Although some of us might have gone 'back to school' this September, many of us are going about life with very little change to our routine. Somehow, though, does anyone else feel like they can't shake off that years old 'September marks the start of a new year' kind of feeling? I always try to embrace September with open arms, ready for new challenges, new friends and new experiences, but this year is a little daunting because it's the first year I'll be going into September as a business owner. In light of this, I'm taking on three new business shifts this autumn and felt you might need them in your own career and business ventures.
Make a change
Autumn should be the definition of change. After a hot, sweet summer, autumn begins the process of dormancy in nature once again. Leaves transition from a glorious emerald green to vibrant yellow and orange, before dropping silently to the ground beneath.
Just as in nature, where change is necessary for rebirth next Spring, we have to accept the dynamic characteristics of running a business. The climate is constantly changing, with innovative developments, new trends and breakthroughs. What was the 'done thing' four years ago may be vastly different now, so take a look at your business and determine the following: what can you change about your business in order to prosper? What was working for you before that perhaps doesn't work as well for you now? What are the up and coming strategies that will help you to market your product or service?
I saw an interesting video clip recently of online influencers talking about how their video and web content has changed over the years. What people were going to content creators for five or ten years ago has changed drastically. Providing entertainment is no longer just about sitting down and chatting in front of a camera. The demand for quality content that is relatable, educational or comedic has grown and shifted considerably, so while change can be terrifying when we're so comfortable with the progress we've been making, it's also necessary to develop and always consider what the changing market wants from us as content creators.
Maintain the balance
The Autumn Equinox will take place on Sunday the 23rd September this year. As a side note, I'm very excited about the equinox falling on a Sunday. It's exactly the kind of 'new-beginning' symbolism I'm all about (plus it means a day of walking and crumble-making is in order). What is important to us here, though, is that upon the equinox day and night are of equal length.
Let's make an effort this autumn to bring this equilibrium into our lives by really working on that work-life balance. As entrepreneurs and small business owners, it can be incredibly difficult to switch off. For example, when I get a weeknight where I'm home alone, I know I should be cosying on the sofa with the cat, a book and a blanket. Instead, the temptation is for me to work. The passion I have for my business is great - I've never felt so driven and ambitious before - but that shouldn't intervene with my need for self-care and restful downtime.
This autumn I'm going to try to develop a better balance between my work and my personal life. If you can relate, maybe you need to try this too. If you've got a burning idea you're frightened of losing, by all means, act on it. But don't forget to follow nature in the process of resting too. Sometimes, switching off is what we need to keep going and producing quality work. If balancing your various commitments is especially difficult for you, identify some areas of your lifestyle that might need to be adjusted, even if it means getting up earlier on those darker mornings to get a bit of housework done or some business tasks finished so you can free up parts of your day.
In wildlife and in society, we naturally prepare for winter by gathering the things we need to survive the dark and colder months when the leaves change and the air begins to chill. Like animals, it might be collecting food by harvesting or canning and building ourselves a nest (hyggelighome vibes anyone?). We slip out of lightweight garments, opting instead for thicker, heavier clothing so we can stay warm.
In business, there's never been a better time to make preparations for the months ahead. When I worked in stationery and printing, we would be starting to prepare for the busy period of Christmas and New Year back in July and August, ready for the influx of Christmas card orders, personalised calendar printing and making big stationery orders for diaries to stock on the shelves. You'd be surprised at how early and well-organised some people are when it comes to Christmas gifts and New Year preparations.
In interior design and decor, travel and publishing, lots of projects and seasonal goods and services are planned a year or even two years in advance for a smooth transition into the next season, so take a leaf (no pun intended) out of their books and identify key trends ahead of time, so you're already a step above when the time comes.
If you operate in the retail sector or run a business based on craftsmanship, there's a good chance Christmas is your busiest time of year. The decorations might not be out on the shop shelves just yet but there's nothing wrong with preparing behind the scenes so you're minimising as much stress as possible. I talked a lot more about the importance of planning in business for the festive period in this recent post.
Wishing you all the best in your business endeavours this season. If you want to read more about preparing for autumn as a whole, take a look at my post all about slow living at this time of year.