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280. Surviving Summer as An Entrepreneur: How to Set Yourself Up for Success

280. Surviving Summer as An Entrepreneur: How to Set Yourself Up for Success

With the unofficial kick-off to summer right around the corner (aka Memorial Day) it got me thinking about the patterns I’ve seen among entrepreneurs once the summer hits. I generally see this go one of two ways… 

Either, they step away from their business as much as possible doing the bare minimum to stay afloat, or they want to take advantage of the summer sales slump to do deep work and accomplish big things. 

Which one of those is right for you is going to completely depend on where you’re at in your business and life, and what your priorities are at the moment, and it very well may change from year to year. 

No matter which path you take this summer, I want to help you optimize that strategy. 

Welcome to part one of a two-part series on surviving the summer as an entrepreneur. In today’s episode, we’ll talk about how you can set yourself up for success so you can step away from your business without the guilt.

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Get Clear on Your Business Focus & Schedule

The first and most important step in setting yourself up for success this summer is to get clear on your priorities. As entrepreneurs, it’s really easy to think everything in our business and everything we do day-to-day is equally important but rarely is this the case. 

The 80/20 rule rings true for most things in life and business which means 80% of your results are going to come from 20% of your activities, just like 80% of your sales are likely going to come from 20% of your products. 

Get really clear on what those products and activities are so you can put the majority of your focus on these over the next few months and spend more time away from your business. 

Streamline Your Marketing Strategy

One of the things I talk to my clients and students about the most is doing less, especially with their marketing strategy. 

Instead of trying to do all the things, focus on what has the biggest impact on your business. That’s likely email marketing and one social media channel. 

And if organic social is working as poorly for you as it is for most of the people I talk to, maybe it’s time to invest in some paid marketing. 

The nice thing about paid marketing is that it’s essentially a sales machine that works for you even when you aren’t. Coupled with email, it’s one of the most powerful marketing tools you have at your disposal. 

Yes, you have to take some time upfront to dial in your ad strategy, but truth is, with the way ads work now it’s a lot simpler than you’d think. 

If that’s something you want to learn, I encourage you to join us in the Lounge. Our new ads strategist Anna is there to support and we just did a mini-training on how to set up your ad account when you have a small budget. 

I’ve also been releasing a bunch of new content for the ads course including worksheets to help you figure out what you can afford to spend on ads and how to monitor your overall performance. 

And if you just want someone to do them for you, Anna offers done-for-you services as well. 

Automate Tasks Where Possible

Speaking of streamlining, are there things on your to-do list that a machine can do for you?

From list growth to customer service, email marketing, and social media, there are a lot of things you can do to streamline the day-to-day operations of your business with the help of technology. 

While it does take a bit of time to set up in the beginning, the long-term benefit far outweighs the initial time investment and it will certainly let you step away from the business knowing that it’s running on autopilot as much as possible. 

I took a deep dive into 12+ things you can automate in your eCommerce business on episode 195 of the podcast, so check that out if you need a little inspiration. 

Hire Help & Set Your Team Up for Success

Are there tasks you’re doing in your business that are below your CEO pay grade? It’s probably time to farm them out to someone else, even if it’s only temporary. 

Whether that’s getting a VA to handle customer service inquiries or a college student who is home for the summer to help you with your order fulfillment I’m sure there are plenty of things you can outsource. 

Whether you’re hiring for the first time or you already have a team you’ll want to set them up for success. Make sure your processes and answers to frequently asked questions are documented. Give your team the information they need to do their job well without having to reach out to you. 

This can be especially important when it comes to customer service issues. Let them know how to handle certain situations ahead of time like a return request outside of your return window, a customer who forgot to enter their discount code at checkout, a package that got lost, or something that arrived damaged. 

Most employees will be afraid of honoring this type of request without your green light so give them some parameters around when they can make the call on their own and when they need to reach out to you. 

For example, if it’s within 7 days of your return policy they can honor it but anything longer than that and they have to reach out to you for approval. If an item is damaged, ask the customer to send a photo, and once confirmed you can send them a replacement. 

Consider giving them scripts to handle these sorts of inquiries too so you can make sure the customer knows you’re doing them a favor, and you don’t accidentally set a precedent that makes the customer feel like they’re entitled to that resolution all the time. 

You won’t be able to think of every scenario possible but try and focus on the most common and most complicated. 

Decide on a Work Schedule

Have you ever heard the concept that things will take you as long as you give yourself to do them? This definitely rings true for me and it has for my entire life. Even in school, I was always the girl finishing up a semester project a few days before it was due. 

Most of the time I would kick myself for not starting on it sooner, but at some point, I just decided to lean into that as my superpower. I work well under pressure and it does me no good to try and fight that all the time. 

The same can be true for you in your business this summer and beyond. 

One of the worst feelings is being stuck in your office when your family and friends are out enjoying the summer. Being an entrepreneur means you get to set your own schedule, so be intentional about when you’re going to work and when you’re going to play. 

Maybe that means you only work 2 days a week, but for 8 hours at a time. Or maybe you work 5 days week for 4 hours when your kids are at camp. 

Figure out a schedule that feels good and is conducive to the way you work. Forcing yourself to work two full days when you can only be productive for a few hours at a time probably isn’t a great fit. 

However you decide to structure your week, I bet you can get a lot more done in a lot less time than you think. 

Batch Your Work

One of the best ways to get more done in less time is by batching your work. The general idea is that you do the same type of work in one sitting instead of switching between different types of tasks. For example, separating creative and admin work. 

Batching isn’t for everyone, or it might only be good for some things. For instance, I can’t batch podcast scripts, it takes too much brain power, but I can batch recordings. I’m great at batching course content and client work, but not my own emails. Some days I’m better at batching than others, and sometimes it depends on the type of work. 

You’ll have to figure out a groove that works for you, but it can be a game changer especially if you plan to work fewer hours or want to step away from the businesses for a longer periods of time. 

I would get started with the tasks like email and social media. If you can batch and schedule those ahead of time, then you don’t have to worry about it when you want to head to the beach or a theme park in the middle of the week. 

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not great at it at first. Like all things in life, it takes a little practice. But if you can master this skill, it’ll serve you well beyond the summer in your business. 

Listen to the Episode

Timestamps

00:00 Welcome & Introduction to Surviving Summer as an Entrepreneur
01:57 Setting Yourself Up for Success: Prioritizing & Streamlining
02:46 Leveraging Marketing Strategies: Email, Social Media, and Paid Ads
04:50 Optimizing Operations: Automation and Delegation
07:20 Crafting Your Summer Work Schedule
08:56 Batching Work for Efficiency
10:17 Wrapping Up & Teaser for Next Episode

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I support scrappy female entrepreneurs with actionable steps & strategies to grow and scale the traffic, sales & profit in their eCommerce businesses. 

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