If you’re a creative business owner, you’ve been there. We all have. I’ve been there ten times. I’m a puddle on the floor come mid-January. My goals and New Year's resolutions are down the drain two weeks in and Q1 hasn’t even ended yet. My husband looks up from his latest business book, and shrugs, “Sarah, you know this is how it always is every year.” “No!” I convince myself, this time is different. This time I’m really in trouble and the new year at hand is going to be the year it all falls apart.
But this year, in the midst of the crazy, I did something revolutionary. One stress-filled morning, I stopped work, drove to The Y, and quite literally dove into their lap pool for thirty minutes of silence. As I was swimming my anxiety and my husband’s reassurances filled my mind. And, the craziest thing happened. I actually convinced myself that maybe, just maybe he was right!
So, I decided to prove him wrong. Ha! Or, give myself the opportunity to enjoy January for the first time in ten years of business. I wanted a solid reason to believe that just because I don’t reach my goals by the end of Q1, that doesn’t mean I won’t reach my goals for the year. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. But, in the business world, I’m often a sprinter. Sound familiar? Here's how I said goodbye to the Q1 burnout!
Avoid the Q1 Crash With a Second Look
Below I’m sharing two graphs from my own business history. It’s my hope that by sharing this personal information, the planners on my team and friends in my industry will be encouraged. Maybe you’ll start to celebrate a great year thus far, rather than “the beginning of the end” if Q1 doesn't go quite as planned.
If you’ve been in business for more than a year, I really encourage you to take just thirty minutes to step back and make a similar graph for your own business. This will help you assess your lead stream and income flow and encourage you over the next year. You might even use it to start predicting sales cycles for the year ahead (with an expected increase) and your own pay.
I’ve learned a lot from these graphs:
- For wedding planners, the lead season is a lot longer than Q1, so don’t worry if your books aren’t full by the end of March.
- Q1 is generally our lowest collections quarter. It’s counter-intuitive since we have so many leads coming in, but we are also not finishing as many weddings in Q1 and thus aren't getting as many final payments as we do in Q2 and Q3. We always want to be prepared for this typical dip financially. This can be applied to Q4 as well.
The Number One Question
I’ve been getting exciting responses from Q1 goal emails and posts. And, the number one question from my readers has been, “How do you track your leads + sales to get information on your sales patterns?”
This has definitely been a challenge for me through the years, something that stole hours of my life. And, I’m actually super jealous of my team – why?
Because, now my team has access to easy-to-use CRM tools like Aisle Planner where they can track lead status, contracts, and sales all in one place! Aisle Planner has saved my team hours of countless heartache, which I wish I could have avoided in my early Chancey Charm days.
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I’ve sat in goal accountability meetings with my planners, and they’ve been able to pull up their current vs last year’s numbers in seconds y’all. I can’t even. So, there it is—by taking some time to assess your numbers from the previous years, adjusting goals and expectations, and using the right business tools, you should be able to reduce some of that Q1 pressure. You’ve got this friend! Cheers!
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Hero photo courtesy of Carrie Joy Photography