Never forget: the business that’s open will always make more than the business that’s closed. The awesome thing about having a blog, podcast, or any other online presence is that you can cultivate relationships with people 24/7. For all I know, I could be sleeping while you’re reading this post. But we’re still connecting, regardless of what time it is or where you live.
Despite being “open” 24/7, I’m not immune to the inevitable winter slowdown. Ever since I started watching Game of Thrones, I’ve adopted one of the taglines from the show: “Winter is coming.”
What does winter mean for me? 1:1 clients might take some time off for the holidays. Larger corporations will hold off on hiring me until the new year. Thus, some of my active income may die down.
At first, making the most of this “downtime” involved cleaning up shop. I’d organize expense reports or loose paperwork. How boring. I’ll admit, there were even a couple of afternoon naps and videogame binges.
Eventually, I challenged myself to take this downtime to do deeper work: stuff that would set me up for success in the new year. The winter is a time for folks like you and I to strengthen the foundation of our business. If you don’t drive your business, you will be driven out of business.If you don't drive your business, you will be driven out of business.Click To Tweet
A few thoughts on how to best drive your business during the winter slowdown:
1. Nurturing New and Existing Relationships
The foundation of any successful personal brand business is relationships. We’re all working together; that’s the secret.
Even though we may not have regular personal contact with our clients during the winter slowdown, we’re still connected via email or social media. Now’s the time to invest in those relationship by offering valuable content and engaging in meaningful conversation.
The winter slowdown is also the perfect opportunity to plant seeds for what you have to offer in the new year. Be ready to capitalize on your audience’s enthusiasm for a fresh start. It’s not about hitting them over the head with a sales pitch, it’s about generating enthusiasm that will help set the tone for the year ahead. A few things we’ve done:
- run blogging challenges
- setup new Facebook communities
- host contests
- create new lead magnets
- record Facebook Live videos
I even launched a new podcast on fundraising and created a full-fledged marketing agency (more about that in the future). All of this has allowed me to stay engaged with my audience, offer value, and grow my email list … even if I’m not meeting with clients or landing “new” business.
2. Sharpen Your Entrepreneurial Skill Set
The winter is a perfect time to reflect on the good, bad, and ugly in your business. Is there a particular skillset you’re lacking that could really push your business forward? The downtime you may be experiencing from client work creates space to take on additional trainings that could improve those weak spots.
Personally, I’m terrible at delegating. Wouldn’t you know? I’m booking a 16-day overseas trip in the middle of the winter slowdown.
That trip has forced me to delegate like never before. I have an amazing assistant named Suzanne (she’s more like my boss!) that I fully trust — and the dance between delegation and deadlines has forced me to better guard my time, creative bandwidth, and let go of the tasks I normally take care of. Here’s the thing: once I delegate things to Suzanne, she refuses to give them back!
That’s my goal for this year’s winter slowdown: be a better delegator.
3. Set More Than Just S.M.A.R.T Goals
Perhaps you’ve heard of SMART goals, goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time- focused.
SMART goals have their place, but they’re missing one key element that holds us accountable to actually achieving these goals: emotion.
What? Yes, emotion. I’m not that emotional of a guy but this year, one thing I worked on with my coach was re-connecting and leaning into my emotions. Get angrier. Get happier. Laugh more. Cry more. An interesting takeaway: she said the very things that made me successful in business (rational decision-making, strategy, tempering my emotions) actually made me less of a friend, partner, and human being! Ouch!
So, that trip I mentioned earlier in this article? It’s an exploratory trip to Southeast Asia with a human rights organization that rescues kids from sex trafficking. What does this trip have to do with me building a personal brand? I don’t know. Maybe nothing.
But the reasons I chose to go on this trip were to broaden my worldview, connect deeper with something I already cared about, and make an attempt at seeing my work as a part of the bigger picture of life.
Maybe seeing this organization’s work firsthand will drive me to make more money and impact to serve their cause.
So, there you have it: three things I do during the winter slowdown that actually speed up the growth of my business.The winter slowdown can be GOOD for your business. @MikeKimTV gives us 3 reasons why:Click To Tweet
If you’re curious about some of the strategies I used to start setting and achieving my goals, I suggest this incredible free e-book by my friend, Michael Hyatt. In it, more than 30 thought leaders, influencers, and high achievers all share their top strategies for starting the year off with a bang. (It’s free, but you’ll have to provide your email address.)
Got some of your own ideas of how to maximize your business during the winter slowdown? Share them in the comments below or join the conversation in my FREE Facebook community.