the summer slowdown

The Summer Slow Down

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…summer! It’s time for fun in the sun, beach reads, being by the water, and living it up. And now’s the time to prepare for the summer slowdown so you can make the most of it.

In this episode, I’m sharing practical ideas for ensuring you have a summer slowdown, including getting your priorities in order, taking time off, downgrading your marketing, and more.

Summer is finally here, so I’m ready for lake season and a slower pace overall. That said, I just had two full weeks off, so I feel like I’m just getting back into the swing of things.

I even questioned briefly if I needed to slow down as much as normal over July/August. I landed on a firm yes after realizing that personally, I have a lot of things I want to focus on, and the point of having my own business is to have that flexibility. Right now, my routine is totally off as I adjust to having a kid home and packing in all the summer fun, so I will just go with it. Routines can return come September!

But enough about me, I wanted to talk about how you can manage your own version of the “summer slowdown” for this season or any season in your business.

Make Your Life List

As I say to my clients all the damn time, your life needs to come first. That’s why you started your business. (A client reminded me a couple of months ago, I said this to her in 2016!)

This is why I want you to take a moment and quickly inventory what’s on your plate for the summer season. Maybe you have a trip booked, family coming to town, kids you need to keep entertained, or a garden that needs TLC. Maybe you’re really wanting to get through your to-be-read list of books.

Write it all down—all of it.

By writing it down, you’re making it real, and more importantly, you’re taking it from an idea to something you’re actually going to do. You’re prioritizing it, and you will use that as you plan your summer.

Because here’s what we’re not going to do for summer 2023.

Sit inside all day on lovely summer days because we feel like our butt needs to be in our chair. Or work 40 hours a week when we could be working 20 hours.

For most of us, our work naturally slows down over the summer. (If that’s not you, the same lessons apply to another slower season in your business.)

We have a natural opportunity to take a break during a slower time. Yet, engaging in busy work and keeping at our normal pace is so easy.

It’s not realistic, and it’s not healthy. We absolutely should have seasons in our business that are slower.

I’ve come to realize with the way my life simply is, that summer and winter need to be deliberately slower seasons. Summer, lake, and family time is my priority. And in the winter months, I go a little slower to account for my need to hibernate and the potential for less-than-amazing mental health.

Bottomline: Your business should support your life, but your life, it should always come first.

Making It Happen

For some of you, everything I just said may seem aspirational. You may be thinking, “That’s easy for you, Maggie, you have a team and years of being in business.”

I’ve done the same thing for years. Since year one, summer has been my slowest season of the year by design. 18 years later, it looks slightly different, but I’ve never regretted embracing it fully.

Taking Time Off

First and foremost, you’re going to make this happen by taking time off. And if you’ve not yet your clients know when you’re off so things can be planned accordingly, I encourage you to do that within the next couple of days.

The longer amount of time your plan to take off, the longer lead time clients should have. And if you need help with figuring out how to position it, you can get a script in the Client Communications Kit in the BS-Free Shop.

Remember, your time off is factual. It’s not a negotiation or you asking for permission. Be clear, kind, and, most of all, firm.

Also, if you’re not going to take a week (or two) off, consider taking Fridays or Mondays off for the entire summer. I talked about this in episode on the Four Day Work week, and it’s a game changer.

Reduced Call Schedule

Four or five years ago, I noticed that my mastermind clients were moving slower over the summer, so they didn’t have much to say on our 1:1 calls. As a result, I shifted the call schedule from one call in July and one in August to one call for two months.

This has worked incredibly well, and it’s built into the programs from the onset so people know what to expect. All members of my two mastermind groups have access to me via Voxer and Slack, so they can easily get input or chat with me when needed in between calls.

This has meant I don’t have to ensure that I’m home to take calls as many days over the summer, which makes my schedule that much more flexible.

Over the next week, review your calendar for the summer and see what meetings may not be essential. For example, with a retainer client, maybe you move your weekly calls to biweekly or your biweekly call to monthly as you know their team will be off.

Or you consider cutting things you don’t need to be doing on a call and can be done asynchronously.

Obviously, I don’t want you to be cavalier about getting things off your calendar, but you need to protect your time. Because nothing is more annoying on an amazing summer day than making sure you’re sitting at your desk to have the call canceled.

Content Hiatus

We’ve done this for the past three or four years, putting the podcast on pause for six to eight weeks. We used to produce every week of the year, including the summer, and I found that listenership went way down in the summer.

I also typically take time away from social and email to focus on developing ideas and content for the coming year. This episode is actually the last one of this season, and we’ll be back in early August, and I’m planning to take July off emailing my list and only show up on Instagram as I feel like it.

Last year I took the longest content break because of summer and things happening in my personal life, and when I came back, I found people were really happy I was back. People told me they missed me, which was a little weird, but really nice to hear. Maybe absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

If you choose to accept it, your assignment is to look at what marketing or content-related activities you may have planned and make a strategic decision on what may not need to be happening.

For example, one of my clients who’s based in Europe knows that NOTHING happens in the month of August. So she uses that time to focus on other things in her business and plan for the fall months.

Trust me, it’s far better for you to decide now than feel the guilt of not doing it because you simply don’t have the focus or something life-related is more important, or worse yet, feeling frustrated as it’s going nowhere fast as everyone is on vacation or out having summer fun.

We’re Back August 7, 2023

As always, I hope you found this episode helpful and actionable. The BS-Free Service Business show will return on August 7, 2023, and I’m really excited about what I have in store.

During my hiatus, I’m working on a new project for solo business owners with zero interest in having a team. If this is you, you will want to keep your eyes and ears peeled.