The holiday season is upon us. Depending on what your work from home business is comprised of, you could be freaking out more than ever. Here are three things that are true about this time of year for new home business owners:
- You want to enjoy the holidays with your family, friends, or even by yourself.
- You want to have the money to pay your bills and give your family nice things (or, at least, not starve).
- Most of your clients don’t have much work this time of year because they’re wrapping up their projects for the year.
And the combination of those things can leave you feeling stressed out. You could have more free time on your hands. While you can take advantage of that and enjoy some downtime, you may also find yourself worried sick about whether you’ll have enough money to pay your monthly expenses (let alone buying gifts for your children, other family members, or friends).
The Truth about the Stress You’re Feeling
I’ve worked from home full time for a few years. So, I am speaking from experience. The stress you’re feeling right now (during the holidays) is cyclical. What you’re feeling right now is something you’ll likely feel next year unless you become a six or seven figure business owner (but even then, many people struggle because what most people have isn’t an income problem…it’s a spending problem – and, yes, I know the necessities in life can be expensive. I mean spending more along the lines of trying to keep up with the Jones’ when you don’t even like them…).
Businesses slow down toward the end of the year. Since we’re conditioned (in America and in other countries…but I’m American so that’s all I can really speak about) to make a big fucking deal about Christmas and spend, spend, spend, stress is exacerbated.
Now That You Know the Truth, You Can Be Proactive
Even my business is a little slow this time of year. Textbook companies are done producing for the year. Colleges are wrapping up administrative reports. Lawyers sometimes keep shorter hours. Last year? Last year was rough. So rough. I was constantly worried. Bull’s type of work (general contracting) can also be slow this time of year.
This year? I decided I was going to be more proactive. I knew it still wasn’t going to be as busy as other times of the year for me (I am usually slammed from February through October). Here’s what I did:
- I reached out to clients I only work for once or twice a month and told them I was available for extra work should they need me. This resulted in two clients immediately sending over more work and asking if they could use me all month because other contractors weren’t working. Uh, yes.
- I looked for extra work. I don’t look for new clients very often. Most of my clients are referrals or repeat clients. Some people find me and ask me to help them. This landed me two more clients…one of which should end up being long-term. The other one? Maybe. It depends on how well we work together (starting with a test project).
- I made plans on how I can use my extra time. It’s no secret that I have C-PTSD. When I was a child, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. I have a freelance business course I am putting together. I’ve scheduled a seminar. I have my own manuscript to work on. I am hitting the gym. I am getting some small home improvement things done around our house. The weather here is unseasonably warm so I plan to spend more time outside. I am meditating more. I spend time working on my giant loom every day. I go to the gym and I work out at home (both, each day).
- I follow through on my routine. I have a specific time during the day when I work (usually. Days where I have to take care of my mother and on days where Baby Bull has something going on, obviously that changes!). If I don’t have enough work to last through that entire time, I look around for a little extra work. Otherwise, I move on to the next item on my list.
And, one final tip for you on being proactive. If you give gifts during Christmas or Yule…I know that some people don’t for religious or personal reasons and that’s cool…I just know that the extra strain of buying presents this time of year can really take its toll. At the beginning of each year, put back money for this time of year. Think about what you need to cover in terms of monthly expenses and presents. Then, start putting that money back. Don’t wait. Don’t skip a pay period and think you’ll make up for it later in the year. This can help you feel less stressed and help you get through the holiday season without a Britney 2007 moment.