44: Beating the Holiday Business Blues: Tips Beyond the Bubble Bath
What do you do when the holiday business blues come knocking at the door of your animal, pet or equine-based business? When your existing clients are “waiting until after the holidays” to make their purchases and potential new consumers haven’t hit their “new year, new me” excitement yet. When it seems like everyone around you is celebrating the holiday festivities but you’re feeling a little blah and wondering what the new year will bring. Join Kim and Cara as we discuss ways to navigate the holidays, rejuvenate your business, and hopefully find a little joy and cheer for the season.
Our Big 3 Takeaways
Get into the season! Run social media contests orcustomer appreciation and holiday events. Give you employees some love. Offer holiday promotions. Also, take some time to get your sights set on the new year. It’s a wonderful time to simply celebrate!
Take Time for Self Care
If your business slows down this time of year, enjoy it. Take some time to take care of YOU. Get the rest you need — take a “do nothing” day. Or maybe, dare we say it, a vacation!
Love on Your Business
Batch up projects that need to be done but usually are not done because you don’t have time. Organize and set up systems. Negotiate with providers and suppliers for the best deals. Spruce up your space — rearrange, remodel and refresh!
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Kimberly Beer 0:00
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Welcome to The Business Animal podcast. Saddle up for a gallop to the top of the animal industry, where you’ll learn how to tame your wild business beast with tips, techniques, and tools that will take overwhelm to obedience school, and have you wagging your tail with joy. And now your hosts Kim Beer and Cara Taylor Swift.
Kimberly Beer 0:40
Hey there business animals. It’s Kim with Be More Business
Cara Taylor Swift 0:44
and Cara with Fast Horse photography.
Kimberly Beer 0:47
Welcome to The Business Animal episode about holiday. Wha wha wha
Cara Taylor Swift 0:54
the holiday blahs
Kimberly Beer 0:57
the holiday blah. So this happens to me. Well, this is a much me but it happens to a lot of my clients this time of year, like I said is my favorite time of the year. I don’t get a lot of the holiday blahs, I’m going to be really honest, because I spend a lot of time in one of the areas of our big three today to get you out of the holiday blahs. And it’s actually one of my favorite things to do all year long. So I do spend a lot of time every week talking to clients, my own clients, and a lot of them are in the holiday blahs. I’m not gonna say all but a lot of them are in the holiday blahs, I work with a lot of service based businesses. And this time of year, the whole world starts to become focused on holiday shenanigans, and they don’t make any kind of decisions. Like there’s no buying decisions. And people start to miss appointments with their coaching sessions, or their therapy sessions or their dog grooming sessions or whatever it is that that person is selling. And the schedules are all a mess and and there’s holiday parties that have to be attended. And there’s networking to do but it doesn’t seem to like go anywhere between here and the first of the year. So I spend a lot of time with people who are very bah humbug about the holidays in their business. How about youCara? What is the holidays like in your business?
Cara Taylor Swift 2:19
Absolutely. So what I see is, in my industry photography, for example, we’re basically getting beat up between now until the end of November, I mean, just just beat up because everybody wants last minute photoshoots. And it’s like the feast is happening right now in the industry. So you work, work, work, work, work, you work all the hours. And then there’s this huge letdown at the end of it. So a lot of times what I hear is, we’ve got to get this done before the holidays, or we’re going to wait until after the holidays to make a decision around purchasing or buying or utilizing those services. And so I hear that across animal-based industries, like if you’ve got people that are like you said earlier, if they’re planning, they’re making appointments, but because of the holidays, they’re either busy, or they’re just feeling I don’t know, they’re feeling festive, and they just miss their appointments, they reschedule, they cancel appointments. So you’ve got business owners that are just trying to fulfill their commitments to their clients and clients are canceling on them. Because they’re in like you said, a festive holiday mood, or you’ve got the opposite where they’re saying to them, You know what, I’m going to book your service or I’m going to purchase your product. And I’m going to do it after the holidays we’ve got to get through Christmas right now. For example, you know, we’ve got a lot of the big purchases,
Kimberly Beer 3:35
we have to get through the holiday,
Cara Taylor Swift 3:37
I find that it can be really easy like the business holiday blues, that’s a real thing. Even as like an equine photographer, where you’re slam slam slam, like I said, you’re just getting just just beat up this time of year. And then there’s this huge period of just kind of nothing. You’re just down, everybody’s waiting, you’re on hold. Everything’s on hold, you know, even your providers dry up, you know, like they’re shutting down early. And there’s so there’s a whole lot of like, what do I do with myself right now? Yeah. And you’re been on this high octane, it’s just a lot. You get on this like speeding train. And all of a sudden that train stops. And it’s like, you got to come down from that. And how do you shift gears. So that’s what Kim and I want to talk about today. We want to talk about the holiday business blahs as we’re calling it.
Kimberly Beer 4:31
Yeah, the moments in this time of year when you just are frustrated, almost beyond repair, like you’re just ready to just give up and fly off to a desert island somewhere where there is no humanity and you don’t have to deal with this type of craziness. And I know that this shows up in a million different forms. So the way that we described it, you know if that doesn’t quite fit you actually I would love to know what your frustrations are with the holidays. And the the business part of holiday time, I used to always really look forward to this time because it was my downtime since I worked primarily with in the Midwest, we tend to have a little bit more downtime during this time of year because our weather starts to get a little bit wonky, like all our trees and leaves have fallen off. And everybody is kind of in this sort of planning, and they all go off and do their own thing with the holiday stuff. And then I could have some downtime to just be because I was really busy the rest of the year, that doesn’t really work for me anymore. I still am pretty busy this time of year, even with business clients, mostly helping them get through the season, where they’re frustrated with their clientele. Money is a big problem this time of year for my clients because they’re like, oh, we need to spend our money on Christmas and not on therapy or coaching or whatever it is that they’re buying. So we have three ways. Of course, our big three, we have three ways that you can navigate this season more effectively carry one around those downforce.
Cara Taylor Swift 6:13
Yes. So Kim, and I spend a lot of time really kind of chatting about this season and talking about it. And what we came up with our big three is find ways to re-motivate yourself. And of course, we’re going to give you guys some suggestions, we would never leave you hanging like that. The second is Hello, it’s the time of year where you’re not as busy maybe or you’re waiting on your clients to come back. This is the time when you can actually take some time for self-care. So we’re going to talk a little bit about that. And we’re going to try I’m going to try really hard not to make those suggestions like get a massage or, you know, take a bubble bath, we’re going to actually give you guys some things that hopefully
Kimberly Beer 6:52
will bath is supposed to fix everything.
Cara Taylor Swift 6:56
It drives me crazy when people talk about self care, and they’re like, take a bubble bath, you know, like, Okay. Anyway, the third of our big three the third of our big three is love on your business this is time. You know, give your business a bubble bath for crying out loud. This is the time love on your business. Okay, so let’s start with number one. How do you re-motivate yourself and re-motivate yourself in your business during a time when it feels really slow? You’re maybe getting a lot of I need to wait till after the holiday responses from your clients. It’s like crickets, you know, on the business side of things. How do you re-motivate yourself? Kim? Do you want to jump into that? Yeah, then
Kimberly Beer 7:47
you don’t have a bathtub. You can’t take a bubble bath.
Cara Taylor Swift 7:51
bubble baths are not the answer for everything. They’re just not people in the self care world.
Kimberly Beer 7:59
People in the self care world and some of us don’t have bathtubs anymore. We only have showers and they never suggest a therapeutic shower. All right, so re motivate yourself. I’m sorry, that just cracked me up this morning. Okay, re motivating yourself. You know, you can you can embrace the holidays. It’s okay. You don’t even have to be visited by whatever the three ghosts of Christmas past to cure the two ghosts of Christmas past and the Christmas future ghost or whatever to get yourself out of the Baja bugs. Look at your customers. We did it. We did an episode last week on appreciation and gratitude for being an entrepreneur. And one thing that came up repeatedly in that episode was how thankful we were for the people that we work with. And for our customers that we have the best customers than animal based businesses because even then they have animals, right. So run some customer appreciation stuff maybe takes some time instead of trying to focus on the negative things going on. Like your customers being distracted by the holidays or those shiny bubble bath opportunities. Do some customer appreciation events really participate in Giving back a little bit and just letting your customers know how much they mean to you. Even if they frustrate you this time of year you can do holiday events. That’s another thing and some days I don’t know Cara probably me I love holiday events. I’m the giant extrovert I like going to them but I know for an introvert it probably is a nightmare. The number of holiday parties that I bet introverts at together have appreciated COVID If nothing else for not that we should appreciate COVID But some of the changes covered is brought about in the fact that there’s not as many of those crazy holiday parties that you have to go to
Cara Taylor Swift 9:48
customer appreciation this time of year can be a lot of fun too because one of the things that I like to do is I’ll hand pick, you know, some of my clients that were just really great clients that really supported my business throughout the year, and I’ll send them little surprise gifts in the mail. First of all, that just further harnesses that goodwill, and you know, like appreciation of your clients. But a lot of times that comes back to you like, they will announce that they got something really cool from you on social media, or, you know, they’ll make sure that they remember you, you know, when they’re gearing up for their post holiday family photoshoot. So I love to do little things like that this time of year. And something else that you can do is it’s like plan employee appreciation, dinner or party. If you don’t have employees, that’s totally okay. You can actually do an event with your favorite community partners. Maybe you have some industry folks that are in your animal business that you rely on regularly, maybe plan a little dinner party out, or some kind of open house at your location and have people get together. I see a lot of barns this time of year do really amazing holiday parties at their barn just appreciating their barn community. And I love that so much. It’s just a nice way to just everybody gets together, you get to recognize and celebrate and just spend some time together. And it allows you to reconnect with those people because they’re probably experiencing a slower time in their business as well. So it’s kind of a way for everybody to get together and network again. And you know, you can of course, chat chat business, but it’s also a way to just kind of grow closer.
Kimberly Beer 11:23
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Cara Taylor Swift 11:55
I also love this time of year because you can do some things that maybe you wouldn’t do it other times of the year, for example, run, you have time to actually run a social media contest or a giveaway, I just did a giveaway in my business. And I grew my mailing list by over 70 Something new people and it’s a great way when you don’t have a ton of stuff going on to just get your social media moving, get that algorithm pumped up. And then you’re also running a giveaway. So somebody at the end of that is going to walk away with a prize. So think about what you have in your business that maybe you need to clear out of your office or that someone else would really love and is there a way that you can harness that to get some growth in some areas and to have some fun The other thing you can do is offer a promotion some kind of either pre-holiday or post holiday promotion. So the holidays are coming people are spinning, spinning spinning and then you have that huge shutdown of spending right after the holidays are right before the holidays that’s the perfect time to offer some kind of special promotion like a buy one get one free or a offer a freebie with each purchase or some kind of special coupon just to kind of pump people up again and get them thinking about your business sharing about your business so that they don’t forget you I also like to just remind people that just because people are telling you that they need to wait until after the holidays that doesn’t mean that you just stopped selling this time of year if you keep selling you will have customers you will have buyers you will have people that will need your services just try to think of some creative ways that you can you know present your products and services that maybe you don’t do at other times of the year that maybe feel right for this time of year and then I always love I always think about like coming into January as that like it’s a new year new me attitude is coming so that is across the board right can like so that is that is other business owners like as business owners we all think to ourselves okay this year in my business I’m going to do things differently or I’m going to do this better well guess what your clients are the same way so they may be thinking about their animals and their health maybe their riding goals or their even their business goals so they might be thinking about these things and it’s a new year new me so how as a business owner first of all, how are you going to have a new year new you attitude but how are you going to harness that attitude that you’re going to have coming from your clients so maybe this is the time that you offer some kind of awesome deal to get them in the door you know I mean I get sucked into it every year I start seeing these awesome promotions these cool new educational opportunities that I’m like new year new me baby I’m going to purchase that and I’m going to be even more awesome this year you know so we all get sucked into it so be a part of that. Like how do you how do you harness something for your business that people are going to want to be a part of so you got to kind of capture that new year new me attitude that’s coming
Kimberly Beer 14:52
Yep. So get motivated for those things and and that new year new me thing that is huge for A lot of my clients because they are in businesses that offer transformation for people. And that new year is like a reset button for a lot of people out there. And so there’s a nice opportunity to be able to build something from that with people. So motivating your own self to know, it’s really only 30 days, until or 45 days until that attitude comes back around, and you’re gonna have probably a busier time than ever starting after the first of the year. I know for me that always is the way there’s people right that first week in January going I need to be building my business this year. This year is my year, I’m going to get stuff done. The holidays are now over. And it’s time to focus on on business building. So those are usually my really busy weeks. Which brings us to the number two of the big three, you can plan for this pause, it can be a really enjoyable pause. If you want to take a little time for yourself, this is an opportune time to do it. Because you have a little bit of downtime to be able to embrace some self care bubble baths aside some really important self care practices, maybe take a vacation, use the time to reground yourself, become back in touch with family go back to the traditions that you have in your own family and in your own holiday season and maybe show up a little differently as as just a more relaxed person less focused on the business and more focused on yourself and those around you that you care about. Now I love on Cara’s list there’s always a list she has a list at every episode and on her list. This one it says have a do nothing day in in parentheses. It says this.
Cara Taylor Swift 16:56
It’s true. We work our butts off Kim I mean we are a lot of times solopreneurs out there and we’re the sole people that are responsible for moving our business forward and meeting our client’s needs right and and we have you know animals that we’re taking care of we don’t get to stop in our businesses as small business owners However, having a do nothing day is eye opening. Have you have you ever tried to have a do nothing day?
Kimberly Beer 17:21
Yeah, but I have to you I have tried to do it. But the only way I can accomplish it is if I do nothing but stay in bed like I have to be really super exhausted. Yeah, and I like a Netflix and chill kind of day. Yeah, well, no, it’s mostly just sleep. I don’t Netflix and chill. I’m murder mystery and nap. That’s my okay, it’s highly concerning to my son that the fact that serial killer documentaries seem to make me sleep like a baby.
Cara Taylor Swift 17:52
So well the thing about these new do nothing days is we’re always connected, we’re always expected to be doing something. And so that’s our habit. That’s our routine, I get just itchy inside, if I’m just sitting around for too long. And the idea of a do nothing day is to actually make your body chill. And you can schedule like I’m doing nothing today. I’m not washing the dishes, I’m not answering emails, I’m putting my phone down I’m going to relax and it can take hours to get into that mode you might need to do a couple do nothing days like a whole do nothing weekend to really get yourself to that place. I don’t know about you, but when I go on vacation in say we take five days, the first three days I feel itchy inside and I’m not really that relaxed. The last two days it that’s when I’m finally in my groove. And I’m like man, I’m so chill. I don’t even I haven’t even seen my phone in hours you know, but you have to you have to like allow your body to do that.
Kimberly Beer 18:50
It is a very hard thing to do and I will confess I haven’t had a vacation like a planned time off vacation in probably 15 years or 20 I mean I haven’t actually taken a trip or gone somewhere or done something even I can’t do a staycation because my idea of of staycation around this ranch is to get out of the office and go outside that’s my time I can get you know consider that downtime is going outside but an actual go somewhere to do something enjoyable for myself that’s not focused around anything business oriented. I honestly think it’s been decades since I’ve done that now I will take a day off here and there just here on the ranch and and do what I said murder mystery and nap and really try not to not to get into the office but I have a bad habit with my phone. I will admit I have an addiction problem with the telephone and I know I’m not alone in that. And it’s really really hard not to pick the phone up and the one of my first and last Last year, kind of new year’s resolution things was to really start watching my screen time and to limit myself to those two hours a day of screen time. And to keep my phone turned off otherwise. And I’ll be honest, I felt so much better when I did that. And now I fallen back into the bad habit of picking it up every 30 seconds and taking a look at it. So need to get back into that self care routine. Because the self care routines are healthy for your entire body and everything, they’re good for your
Cara Taylor Swift 20:31
family too like, it really allows you to kind of reground yourself in the world that’s around you. And you know, that’s one of the things I have up here, you know, just if you can get yourself to a place where you can relax enough that you actually like are looking at the people around you and feeling the atmosphere around you and not thinking about work. And the next big thing you have to do in your animal business, you know, this is the time for that have a couple days where you can, you know, really, if you if you have a holiday that you just love or a tradition that you love, like really embrace that and almost kid, like, go into it and enjoy it. You know, bubble baths are your thing, this is the time go take a bath, go take your bubble bath, that’s your thing. I don’t think it’s gonna change your life. But if that’s your thing you should do
Kimberly Beer 21:16
yes, and and they sell some amazing bubble bath things. I’m always jealous when I go to the little fluffy store where they have the bubble bath stuff. And I look at the aisle and I’m like, I don’t have a bathtub that I can put those in. Alright, number three on our list is to love on your business. And this is what I love. I love the strategic planning part of this time of year. And this is when I get to do it for my own business because I have a little bit of time away from clients because they’re off doing their own holiday stuff. So I have a little time to focus on things for me and for my business. And I absolutely love this time of year for that because I’m writing business plans, I’m redoing my creative smart plans. And I don’t do the boring SMART plans. But I do the creative ones. I’m looking at building up and batching content and going back over all the things I’ve done all year long and then planning for next year. And and it’s just, it’s wonderful. It’s wonderful. I absolutely love living in that futuristic space. And so I get super happy about that. So it’s another thing you can do for yourself all those things in your business that you normally don’t have time to do. Now you can do them, get get some things started that you have had inspiration to do all year long and just haven’t had the time to do because you’ve been on the Crazy Train of running a business set up those systems that are going to help you for the next year. Yeah, it’s a good time to try out that new software. Yeah, my big my big project this weekend is to let the computer get all of the software all its ons upgraded so that I can download the newest versions of Photoshop and Lightroom and Camtasia and all the tools that I use. I’m super excited to get those things but I’m a weird geek so I kind of like the technology piece of things. You know it’s a good time to do some winter cleaning on your business. Take all those things out, freshen up your space, clean things up. It’s just always a wonderful opportunity to be able to get some of those things done for your business.
Cara Taylor Swift 23:25
Yeah, this is the time of year when I change out the artwork in my office. I will replace my office rug that has been tracked on all year i patch if I got places on the walls that I love to disperse and clean and reorganize. I have several storage closets that are full of art and photography gear and that sort of thing. I clean out all that and it makes it feel so good to walk into the studio when everything looks so pretty and like refreshed and clean it like makes me want to be in the studio. This is a good time for that really refresh those workspaces. This is also a fun time if you are like me and you were like branded clothing for your business. This is the time of year when I like to order new branded clothing like I go out because I’m going to support another small business owner hopefully. And I like to like look for things that I want to wear during the year and then have my logo put on them it sounds kind of silly but every year you have to be thinking about like that type of thing and what better time of the year then after you’ve eaten all of the holiday goodies and you need new clothes anyway because you don’t fit into your old clothes. So you go and you look for all you figure out what you want to wear and you find the cute stuff and you get it to your small business owner that’s gonna logo it for you branded for you and you’re good to go. Another thing that I think is really important this time of year is this is a good time. If you have providers out there or suppliers out there this is a good time to you can renegotiate with them for pricing if you have insurance that you need to be looking at other options for also if you offer products this is a fun time of year to test As new products, and decide if you’re going to add more things to your line or remove some things or change out some things that you offer, it’s kind of a slower time when you can be bringing in samples and testing stuff out and introducing some of that stuff to your clients and getting them really excited about the new year. Another little thing that I always have told myself, I was going to do a better job at and never do it quite like I want to, but I’m determined this year track your success throughout the year. So if you have a big win, like have a folder somewhere where you print that off, or you write it down and keep that so that when you are going through your slow period, I go through a time every year, and I have told the people that support me in this world, when I start saying things like oh my gosh, I’ve been so slow and no one’s booking and what’s going on to remind me because I do this the same time every year, I started having that conversation. And the people around me are supposed to remind me and they’re supposed to say just a reminder, you always say this, and then you always get super busy. And then you’re always like pulling your hair out at the end of the year. So you have those people but celebrate some of those successes. So start documenting, if you win an award, if you have a giant sale, that is something out of the norm for you. If you make a new connection, if you break a record a number of clients or horses or animals that you have served, document that so that when you do go through this law, you can celebrate it and you can pull that folder out and remind yourself of all of the things that you did. And if you want to announce those things to the world, that’s a great time to celebrate your wins at the end of the year celebrate those wins that you’ve had this year.
Kimberly Beer 26:33
You know, there’s a lot of the holiday parties and a lot of the holiday activities like I there’s a lot of appreciation luncheons that I go to between now and Christmas time I end up at a lot of those. And one of the things those those are usually kind of dull. But if you sit and you really sit in gratitude of why you were invited to those appreciation luncheons, it’s really nice to look back over the year and see where you have made an impact and why you are invited to come to the holiday luncheon. I’m a big proponent of keeping that success journal for multiple reasons. But this is a really good time to pull it out. I think all of these ideas are fantastic to be able to love on your business to be able to just spend some time with yourself and with your customers and just be present to all of the the things in the world. And I know I am getting woowoo but all those things in the world that bring us so much nourishment throughout the year. So Cara is just looking at me like me, we’re off on a on a tangent. Alright, so I will get off of my tangent. I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season. And that maybe some of the things that we’ve talked about today will kind of get you out of that holiday. But if you are in the middle of it any last thoughts, Cara?
Cara Taylor Swift 27:57
No, I just want to say happy holidays to everyone out there. And thank you for your support this year. You know, Kim and I, we commit to do this every Tuesday for you guys. And you probably don’t see a lot of the behind the scenes stuff that goes on to you know, put an episode out every single week, we want to say thank you to all of our listeners out there, and to the people like Jazz who helps keep our episodes moving forward and our guests that we’ve had this year and we just want to wish you all just the happiest of holiday whether you celebrate or you don’t celebrate or you have special holidays and traditions that you celebrate. We hope that they’re wonderful for you and that you do get to take a little break from your animal business and spend some time with your family and your loved ones and your animals and your pets and you know if bubble baths are your thing, enjoy a bubble bath we you know, we don’t care. We want you to be happy, do what you got to do. So Happy holidays everyone.
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