Many of the practitioners that I work with find summertime a real struggle; the kids might be at home since school is out, or there may be family vacations, travel, and other distractions (I mean, you can’t really say “no” to that all-day neighborhood BBQ, right?).
But you know – like I know – that you can’t abandon the momentum that you’ve built up around your business. Not for long, anyways. So what’s a practitioner to do?
We all need time-off; just take it wisely
Stress is unhealthy, so taking breaks from your all-encompassing practice is important.
Research has shown the value of unplugging and recharging, and the benefits include positive effects on your brain, immune system, hormones, adrenal support, and much more.
Because of the tremendous benefits related to de-stressing, I am a big proponent for using “mini-vacations” in order to de-stress. A mini-vacation is powerful as it allows you the positive results of a vacation without requiring one actually travel to another place!
But a mini-vacation doesn’t address re-connecting with your family. And re-connecting with family – whether a spouse you don’t spend enough time with these days (because you are so busy with your growing practice!) or your kids home from school – is important to your (and their!) health and happiness as well.
So go ahead and take that vacation, but consciously lay out a plan prior to going, and communicate the plan with your family and whatever team you might have within your practice. You need to commit to the plan as well!
My suggestions for a “productive” and balanced vacation plan include:
- Staying in touch with your practice
- Leverage your “away” time to focus on something “net new” or creative
- Never stop marketing
- Check out competition and technology trends
Staying in touch with your practice
I’m not talking about answering your phone and texting morning, noon, and night. What kind of bonding opportunity is that with your family playing second fiddle to all of that!
However you can make a commitment that for one hour in the morning and one hour prior to dinner (or whatever limited schedule might work best for you), you will “stay in touch with your practice” and answer your messages, especially with whatever team you might have (virtual or otherwise), along with imperative client follow-up.
You then need to honor that, and not do it for the rest of the day!
I have found that this reaps huge rewards for me. I get the break I need from the unrelenting messages, communication and technology; but my keeping in touch lets my team know that I am never far away (and will be back in touch according to my schedule).
Leverage your “away” time to focus on something “net new” or creative
I don’t know about you, but I could do email 24 hours a day and never catch up. So why do we all feel so compelled to keep up while on a vacation?
When I do go on a vacation, I dedicate my “messaging” time as mentioned above. Then the rest of my vacation is NOT focused on emails. When was the last time you did this? Try it, it works.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t focus on my business while I am sitting at the beach with my family. It just means I am not doing emails and following up on messages. After I do my limited messaging (according to my committed schedule!), I enjoy my family, my surroundings, and then I still have my CREATIVE time. That is time for me to draft out a new program, or create a presentation. No messaging, though!
I find that when you are relaxed that those creative juices really flow. If you are relatively new to being a practitioner, this would be a great time to work on a community presentation. For example, perhaps you can plan an educational presentation on blood sugar and insulin resistance. Nowadays you can get wireless almost anywhere, even at the beach next to your hotel, or certainly while at the pool, and other such places. You can also have your informational resources easily accessible (such as the materials you have access to from taking one of my classes).
Creating a solid community presentation is one of several marketing tools that you can re-use over and over (although it is sometimes hard to put the time aside to just do it in the first place!). It can be helpful on a number of levels, including:
- Allows you to demonstrate your knowledge, expertise, and authority over your topic and your practice
- Community members get to meet you and get a sense of who you are
- You can connect with a larger number of potential clients at once (and within a short time-frame)
- You can collect audience contact information to build your email list
- You can offer free consultations or other “gifts”, for example, to help land future clients
Never stop marketing
When you are NOT on vacation, you are likely focused on your everyday business challenges, including client management, accounting, technology challenges, perhaps managing a virtual team (graphics person or web person, for example), and, of course, marketing.
But the marketing you are doing is likely focused on just (barely!) keeping fresh content on your blog and social media, or somehow managing to get out a monthly newsletter. You are probably not stepping back and focusing on a lot of incremental marketing activities that can, in fact, bring in more revenues.
One such example? Referral and affiliate programs. Larger practitioners may have those in place, but even if you are just starting out you can often make incremental revenue by becoming an affiliate for peers and other colleagues. You can also bring in more clients by offering existing clients referral incentives. You just need some creative “downtime” – without the crush of answering emails – to focus on creating these marketing programs.
Do you have a marketing plan? Most people don’t, at least that is what I find. But even if you just create a list of things you want to do (maybe because you’ve seen your competition or peers do it), a vacation is a great time to take on a few of the activities on that list which you just don’t get to otherwise.
Check out competition and technology trends
Along with the topic of marketing, checking out what your peers are doing well (and not so well). Just as important in reviewing your peers is checking out what your competition is doing that works well for them as part of your ongoing marketing efforts. When I say “competition,” I am also including websites and other “resources,” perhaps complementary services that your clients may be seeking help from.
Check out what they are doing with technology, too. How are they relaying their social media buttons on their newsletters, or how are they driving traffic to their podcasts, etc. Technology changes so fast you can’t always be the “first” to think of the many great content and marketing ideas, and coming up with templates from the work of others can get those creative juices flowing. Benefit from others’ great ideas!
Vacation downtime is a great opportunity to spend an hour or two to see what the practitioners or health gurus that you follow are doing.
Last, but definitely not least, there is nothing more relaxing than reading a good book (or, nowadays, it can be an eBook or audio recording as well). Podcasts, in particular, are my favorite way to spend some down time. I am a big proponent of incorporating exercise into my vacation, so I might go on a long walk, or run and listen to one of my favorite health gurus, or catch up on listening to speakers in some of the great summits that I have participated in. Or, if I want to get my head completely out of the holistic health space, I may even download a good eBook.
So what’s important for you to do this summer?
- Get in the right amount of relaxation and family-time fun;
- Keep the momentum going for your business while on vacation (have a strategy for limited messaging time…and then stop messaging! Really!);
- Tap your creative juices while relaxing to learn new ways to grow your business and market to prospective clients.
And if you are ready to make the first step to becoming your own boss and building a career you love, so you can have the freedom to go on vacation when it works with your family, apply for the Nutritional Endocrinology Practitioner Training program at http://www.NEPTApply.com. Learn how to become the “go to” practitioner in your community!