If like me, you were a little inactive over July and August, it is really interesting to see how this has affected your numbers – your reach; your engagement and the little dip can be a good spring board to see if you can make some increases across the next couple of months. Try something new to get back people’s attention! My LinkedIn is particularly slow at the moment and I have read an article about the ‘power’ of LinkedIn Live now it is more widely available…so, I think I am going to give that a try. I have also found that I can make my own ‘GIFs’ / animated pictures on Canva to accompany my social media posts, so I am going to give that some attention too!
Checking the stats really can give you some inspiration…I promise!
4) Follow up leads
Do you have a dreaded list or spreadsheet of leads – perhaps people you met at networking who said they were interested in your products or services and be in touch, or a few email enquiries lurking in your inbox that you replied to but then never heard anything back?
Now, is the time to cross some names off that list (or add them to the ‘cold leads’ section) and clear that inbox. Why not send one more approach? Check in to see how their summer was, see if they are still interested and then archive. Never delete potential lead entirely as you never know but ‘make a note and file it’ in some way and move on.
5) Get back out there and network
Finally, I feel that September and October are great times to ‘get myself out there’. I need to go and meet some fellow business owners and talk to them. I always find that many of the problems or blocks I have in my business are shared by many others when I voice them out loud, so get out and attend a couple of networking events this month. That is what I plan to do….at the very least I am hoping to go for a coffee with some friends who own their own businesses. I feel like I need to share some ideas to get me focussed and garner some new ideas from other people. When you feel overwhelmed and ‘busy’ (such an overused word!!) it can be really difficult to make the time to get out for things like networking but I know that whenever I go, I feel a real buzz afterwards. It’s nice to talk about your business and answer people’s questions and its even better to hear about other peoples achievements and what they are struggling with. Being self-employed can feel really lonely sometime. I love the meme I often see that says ‘If you see me talking to myself, don’t worry, I’m self-employed and just having a staff meeting’! It is so true – however, whilst it is great coming up with plans and ideas nothing beats bouncing those ideas off someone else.
Right, time to focus…
I had better go and actually do some of things listed above. There is nothing like some quick wins to boost the self-motivation.
If anyone else has any tips, feel free to comment….I really do need all the help I can get at the moment!!!!