You know what it’s like working with your head down, in your business all the time…closing sales, making new connections, handling contracts and vendors, maintaining product inventories and service agreements, filing taxes…basically, all the stuff that’s got to get done over the course of a day/month/year for your business to function.
But how often do you step back and work on your business?
Working on your business is about doing the personal and professional development work that helps your business run smoothly, like planning, goal-setting, and creating systems & processes. For me, that looks like marking up my big dry-erase wall calendar to plan out my quarterly launches, brushing up on my sales, marketing, and networking skills with new books and industry connections, updating and refining my operations manual and internal processes, and reviewing my business plan to ensure I’m on track or can course-correct if necessary.
Ideally, you want to spend around 25% of your time strategically working on your business—or, as some experts suggest, 1-2 hours every day. But for most of the women entrepreneurs I know (the majority of whom are solopreneurs), 1-2 hours is an enormous demand on their already precious little time to get everything done in a day.
Fortunately, unless you’re in one of the few industries that gets busy from June to August, the summertime affords us with the slower pace and relaxed vibes we need to work on our businesses, so we can come back refreshed and refocused to finish the year strong. And summer is 25% of the year, so…coincidence?
Here are the 3 areas I like to focus on when I get into summertime strategy mode:
TBH, if I could spend 100% of my time planning for my business, I would. And while my Virgo rising finds making checklists and editorial calendars SO satisfying, I do like to leave a little room for the universe to surprise and delight me.
The book I revisit every summer for strategic planning is The One Page Business Plan for the Creative Entrepreneur by Jim Horan. It allows me to get everything out of my head and onto a visual map that makes everything feel clear and full of promise.
To ensure my plans align with what the stars have in store for me, I double check important dates on my Personal Success Calendar by Carol Allen. I’ve found that when I work with the energies and laws of the universe (that are at play whether I believe in them or not—like gravity), I prosper. And when I don’t, I regret it (again, like gravity!).
Personal & Professional Development
I keep a folder on my browser with links to all the books and courses I’ve bought over the previous year that I never got around to finishing and I go through them over the summer. I especially like to re-do ones that I’ve already completed, because both my business and I are in a completely different place since the last time I soaked in the material. So even though I’ve heard it before, there’s always more to learn. As I go through, I like to ask myself 5 questions:
1. What do I now believe is possible that I didn’t before, and how can this book/program help me realize that possibility?
2. What is this material calling forth from me now?
3. What am I now able to see with this expanded perspective that I couldn’t before?
4. If I were to look back over my business objectively since the last time I worked with this material, how might I view the progress I’ve made?
5. What actions do I have the courage to take now that I would never have considered before?
Peers & Professional Connections
I strongly believe that nothing is more powerful than a group of like-minded women, moving forward together, in the direction of our dreams. We create a momentum like no other when we collaborate, share ideas, support and hold space for one another to grow.
Author Glennon Doyle recently shared about a friend of hers who began organizing “hard things” walks during the COVID lockdown with a group of women she’d known for decades. They’d show up on a path, each with their hard thing—whether it was about their families, the world, or their work—and talk it out. When I heard Doyle talk about it, I felt this instant sense of relief at just the thought of having a warm, respectful community that embraces you and your struggles with zero judgment.
Whether it’s on Zoom or in person, please take some time this summer to connect with other women who get you, and who really understand how lonely it can be as a business owner. You deserve to have that time to reflect and restore yourself, and so do they.
If you haven’t yet found your tribe or you’re the only entrepreneur among your girlfriends, I invite you to join us at Girl Boss TV. Our summer session officially kicks off on Tuesday, July 6, but enrollment is open now and we would love to have your voice in the conversation. Details here!