In business, as with life, you might notice that there are different periods that you find yourself in -- often without much choice on your part. Or, in the words of The Byrds, “To everything - turn, turn, turn // There is a season - turn, turn, turn” (apologies for getting that stuck in your head!).
For example, during the launch of the Solopreneur Success Bundle, we both worked day and night -- the Bundle sale closed at 11:59pm EST on a Friday, which means we were cheersing via video with our white wine when most people were out at the bars or cuddled in bed. And we loved it.
But immediately after we wrapped up the lingering details of our launch, we both fell impressively fast into low-motivation periods (despite our thought that we’d be riding high post-Bundle). Naps were abundant and productivity was a bit stunted. That period? It lasted about two and a half weeks.
We love noticing patterns, so naturally, we started talking about the different phases of business -- in our case, we realized that we have maintenance mode, growth mode, and launch mode.
Here’s what they look like for us:
- Maintenance mode: In this mode, we’re basically doing the bare minimum to 1) keep our members happy and 2) keep our wider community (email list, social media channels, and more) happy. That means remaining active in our Facebook Group, holding our regular events (like our weekly Hot Seats on Blab), and responding to emails.
- Growth mode: In this mode, we’re working to grow all elements of the business -- membership, products, affiliate marketing, and more. For us, content creation is one of the most effective ways to reach more people -- some examples of this are freebies (like wallpapers and ebooks), and interview roundup posts (like our So You Wanna Be a... column). We also spend a lot of time pitching ourselves and forming collaborations (both of which we talk about at length in our Building Your Online Community e-course).
- Launch mode: In this mode, we’re almost single-mindedly focused on getting our new product or service into the hands of solopreneurs around the world. Launch mode is characterized by pajamas, quick workouts, hair in a messy updo, and white wine.
Why does this all matter? We’re big advocates of recognizing and getting comfortable in each period so that you can truly enjoy them instead of fighting against them. Need a few strategies for making that a bit easier? Here’s what’s worked for us:
1. Cultivating acceptance through writing
The single most important step, in our humble opinions, is cultivating acceptance. We recommend writing down your feelings as you’re in each mode of business so that you can refer back to it when you lose perspective and stray away from acceptance. It might look like this:
I’m in launch mode and pulling my hair out. Forcing myself to work out but I feel guilty because it’s only 15-minute HIIT workouts. Trying to eat healthy food but I just don’t have the time to cook fancy meals. Seriously wish I could just curl up in a ball and take a nap but I’m so freaking close to launch and want it to go as well as possible since I know there’s a limited window I need to take advantage of.
I’m in maintenance mode and feel super unmotivated to work. I’m spending a ton of time doing other productive things in life: working out, making meals to freeze, working on languages on Duolingo, and seeing all my friends a lot (we’ve been taking Wisdom Walks together... haha). I feel guilty that I’m not pushing forward on the biz though, ahhhh...
Relate to any of the above? Putting your feelings (irrational or contradictory as they may seem) in writing can help you process them more effectively and, dare we say, even allow you a bit of space to laugh at yourself when you swing from one end of the pendulum (overwhelmed, uber-excited, and borderline freaking out) to the other (bored, unmotivated, and obviously totally out of great ideas for the rest of your life).
2. Maintaining your routine
Another beneficial practice is incorporating rituals and routine into your everyday solo biz life -- and sticking to them, no matter what mode you’re in. Notice how we mentioned healthy eating and working out in both launch and maintenance modes? Sticking to your non-negotiables (which we talk about in The Solopreneur Sanity Handbook) can be an effective means of maintaining your sanity -- even if the quantity and quality vary based on your available time and energy.
3. Getting systems in place
In maintenance mode, you might feel like watching back-to-back episodes of Friends or Parenthood on the couch with a mocha in hand. (Dream life.) In launch mode, you’ll be almost singularly focused on, well, launching. We advocate proactively putting systems and automation in place so that you can handle the ups and downs of each mode with minimal disruption and stress. Evergreen social media posts going out regularly without day-to-day effort from you? Check.
A few places to start:
- Creating process documents
- Implementing business-wide systems
- Setting up workflow automation with IFTTT and Zapier
Note: We talk about these resources and many more in The Solopreneur Sanity Handbook.
Identify and embrace your modes of business
Your modes of business might look slightly different than ours. Today, we encourage you to do some thinking about the different business phrases that you find yourself in. We find that by identifying and articulating them (and what they look like for you), you have a better awareness and can embrace the uniqueness of each one more fully. Time to love both those crazy late nights of working to finish up your sales page and those lazy days at the coffee shop reading for (gasp) pleasure!
PS: Want to hear us talk about the modes of business? We riff on it in this episode of The Hot Seat.
Your days, back in your hands.
Get instant access to 5 Days to Reclaiming Your Time, a free email course with the mindset shifts + action steps you need to get started in reframing your relationship with time. Sign up below!