According to anchors on local news channels (I don’t watch local news, but I saw this fun montage on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver), we’re heading into “hot vax summer.” I know. It doesn’t really make sense, but what I have noticed and discussed with all my business besties lately is how much we’re all craving a real break.
Many of us experienced a year that took stress and burnout to a whole new level. And as we emerge from our pandemic cocoons to spread our wings this summer, we want work to fade into the background. I’m definitely here for it. But also, I just introduced a new ghostblogging + content marketing (email me if you want to learn more) offer and I have a book ghostwriting slot open, so as much as I’d love to hang up that “gone fishin’” sign for the summer, I need to keep my pipeline full.
If you’re like me, you might be wondering how you can keep nurturing those clients and keep those sales rolling in even while making time for some much deserved R&R. Here’s my Summer Rejuvenation Plan.
1. Repurpose content
My writing apprentice, Lee, and I have labeled this summer “The Summer of Rejuvenation.” Yes, we’re both going to give ourselves what we need to recharge and shake off the burnout threat, but we’re also thinking about rejuvenating in terms of the content we create.
We were chatting about how much content I’ve created in the past five years:
- I’ve published at least one blog article per month for myself
- I’ve published 16 Medium articles in the past eight months
- I have hundreds of LinkedIn posts with comments from an extremely engaged audience
- I’ve interviewed 50 experts for my Own Your Expertise video series and edited that footage, so there’s a lot there that my audience hasn’t seen
And I’ve rarely repurposed any of this content. I can think of no better summer project than to go back through what I’ve already created and look for new angles. I’m surprisingly excited to mine my stuff and see what has held up over time, how my perspective has changed, and what little gems I can pull to play around with in the next few months.
My challenge to you: Do your own content audit. Make a list of what you’ve created and plan to re-read, re-watch, and re-listen to whatever you have. I’m not going to lie. It can be a little cringe-worthy to look at old material, but the lessons and inspiration will make the cringe worth it.
2. Keep up with networking
Of course, one reason you might be thinking about keeping your pipeline full is that you want or need to close business in the next month or two. But you also need to keep your pipeline full to close business in the fall. So, even if networking isn’t yielding sales in the short-term, you still want to keep at it.
I can’t speak for you, but networking is one of the easiest tasks for me to let slide when I’m looking for extra time in my schedule to play. Precisely because networking is a long game, it feels like it doesn’t matter if you take a few months off. It does matter though. You just may not feel how much it matters until September.
Also, if you take me up on my challenge above, you’ll gain extra time without having to cut corners with networking because you’ll be able to ease up on content creation. All of this is to say, don’t let networking slide.
In-person: I’ve only heard about one in-person networking event happening this summer, but that could be just the first of many. If you feel comfortable being inside with people, then accept invitations as they come. It’s important to manage your energy and comfort level around in-person events, though. Personally, I’m strategizing and bracing myself for a lot of events this fall and even more next spring, so I’ll likely take it slow this summer.
While I’m less excited to jump back into the pool of big networking events, I am thrilled about doing one-on-one meetups IRL again. So I’m starting to open up my calendar for these. Zoom has been a great tool, but I’m ready not to be staring at screens all day this summer.
LinkedIn: I can’t say this enough: if you aren’t using LinkedIn for your business, you are leaving money on the table. One of my Own Your Expertise interviewees, Jen Morris, is a career coach and she said she treats LinkedIn as a 24/7 networking event. This is exactly how I look at it too.
So, if you have an aversion to using LinkedIn, get to the bottom of your aversion and decide whether growing your business is worth talking yourself out of feeling “icky” using LinkedIn.
In fact, one of the benefits of our new ghostblogging + content marketing service is that we take the “ick” out of using LinkedIn. Not only will we provide you with custom LinkedIn posts and walk you through everything you need to know about making the platform work for you, we’ll also do an audit of your profile and help you show up as your best self. The confidence you gain from nailing your LinkedIn content is truly unmatched. Contact us if you’re interested in learning more!
3. Focus on business development
I always spend more time on business development in the summer months. It’s natural that when client work slows down, work on the business ramps up. And I love business development, so I welcome this change.
This summer, I’ll take some time to think through my strategy in three areas: marketing & sales, products & services, operations & administration. I’ll also focus on documenting my systems and processes. First, I’ll write down every task I accomplish each day on index cards and categorize them, so I can see how I spend my time and where I can make improvements. Then I’ll turn these into SOP’s (standard operating procedures). The goal is that I can hand these off to employees during onboarding and training.
This kind of big picture thinking not only makes me feel more organized, but it also helps me see how I’m serving my clients and how I can improve their experience. Business development may not directly fill my pipeline, but it does help me figure out my capacity and it prepares me to run the business better when I’m at capacity.
4. Be patient
Patience is way more than a virtue when you’re running a business. Staying patient and present with what’s immediately in front of you is the best way to approach a summer of rejuvenation. If you’ve been pushing your team hard to hit certain milestones all year, ask yourself what would happen if you hit those numbers in the fall instead of the summer.
Maybe the answer is “disaster,” or maybe the answer is “slower growth,” or maybe the answer is “team morale increases.” Whatever the answer, consider it carefully and look at what truly fits into your plan. Then zoom out and look at your plan.
I’m always reminding myself that I’m not running a race against anyone else. Time is an arbitrary measure for movement invented by human beings. So while the milestones and benchmarks keep me moving forward, it’s not the end of the world if I choose to recalibrate because I need a break. I’d much rather recalculate my milestones than burn out.
Fill your pipeline and be patient. These are not mutually exclusive propositions.
This is my Summer of Rejuvenation Plan. Yours may look different. If content creation is standing in the way of filling your pipeline, we can help. How much time would you gain if you let us take your content marketing strategy and implementation off of your plate? Send me an email and let’s find some time to chat.
Photo credit: https://www.123rf.com/profile_gladkov