Growth December 9, 2015 Last updated September 18th, 2018 1,324 Reads share

7 Holiday Gifts to Give Yourself as an Entrepreneur

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If you’re like me, you’re focused right now on getting client gifts out the door in time for the holidays. But what about you? As an entrepreneur, you work hard and deserve a gift or two during this festive season. Don’t worry: most of the gifts I’m going to suggest you give yourself “come without ribbons. They come without tags. They come without packages, boxes or bags.” (Bonus points if you get that

#1. More Time Off

But Susan, you say, I need to work more, not less! My business won’t survive without me!

A few years ago, I started putting “take a day off once a month” on my New Year’s Resolutions list. It took a few years before I could do it consistently, and now I take a day off each week. And guess what? My business doesn’t suffer. Instead, I put my attention on other projects (my travel writing, for one) and recharge from a week of working hard for clients.

That might not work for you. But consider your last vacation. First of all, if it was more than five years ago, you’re long overdue. But did you really unplug on that vacation, or did you constantly check your email and work at every moment?

It may seem counterintuitive to work less and be more productive, but when you have down time, you are better able to focus on what needs to get done when you do work. Start small, with just half a day off. Always clear your plate of work and let clients who might need you that day know you won’t be available.

#2. The Ability to Say No

In my early years of running Egg Marketing, I said yes to everything. I didn’t want to miss a single opportunity. I know now that I wasn’t doing myself any favors. I took on projects that I really had no business handling. I wasted a lot of time. I made my workload bigger.

But being able to say no is such a gift. Not every client is a good fit for you. Consider whether the next one meets what you’re looking for in an ideal customer. If you have even a moment’s hesitation, say no. A better fit will come along.

Also exercise your right to say no with invitations to participate on boards or panels you’re not enthusiastic about. Say no to clients who want you to work on the weekends or bend over backwards.

#3. A Schedule That Works for You

If the whole 9-to-5 thing wilts your lettuce, don’t do it. You got into business for yourself to have some control over your life. If you work best at midnight, do it! Obviously this might not work if you run a retail store, but you do want to take advantage of the times when your creativity flows best.

And if you have kids or other obligations, build your work schedule around maximizing those obligations. We’ve all heard that kids don’t stay kids for long, so if you are able to, pick your little ones up every day after school. There will come a day when they won’t need you, and you certainly won’t look back and be glad that you worked instead of picked them up.

#4. Tools & Resources to Grow Your Business

As a micropreneur, it’s tempting to take all my company’s profit for myself. But I’ve learned over the years that putting money back into my business makes my work easier and helps me do more. Some areas to consider investing in include:

  • Faster and more efficient technology (computer, laptop, tablet, phone)
  • Software (email marketing, CRM, accounting)
  • Education (webinars, conferences, books, courses)

#5. Help!

You know how you’re always wishing you could clone yourself? The next best thing is to hire help that can lower your workload. But if you can’t afford to hire a full-time employee, know there are other options. You can hire someone part time, bring on an affordable intern, hire a freelancer, or work with an agency or consultant. Any of these options are ideal to take over marketing and writing, accounting, administrative tasks, or design.

The benefit a lot of newbie business owners don’t see here is that by having someone else take on the tasks you’re less adept at, you are able to focus on growing your company. Rather than you having to respond to customer service emails every day, you can now strategize for where you want to take your business.

#6. A Niche

This gift harkens back to that “saying no” gift in #2. Once you start saying no, you say yes to more business in the same niche. You get the opportunity to get really amazing at delivering one or two specific products or services, and that helps you attract more of the same type of business.

I was so scared to eliminate some of the services I offered early on. I just knew that my business would grind to a halt. But instead, I started attracting more customers who needed what I was focusing on. As the saying goes, “like attracts like.”

#7. A Nice Gift Basket

Not all the gifts you give yourself need to be intangible. I always reward myself with whatever I’m buying my clients for the holidays as a nice pat on the back for a year’s hard work. In the past, I’ve even written myself a holiday card commending myself for some of the year’s highlights. It’s silly, yes, but when there’s no one else to appreciate your hard work, why not send yourself some glowing words of praise?

This holiday season, be kind to yourself. You are, after all, the keystone to your business, and you need to treat yourself right in order for your business to thrive. Whether any of these gift ideas resonate or you have other ideas for how to make yourself happy as an entrepreneur, make sure you follow through on those ideas in 2016 and beyond.

Images “Gift wrapping. Woman packs gifts, step by step  /  Shutterstock.com

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Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory

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