What Not to Forget During the Holidays

What Not to Forget During the Holidays

The holidays are here.

Many of you will be welcoming kids home from school, rushing about doing last-minute gift shopping, preparing to receive guests or making travel plans to visit family.

It’s a busy time of year… but not for your business.

During the holidays, most freelancers let their business fall off the priority list. You probably backburner yours as well. All the hard work and hustling you’ve been doing the rest of the year grinds to a slow halt this time of year.

And you justify it easily.

“It’s Christmas. No one works on Christmas. Besides, business is SLOW. It’s the perfect time to kick back and take some time off!”

That’s ridiculous. The holidays are the perfect time to work on improving your business!

Don’t get me wrong: You should absolutely spend time with your family. Get together with friends. Play with the kids. Rejoice. Rest. Have many merry moments, and treasure them.

Just don’t get lazy and walk away from the money.

Freelancers have a common problem that contributes to slow, struggling sales year round, and I see happening every day. They complain they’re having trouble getting new clients or earning a decent living from their business, and after I take one glance at their website, I can see why.

Most freelancers have a terrible website.

Maybe it’s too cluttered. Maybe the copy is terrible. Maybe there isn’t enough guidance for potential customers. Maybe new visitors can’t figure out what’s being sold, offered or pitched. There’s always something going on to hurt sales – and usually it’s glaringly obvious.

When I point out the issues to people, they always say, “Oh, yeah… that. I was planning to get around to that…”

They know their website has problems. And they neglect them.

They make excuses. Too busy, they say. Too much work. Too many deadlines. Too many other projects on the go. It’s amazing how many different ways people can justify their lack of action.

It’s almost as if they don’t really want to make more money.

Right now, during the holidays, you’re not too busy. There aren’t that many deadlines. There isn’t too much going on. There aren’t that many excuses.

Use the holidays to fix up your website.

Take some of that holiday time off you’d been planning, and put it to good use. Be honest with yourself: First impressions need to be great to get sales, and you should work probably on yours.

This week, compile a list of what’s working well and what isn’t so hot about your website. Look at your home page. Your blog. Your sidebar. Your copy and sales pages. All of it.

Break down what you need to improve into small, actionable steps. Don’t just make this list and forget about it – start improving your online presence during the holidays, when you have all the time you need.

Come January, you’ll be so much more ready to welcome in new customers… and your efforts will pay off handsomely.

Want more tips on how to improve your sales in the New Year? Head over to  Damn Fine Words and sign up for the newsletter. You’ll get over 30 weeks of bonus tips and enjoy a special series on money-making ideas that help you start 2013 on the right foot.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

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  1. It’s so easy to fall into the holiday trap indeed. It’s a good thing my husband will be working on Christmas while I tag along and contemplate on how I’ll improve my writing business. :)

  2. Thanks James – I’m not a freelancer but a solopreneur, and your tips here make perfect sense. It’s just that being busy at this time of the year makes you feel guilty somehow of all the missed opportunities you could have had with your family, friends and so on .. only if you’re not that swamped with work. But hey, this can work. Happy holidays to you & everyone at Men with Pens; been a pleasure reading your posts.

    • I always get bogged down with which to choose, freelancer or solopreneur… they essentially mean the same thing in theory, but they mean very different things to people!

      As for missed opportunities because of being swamped with work, that definitely shouldn’t be happening the rest of the year. You absolutely have to balance resting and playtime with time at the computer, or you’ll burn out.

      So on that note, I’m wishing you a very fruitful 2013, with a wonderful play-work balance ahead :)

  3. Thanks for this timely reminder… just what I needed…:)

    A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours…

  4. Last Christmas my niece shared she usually had her best sales week between Christmas and New Year’s. We were all surprised because we figured everyone took off that week. Her response was: “Exactly, there is no competition. Customers need service and I’m there.”

    Happy Holidays to everyone. Looking forward to Santa coming down from the North. :)

    • Your niece is both smart and wise. I’ve had many very good business weeks during the holidays because of exactly that: I was open for business when so many others had gone fa-la-la-la-laing.

      That doesn’t mean I missed out on festivities – I just used my time very wisely… like your niece is!

      (And hugs and happy holidays to you too, Mary. May 2013 be the year you smile most.)

  5. Excellent topic James,

    Complacency is the problem.

    RIP Steven Covey he used to say, “Sharpen the sword”.

    Most people just forget this step and wonder why they can’t build up enough momentum to actually take off and fly.

    My good friends please. Don’t let any slack get in the line.

    Lets goooooo! mooooove it!

    • I muttered a horrified “oh god” when I read slack in the line – it immediately reminded me of a few unfortunate moments fishing on the lakes.

      “WHAT DO YOU MEAN, YOU LOST IT?!!!!”

      Um. Oops?

      And in business… oops indeed!

  6. That is what I am planning to do. I am switching my websites from Thesis to Genesis over at the end of December. It will be nice to start the year with a fresh new design and new goals for success.

  7. James, I totally agree. In fact, I could cut this comment short by just writing ‘Yeah, what he said.’

    I fully intend to have a great Christmas with my family, but at the same time the holiday period is a chance to put extra hours in when others are not. It’s a chance to get ahead, or at least back to where you meant to be.

    And with regard to the appearance of web sites, I note that like any good copywriter you fully understand the value of graphics, main headings and paragraph headings to make pages appear less daunting.

    As well as conveying meaning, these things are also a way to break up text and get your readers on the slippery slope. So they start at the top and next thing they know they are at the bottom of your post – having read every word. Ace copywriting.

    You have a great site here. Mine? Aargh not so much. But I am getting there.

  8. Hey James. Hope you’re having a good Holiday season. I haven’t chatted with my friend in awhile and was wondering how you’ve been so I stopped by.

    “Time off?” What is that? As an entrepreneur I have never heard of such nonsense! hehe

    You know, for me I am doing what I love, so it’s not work, it’s pleasure.

  9. Great article and I couldn’t agree more that the holidays are a great time to improve the business. No overdoing or over-stressing, but a great time to take inventory of what works and what doesn’t and get ready for the new year.

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