The holiday season — a simultaneously exciting time to spend more time with family and an extra source of stress for small business owners, event and wedding planners, and creative entrepreneurs alike.
It’s no secret that increased stress levels can affect everyone around you — your clients, your team, your family, and yourself. We wedding and event planners can be stubborn, though, and ignore our stress levels until we’re completely burned out. But the truth is, stress can hurt your profit goals, affect your clients’ experience, and create tension in your team and your family.
Balancing the business of holiday shopping and planning, your clients, and your team members can be a bit tricky to figure out. But with a little extra planning, you can find that sweet spot to minimize stress while running your business during the holidays. I’m not going to pretend you can completely avoid the pressure that comes with the holidays, but there are steps my team and I have taken to greatly reduce stress and avoid major mistakes from happening. Here are my four secrets to managing your business during the holidays without losing your sanity!
The first step you should take to ensure you can run your business during the holidays as smoothly as possible is to decide which holidays are non-negotiable. AKA, the ones you can’t miss because they’re special to you and your family and/or friends. Once you figure that out, block those dates off on your calendar.
What makes a holiday non-negotiable? For me, it’s determining which holidays are priceless — meaning no amount of money would make working that holiday worth it to me.
Since it’s your business, you can decide how many holidays you want to take off. (That’s the beauty of running your own company!) But to give you an example, our wedding planning business, Blush, blocks off Easter Sunday, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. These are days I take off without fail every year, and my team and clients know ahead of time that I won’t be available.
Now that you have your non-negotiable holidays blocked off, you can determine which holidays fall next in line of importance! These are holidays that are important to you but not necessarily non-negotiable. Examples of important holidays are New Year’s Eve, Thanksgiving weekend, Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc. For holidays like these, you should add a premium to make the time you spend away from your family and friends worth it.
Remember, time is the only non-renewable resource we have as service-based entrepreneurs. When you say ‘yes’ to one event for your business, you’re saying ‘no’ to time spent with family or any other non-work-related activity that is important to you. There is always going to be a cost-benefit tug when running your own business, so it’s important that your time is well-compensated!
Pro-tip: When working these holidays, you must take your team’s safety into consideration. Most of the world gets every national holiday off, which can make driving home late at night from a wedding or event late dangerous. At Blush, we require an overnight stay at the host resort for most important holidays, such as New Year’s Eve, even if the event is in town. By doing this, you can have peace of mind knowing that everyone is safe.
Though holidays usually fall on one date on the calendar, you need to still take the days before or after the holiday into consideration. For example, events taking place between Christmas and New Year require a lot of attention, especially around Christmas. Having to worry about an event on Christmas can be frustrating for you if Christmas is one of your non-negotiable holidays!
To avoid conflicts with clients, make sure to manage their expectations by letting them know which days your office will be closed. Create a timeline that includes finalizing all the details in advance. The last thing you want is to be stressing out or receiving calls while your family opens presents!
Clients aren’t the only ones you need to worry about, though. You will also need to coordinate with your vendors. Know which vendors will be available if you need them, and which ones will be closed (and for how long). With a little extra planning, you can avoid delays, stress, and a huge headache.
If you work with a team, let each of your team members request their choice of holiday off. Everyone has different priorities, so by asking your team members which holidays they prefer not to work on, you can create a happier work environment!
For example, one of my planners at Blush requests the 4th of July off every year since it’s a special time for her family. The bottom line? You can’t assume everyone wants Thanksgiving weekend off just because that’s a non-negotiable holiday for you.
The holidays for us wedding planners can be tricky to navigate, but it doesn’t have to be with a little bit of effort and planning ahead. And in the midst of it all, don’t forget what the holidays are truly about — joy, gratitude, and quality time with the most important people in your life.
I help creative business owners sustainably scale their business so they can create a thriving career and work-life balance.
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I have experience speaking at both live and virtual events, educating creative and wedding entrepreneurs how to step into their role as CEO. If you're looking for speakers for your next conference, workshop, event, or the next guest for your podcast, I'd love to see how we can collaborate!
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