Ready for a real update? 100% real. None of that fake crap.
Sometimes it feels like the only biz updates you get anymore are the sugar-coated, everythings-alright-yeah-it's-perfect ones. They're the ones we all give when we're forcing things to look better than they really are. Because the truth is sometimes hard and embarrassing and quite frankly, it sucks to share.
But life and business are real. They're imperfect and messy. And amidst the chaos and the mess, the real parts are inspiring as hell.
So, meet Real Updates. Our new series where we pull back the curtains and get real updates on life and biz and the happenings of real women and real business owners.
HOLIDAYS GOT YOU STRESSED?
"Not only is there so much to get done...
...but it feels like there is extra pressure to sell all the things. Everyone is having sales and if you’re going to stand out inside the online crowd, you need to be doing something bigger and better. It’s just plain exhausting."
If you missed September or October's updates, welcome! This is the second in a monthly series where the creator and editor of Holl and Lane Magazine, Sarah Hartley, is taking us behind-the-scenes on her journey of building and growing a magazine while also working a full-time job, being a mama and a wife, and growing her second baby (due February 2018).
This month, we're pouring a glass of something good and sneaking behind the holiday boxes with Sarah to chat about how hard it really is running a business during the holidays. And Sarah is sharing the 4 things she's doing this year to stay sane amidst the crazy Black Friday sales and keep her cool without drinking or eating away a comparison hangover.
But, first. Let's bumpdate ya.
THE BUMPDATE: HOW ARE YOU AND BABY?
I’m officially into the 3rd trimester now. Whattttt?! And if my last pregnancy is any indication (I’m due 3 days before my son’s 4th birthday), this last trimester is going to FLY thanks to the holidays. Thankfully, I’m still feeling good, aside from my back hurting. But when you’re carrying a bowling ball around 24/7, I guess that’s to be expected.
THE BIZDATE: HOW'S THE MAG?
Every once in awhile I get this idea that we need to offer something new and we need to do it now! That happened to me this past month and now we’re offering a beautiful pastel collection of postcards with inspiring sayings, as well as a couple of prints to remind you of how important you are. Sales have just started, but I’m hoping it’ll be a little something extra we can have during the holidays since our next issue doesn’t come out until January.
As a business owner, I’ve gotta tell ya, the holidays are some of my least favorite times.
Not only is there SO much to get done, but it feels like there is extra pressure to sell all the things. Everyone is having sales and if you’re going to stand out inside the online crowd, you need to be doing something bigger and better. It’s just plain exhausting.
I remember last time around the holidays when I fell into what can only be described as a seasonal business depression. I was very unprepared for the holiday season, I didn’t know what else we could offer to sell, and quite frankly, our sales reflected all of that. This year I had vowed to do better. After all, our magazine has seen a 400% growth, surely our sales will reflect the same, right?
"I remember last time around the holidays when I fell into what can only be described as a seasonal business depression."
But, as much as I’m a glass half full kinda gal, I just can’t muster up the energy to fight the good fight during the holidays. Maybe that can be blamed on being seven months pregnant?
I want to do better, I really do. But, I’m also just not a saleswoman. I don’t like selling or pushing people to spend their hard-earned dollars. Mostly because I know what it’s like to be pushed upon.
So instead, I’m doing these few things, and maybe they’ll inspire you to take a more relaxed approach as well:
1. I'M FOCUSING ON ONE BIG SALE
Yes, we’ll have an ongoing sale on our subscriptions from Black Friday until mid-December. But the biggest (seriously astronomical) sale will be happening for Cyber Monday and it will only be happening for our newsletter subscribers. The decision to do this was two-fold: one, I really only have to focus on one sale on one day; two, it helps to get more people onto my newsletter list who will then hopefully fall in love with what we do on a weekly basis and become regular customers.
Side note: If you’ve ever checked us out and fallen in love with what we’re doing, I promise you won’t want to miss that Cyber Monday sale.
2. IT'LL BE BUSINESS AS USUAL ON SOCIAL
Of course we’ll mention our sale here and there. But I’ve found that people connect with us best through our personal posts rather than the ones that are just trying to sell them on something. I’d venture to guess that’s the same for a lot of other businesses, too. And connection is what sells.
"The comparison game is strong around the holidays, and I refuse to be sucked in this year. It’s been proven to me time and time again that what works for others may not work for us, so why spend my energy trying to figure out the exact strategy others are using?"
3. I PLAN TO STAY AWAY FROM WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING
The comparison game is strong around the holidays, and I refuse to be sucked in this year. It’s been proven to me time and time again that what works for others may not work for us, so why spend my energy trying to figure out the exact strategy others are using? I might as well spend that time focusing on what does work for us and figuring out how to make that bigger and better.
4. I WON'T STRESS SO MUCH ABOUT THE NUMBERS
Last year, I’ll be honest, I felt like a bit of a loser when sales weren’t what I had hoped. This time around, I’m going to set a goal (just because I like a challenge), but if I don’t make it, it won’t be the end of the world. My business will not crumble if I have 5 sales less than I had hoped. There is always next year.
So, fellow entrepreneurs, I’m wishing you a happy holiday season filled with all of the sales that you’re hoping for. But please remember, the holidays are also supposed to be a time to enjoy your life with your family and friends. Don’t let the hardships of running a business take that away from you.
Sarah Hartley is the creator, designer and publisher of Holl & Lane Magazine, a quarterly publication celebrating women's everyday existence and opening the door for tough conversations.
Since 2015, Sarah and the H&L team has been dedicated to providing women with a platform to share their truths. From miscarriage and infertility to mental health and body image, Sarah believes in changing the media for good and celebrating women where they are.