Ok- so you’ve dug deep into your business and you’ve streamlined to create some time. You’ve looked at your current business plan in your business and taken steps to ensure your CURRENT stream of income is truly profitable and done the work needed to tweak it if it isn’t (raising your fee, dropping that insurance panel that pays terribly, etc.) Now it is time to set up your current business and current stream of income for a 4 month vacation.
Taking a 4-month Vacation:
Have you ever taken a 4-month vacation? No? Me neither! I know you are thinking this must be a joke, but just hold tight with me for a second. I am NOT asking you to cancel all of your clients for 4 months (even if that idea sounds kind of heavenly right now in the midst of burnout or year 5 of no vacations). I am asking you to set up your business for a 4-month vacation.
Switching Your Focus to Passive Income Can Wreck Your Finances
A lot of business owners switch their focus to passive income streams with great intentions. And, a few months later they take a look at the numbers and find that their overall income went DOWN, not up, even though they were working more and harder! Think of your new passive income stream like entering a new relationship. How easy is it after 3 months to come up for air to realize that you’ve neglected some important relationships in your life. We want passive income to ADD to your business, not to subtract from it!
Your 4 Month Business Vacation
One of the best ways to keep your passive income endeavors from having a negative income on your overall income, is to go through the process of preparing as if you were going to be gone from your business for 4 months. Make a list, what are all of the activities that you would need to do over the next 4 months to have your business just as strong (or stronger) when you returned from your vacation? Here is a sample list to get you started:
A marketing plan on auto-pilot with blogs, social media posts, and even email check-ins with contacts scheduled to go out.
A bookkeeper who is managing your books monthly and sending you a report of your profit and loss (income) for each month.
A scheduler or assistant to answer calls, respond to emails, schedule new clients, and contact clients who haven’t scheduled in awhile.
Create a list of tasks that will be upcoming in those 4 months to complete ahead of time: trainings, license renewals, insurance renewals, bills, etc.
Managing the billing for clients, insurance billing, payroll, etc.
Responding to questions from service providers or employees.
Thinking and Planning Ahead
This process of learning how to think and plan ahead in your business is a crucial skill to learn in business. Practice this on your main stream of income and it will set you up for success in passive income streams. What does thinking and planning ahead look like? It means looking at the all of what you already know about business, and being more INTENTIONAL and less REACTIVE. Here is a quick example:
You work with kids and each year during the summer you experience fewer clients scheduled each week, and then three weeks into the start of the school year you get a ton of panicked clients calling in wanting to be seen immediately. You’ve made peace with summer being slow, so you don’t worry too much about marketing at that time- but it stresses you out- and is one of the reasons you are looking at passive income streams. You don’t want to be at the mercy of whether the phone is ringing or not!
What if you took your deep knowledge of your clients, their needs, and this pattern to create a different marketing plan to flow out in your business? That marketing plan could include:
An end of the year training for parents about things they can do to prep their kid for the upcoming grade.
A 1-week summer day camp for kids entering a particular grade that is about prepping them for the skills that they may need.
Getting permission from parents now to send out a newsletter with tips for coping and prepping over the summer.
Inviting parents and kids via that newsletter for a “get prepped for back to school” session series before school starts.
Offer telehealth sessions that kids can access from home if parents aren’t available to drive them to appointments during the summer.
Giving parents a script to email to new teachers so they can get feedback earlier in the school year so that kiddos don’t get caught up in bad habits and routines- or if they are- they can get into see you asap (not 4 weeks into the school year).
Partnering with schools to have a back to school training for parents getting their kids prepped for the next school year.
Providing a free video training for parents about topics related to summer, getting prepped for next year, and helping them create the stability needed for their kiddo.
An email that goes out to teachers, counselors, and other school contacts checking in about needs for the upcoming calendar year.
I am not suggesting anyone should do all of these things, but just exploring how you might look at the next 4 months in your practice, what you’ve experienced in the past, and let that inform your marketing/vacation plan.
Outsourcing, outsourcing, outsourcing!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, if you want to have a happy life and a happy business, you need to get comfortable with outsourcing. And, if you are not comfortable with outsourcing some of the ongoing tasks in your day-to-day business that you have mastery in- how can you get good at doing that for this new passive income stream you are going to start? The best place to start with outsourcing is with tasks you know and understand and can be clear about what you need, can easily check on if it is being done correctly, train on, etc.
I Need 1 Thing From You:
Put a comment below with the questions or fears that come up when you think about what needs to be done to truly put your business on auto-pilot for the next 4 months. Remember- you can still see clients- we just want to take everything that isn’t client related and put that on auto-pilot for 4 months!