If you’ve listened to a single episode of Priority Pursuit, you know I don’t believe that work-life balance exists. And, friend, this is largely because there are busy seasons. There are busy seasons in life for various reasons, and as creative entrepreneurs, most of us face busy seasons simply because that’s how our industries work.
For instance, as a wedding photographer in the Midwest, May through October tend to be very busy for me because we only have six months of nice weather per year, so most people get married during this timeframe.
Now, while these seasons full of grinding can be stressful, they’re also a blessing, because for a lot of entrepreneurs, these are the most profitable seasons.
This episode is by no means about how to make busy seasons stress free or how to prevent busy weeks, months, or quarters altogether. Instead, this episode is simply about how you can prepare for, manage, and—not to be dramatic—but survive busy seasons in your business when they inevitably come.
1. Set boundaries.
As a small business owner, defining your boundaries is important, but it’s especially important to have defined boundaries during busy seasons. Because, if you don’t set boundaries, you won’t be running your business; your business will be running you.
For instance, because we have such a short segment of nice weather in Indiana, it’s very tempting for me to take as many weddings as I possibly could. But, I cap how many weddings I take per year and per month, and I don’t take weddings on Sundays so Zach and I can have a day off together.
If you’ve yet to set boundaries in your business, please do so immediately for the sake of your health, your relationships, and your business. And, if you need help setting and communicating boundaries, check out “Episode 003: How to Set Boundaries in Your Business & Get Your Clients to Respect Them.”
2. Front load those who will be affected by your busy season.
Whether we like it or not or are willing to admit it or not, our busy seasons at work affect the people we love most. And, this is why “frontloading” is important.
If you aren’t familiar with frontloading, this is simply a process of forewarning and explaining exactly what’s going to happen and communicating expectations to others.
Side note: Front loading has been one of the most helpful practices in marriage for Zach and me. We front load one another for things as small as date nights. It might seem like over communication, but the phrase “confront citations is a result of unmet expectations” has become more or less a cliche because it’s true.
So, as you’re going into a busy season in your business, front load those who will be affected. This might include your spouse, your roommate, your mom, your kids, and even your clients.
Clearly communicate what life is going to look like, what you need, and how long the busy season will last. This likely won’t prevent conflict entirely, but it will help your loved ones understand why you’re doing what you’re doing.
3. Put your business priorities—the things that move the needle in your business—above all else.
In my experience, busy seasons require a lot of grinding. For instance, as I write this, we’re in one of the busiest parts of wedding season, so I’m up to my ears in shooting, editing, blogging, sharing previews, timeline meetings, and doing all the things necessary to serve VRP brides and grooms well.
And, because referrals are my leading source of revenue and because it’s the right thing to do, my customer service has to come above all else in my business.
So, while there are a lot of things I would like to be doing and new projects I would like to start, I’m not giving them my attention right now, because I don’t have the capacity. However, come November when practically nobody is getting married in Indiana, you can bet I’ll be working on a list of projects I’m excited to tackle.
So, friend, if you’re in a busy season or know one is coming, focus on what matters most in your business and only let what’s necessary make its way to your to-do list.
4. Outsource what you can.
Now, I’m going to give you a little cold hard truth. It’s naive and even asinine to think that you can go into a busy season and do all the things you normally do or handle everything by yourself.
While I highly recommend figuring out what you can outsource and setting up systems during slower seasons, if you’re in the midst of a busy season and are feeling completely overwhelmed, chances are, there are still things you can get off your plane.
For instance, this week, I paid a friend who had some free time to write thank you notes for me and package and send client gifts. It took her a few hours, and in the meantime, I was able to review and send clients galleries.
Friend, you can and will get through busy seasons, but chances are, you can’t do all the things you normally do. So, whether it’s tasks in your business or in your personal life, figure out what you can outsource or even just temporarily stop doing or delegate to someone else.
If you need outsourcing inspiration, check out “Episode 011: How to Build Your Team as a Creative Entrepreneur with Jessie Roseberry of Roseberry & Co.”
5. When busy season is over, reassess your boundaries.
Every year, I feel like I have wedding season a little more under control. But, every year, I also realize that more boundaries need to be set.
For instance, a couple years ago, I decided to take one weekend off a month during wedding season. This has been great. Well, until I didn’t realize that I took the first weekend of August off and the last weekend of September off this year, meaning I’ll be away from Zach and Hattie six weekends in a row, which isn’t ideal.
In the future, I’ll know to set boundaries around this and better watch my calendar.
So, friend, at the end of your current or next busy season, take a step back and decide what went well, what could’ve gone better, and what you never ever want to do again, and set your boundaries accordingly.
Busy seasons can certainly be overwhelming, and in all honesty, I’m sharing about this topic because I’m currently in a very busy season. This episode is just as much for me as it is for you!
Whether you’re currently in or will soon be in a busy season, I hope these tips help you better prepare for and survive busy seasons as a creative entrepreneur.
Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
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