It’s that time of year again, when the nation winds down, collectively reflects on the previous 12 months, nibbles on mince pies (whether you actually like them or not) and sips on a wide variety of warm beverages.
As a side hustler and a solopreneur, Christmas is also a time to assess how the year has gone for your business venture and what your expectations are for the year ahead. Feeling good about things, or not so much? What marketing opportunities can you spin up for the new year?
Then there’s the question of how you will play it while everyone around you is taking a festive breather this Christmas. Will you use the downtime to double down on your side hustle, or will you take a well-deserved break like so many others up and down the land?
Whatever your plan of attack, Christmas and New Year is most certainly a time for reflection. Here are some thoughts to keep you warm (and hopefully motivated) as the year draws to an end.
Give to get
As a child, Christmas is about getting: getting gifts, getting treats, and getting excited. As an adult, the focus turns to what we give, and that includes our time and effort.
Keep in mind the people who most value Christmas are often the ones who are most selfless. Giving to others, whether organising a party or simply cooking a meal, is a great tonic for your sense of wellbeing.
And so it is with solopreneurs. Self-directed, self-reliant, self-motivated: yes to all of the above. But giving to others is often the thing that sets apart a successful solopreneur from the one who struggles.
To get help, first help others. Give people your time, your advice, your material support (insofar as you can), and most importantly your attention. As we’ve said before, you won't get far flying solo.
Focus in on others and you will be amazed at the opportunities that open up for you down the road. And what better time to give than at Christmas.
Just like Christmas comes around every year, your solo venture has every chance of turning into the gift that keeps on giving.
Time as income
When you’re a solopreneur in the early stages of your venture, it’s fair to assume every hour you’re not working is income you’re not earning.
This can make the holiday season a particularly difficult time. How can you justify sitting around when there’s nobody to keep the business moving forward?
And what if your business is seasonal? Relegate yourself to the sidelines for a few days or a week, and that’s a boatload of business you might be missing out on.
However, working around the clock is not a recipe for long-term success. Side hustlers know this. According to research from GoDaddy and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), older parents and grandparents are primarily driving this new economy of solopreneurs and side hustlers. And older people understand that life cannot be all about work.
- Accept there are only so many hours in the day, and that time is your most precious resource.
- Acknowledge that you cannot practically work every single hour and still meet your family and other life commitments.
- Plan carefully and honestly what you expect to get out of each day during the holiday period.
- When you give yourself permission to kick back, do exactly that.
- If you still find yourself preoccupied with work, remember you can only successfully do one thing at a time; and that includes relaxing. The most successful solopreneurs know how to focus on what truly matters from moment to moment.
- If you’re tired, get some rest. Studies show that working while tired is essentially the same as working drunk.
- Recognise that things may come up - however inconvenient - that need your attention and you are just going to have to deal with them.
Someone once remarked that life is 10 percent what happens to you, and 90 percent how you react to it. It’s worth giving that one some thought this holiday time.
Which leads us to our final piece of advice this Christmas season:
The mark of a true solopreneur is not the money that your business may or may not make in the long run.
Instead it is resourcefulness. Running your own business means making every penny, and every hour, count. And it means knowing when to ask for help from friends and family.
This Christmas time, use only what you need, and be careful not to buy in what you already have or can make yourself.
At the same time, don’t penny pinch with those around you. Be generous in your time and give the people helping you as much as you can comfortably afford.
And if you cannot give money or material things, remember you can always give your time. If, as the Americans say, time really is money, that just goes to show how important time is.
However you approach this holiday season, take the opportunity to spend time with your friends, family, and loved ones.
Be kind to yourself and to others.
And get ready to hit 2019 with every ounce of passion you can bring to your hustle. Oh, and don’t forget to get in some exercise between those mince pies.
Merry Christmas, everyone!