For most soap company owners, the holiday season is a double-edged sword. It’s typically the largest sales season for a lot of small business owners, which means money – yay! On the other hand, it’s full of fast-paced decision making, supersonic speed marketing, and tons of extra work, from production, labeling, shipping, and so much more. Mix all this up in a short stint of two months, and you have a recipe for holiday season burnout and stress that can make you fall out of love with your business baby.
For many folks, the holiday season is already hard – whether it’s the stress of family, finances, or that mental health lion rearing its ugly head. Throw owning a business on top, and it may just seem like an insurmountable mess! I have a secret – it doesn’t have to be this way. (Yasssss!)
Here’s six of my favorite ways to prevent holiday season burnout and stress:
#1) Remember, that you are more than just a small biz owner.
Make time for your other roles as a person – as a spouse, as a parent, as a child, as a sibling, as a friend. Remember to put down the small biz hat for enough time this week to show your loved ones that they are, in fact, loved.
The orders will still be there to pack after a nice family dinner. The emails will still be there after snuggling up with your spouse for a holiday movie. The website updates will still be there after coffee with a friend.
Nothing in the world is going to explode because you have taken time out of your hectic schedule to be something other than an entrepreneur.
#2) Remember to breathe and be proud.
It always seem that no matter how much we prepare, we’re never ready. Remember to step back and breathe. Look around you at what you’ve built, and give yourself a pat on the back.
If you show up to your best show of the season to find your booth assigned square next to other soapmakers – it’s all good. You’ve got this. Big holiday orders or running out of stock or materials? It’s not the end of the world. Take a deep breath, take note for next time, and move on with that chip on your shoulder.
Most soap company owners are solo business owners, and you don’t have time to drag yourself down about making mistakes!
#3) No matter how busy you are, do not short change yourself.
Schedule at least 30 minutes every day for downtime. Sleep eight hours a night. Get up and move around. Change your environment up. And take a freaking day off, for goodness sake!
Your business will not implode. Without you, your business doesn’t exist, right? So, take care of you first, and your business will thrive. I promise.
#4) Stay creative. Find other passions.
If soapmaking was your creative outlet and passion before you flipped it into a business, you need to find a creative outlet to replace it outside of the business hustle and bustle. If you haven’t found one yet, set some time aside every week to try out a new craft. Whether it’s taking a glass-blowing class, a weaving workshop, or scheduling a session every week at a local pottery studio to try your hand at the wheel, get your creative juices flowing outside of your biz.
Not only will it help you enjoy your life as a business owner, but you’ll find a way to get those creative ideas out on the table without hurting your bottom line (or making umpteen million new products you don’t have time for). I’ve said it before, but running a soap company is no longer sudsy playtime and you need to find a new way to express yourself.
Plus, the time you spend taking care of you and your quality of life will result in being able to wrangle problems in your biz because you’ve sharpened your brain’s creative flow and decision making skills!
#5) Ask for help, before you need it (and when you need it!)
There’s no shame in recruiting a little help for the holiday season! If you have a big show coming up or a big order to fill, invite family and friends over to help you wrap and package your products. If you have too much on your plate between personal and business tasks around the holidays, ask your spouse or kids to help you out.
My own kids have done everything from snapping lip balm tubes into lip balm fill trays at the age of two years old to counting and sorting finished products into bins at the age of four. It has the extra bonus of teaching them about entrepreneurship and seeing what you really do in your business, all while spending time with them! (And if your kids are older, I’m sure a little extra cash for their holiday spending is good motivator.)
If you ask for help, be specific about what you need and when you need it. No one is a mind-reader. Expecting folks to know what they can do to help you when you complain about being oh-so-busy isn’t going to work out. Don’t be afraid of asking, directly, for a helping hand when you need it.
#6) Manage your expectations and be realistic.
You are one person: you can’t be in five places at once and you can’t work 80+ hours a week. Don’t set out giant goals and plans for yourself that you can’t realistically accomplish, or you’ll find yourself defeated before you start! Look at what you know you are capable of doing, and up the ante a tiny bar to challenge yourself. Beyond that? It’s asking too much.
If you started your business this year, expecting thousands of dollars of sales to roll in because it’s Cyber Monday probably isn’t realistic. So, if you had two sales last month, set a goal for four sales. Or if you did $1,000 in sales last holiday season, set a goal for $1,200 this season. Give yourself an actionable plan to reach those goals, and do what you can. Don’t try to jump off a cliff without any wings!
Do you have any other tips for managing stress and preventing holiday season burnout? Pop them in the comments below, and help a fellow soapmaker out!