In today’s episode, I’m helping you prepare your business for the end of year!
As we come into the end of the year, there are lots of things to think about – including getting ready for the holidays, whether you’re going to be taking time off or not, whether you’ll be doing any launching or promotions over that time, whether you participate in all of the sales, etc.
Here for the links referenced in the show notes?
Quarterly Plan on a Page free template: tashcorbin.com/qplan
Ask Me Anything post: CLICK ME
Join the 2024 Planning Posse: tashcorbin.com/planner
Episode 166: My take on discounts, sales and PWYC: tashcorbin.com/166
There are so many decisions to make, and we want to make sure that we have a clear plan of what you are going to be doing for your business and how you’re going to make sure that it’s all taken care of without burning yourself out, feeling like you don’t get a break, and starting to resent your business.
We’ve got lots to cover, so let’s dive on in!
The first thing I want to say is that I have two amazing free opportunities for you with today’s episode.
The first one is my brilliant quarterly planner template. It’s going to help you put all of this into place and ensure that you’re all set for the end of the year with a really clear strategy, so make sure you check that out: tashcorbin.com/qplan
The second thing is that I’m doing an Ask Me Anything live event where you are able to ask me any of your questions about the end of the year, getting set up with your plan, sales, Black Friday, discounting, whether you’re going to work over the holidays, whether you can launch over the holidays, etc.
If you’ve got questions about your specific niche or your specific business, I’m doing a big Ask Me Anything event. You can ask your end of year questions on this Facebook post: CLICK ME
The four big end of year things that I want to cover in today’s episode are:
1. Will you be launching or promoting anything over the holidays? How to decide and what to do…
2. Are you going to be taking time off?
3. Should you participate in all the sales and big events that come up at the end of the year?
4. How to make sure you’ve actually got a plan in place that you can implement without robbing yourself of enjoying your holiday period if you choose to have some holidays.
Let’s start with the first one because this the big rock that we need to make some decisions about first and foremost…
1. Are you going to launch or promote anything over the holiday period?
Can you even make sales over the holiday period? Absolutely, most people can. Of course, there are many factors to consider.
It depends on:
- Your niche
- How active your audience is going to be online
- Whether your audience are reading their emails over the holiday period
- Whether they actually want to participate in a five-day challenge between Christmas and New Years
In most cases, we can make something work. But the first question we need to ask is: Do you want to be launching anything over the holidays? Do you need to be launching anything over the holidays? Does it need to be a live event? Or could you do something a little more automated?
I find I do still have quite good engagement over the holidays.
Particularly between Christmas and New Year, my niche likes hanging out on socials for fun. They’re also thinking about their goals and plans for the new year, so they might grab their planner out and start plotting some things.
I know quite a few people who have said that they love binging this podcast over the holidays as well. There are episodes that they miss throughout the year, so it’s a great time for them to get in that space where they’re getting inspired and getting some practical strategies so they can really play what they want to be doing in the new year in their business.
It really does depend a little bit on your niche and on how well you can get in front of and access your audience.
That being said, I also just want you to consider what it is you actually want.
If you had already hit your income goal for this year, would you be feeling the pressure to launch something over the holidays? Would that actually be something that you wanted to do?
If it’s not necessarily something you want to do, but it’s something that you feel like you need to do, then it’s not too late to get yourself sorted before the holidays, so that you can take that time off and enjoy yourself.
When we get into the final quarter of the year, I find that a lot of people start writing it off. They start feeling like it’s almost the end of the year and then holiday time, so it’s going to be really hard for them to do anything more. But they also really want to make money and have an abundant end of year.
They’re trying to hold two conflicting beliefs at the same time.
I think people spend so long undecided about what they’re going to be doing towards the end of the year, that they could have actually made a plan at the start of October, got themselves into gear, got that nailed, got some cash in the door, and actually set the intention of when they’re going to finish work at the end of the year.
They can feel confident and comfortable doing that because they took care of their business and they didn’t wait until the holiday rush or Black Friday sales to make a decision about what they were going to do or how they were going to bring in the cash they needed.
I understand Black Friday sales is a time when everyone’s out looking for a bargain… but it’s also when everyone’s out there trying to compete for the dollar.
October is generally a quieter time for promotions and launches. You don’t necessarily need to leave it until it’s too late.
This is something that I’ve been really excited about in the current Planning Posse because we did our quarter four planning at the end of September.
Most of the Planning Posse have already mapped out exactly what their Q4 and end of year strategy is going to be. It involved getting their launch done and dusted in October so that in November they could have a little play with Black Friday sales and other holiday things. But for most of them, they’re not waiting for December to decide what’s going to be happening in terms of promos, discounts, strategies and launches.
It’s so impactful having Q4 mapped out and knowing what your goal is.
If your goal is to be done by the middle of December, then make a plan for the first ten weeks of the quarter to make sure that you nail it.
I think the great thing for the Planning Posse is that this is our fourth quarter together having done our quarterly planning every quarter. Most people are actually quite adept at this now.
They recognise and know how to structure and map things out for themselves in a way that they know they can really nail.
When this podcast episode comes out, you’ll still be able to grab the planner for next year. If you’re interested, make sure you check that out so that we can NAIL 2024 together: tashcorbin.com/planner
It’s not my intention for this episode to just be a promo for the planning system, but I just think a lot of people recognise that they’re not managing themselves and their time effectively.
Unfortunately, that realisation often hits towards the end of the year when we can see how many things were on our plan that we’ve dropped the ball on.
Jamming it all into November and December is not a fun thing to do either.
We really want to make a decision about what your launch plan is and what your strategy is overall for the quarter.
Do it from a space of how it would play out in an ideal world, rather than expecting everything to go poorly and expecting everything to require that you hustle all of December and figure your sales strategies out on the spot.
Let’s be a little more considered. Let’s be a little bit more strategic.
Then get to the point where you can make the decision about whether you want to launch over the holidays or not from a space of abundance rather than a space of desperation.
Regardless of whether you launch over the holidays or not, the more desperate the energy is and the more pressure you put on it (and yourself) to perform, the less likely it is to create the result you’re looking for.
Inside one of my programs, I was talking with a student who wasn’t sure what to do over the holiday period. She didn’t want to be working, instead, she just wanted to schedule all of her social content in advance so that it was all taken care of, but she figured that surely she could still be selling some things.
We decided to go through some of her older low-cost self-study offers that hadn’t had any airtime this year because she’d been focused on launching and selling her signature membership and VIP services (seeing as they’re the big income generators).
There were little things that she’d created previously that were actually derailing her from making good income in the past that she was able to give some attention to seeing as she’d had such a focused abundant year.
Since all those little fiddly things hadn’t had the airtime that they had in previous years (and hadn’t been derailing her cash flow as they did in previous years) she was able to give them some airtime over the holidays.
What we ended up doing was scheduling posts and emails spotlighting each of those offers over the holiday period, so that all of December and the first half of January were taken care of.
She’ll be able to enjoy summer school holidays while some small sales are coming in.
What an abundant way to take the break over that period of time, celebrate and reward herself for a much better and more strategic year, and still be able to get those sales in the door and have some money coming in.
There’s just so much more security and certainty over that period of time. Those sales are pure abundance and play money, rather than there being this pressure.
Maybe you could also have a look at what the things are that don’t get as much airtime throughout the year (hopefully that’s not your signature offer!) and give them the spotlight for a little while. If you do choose to do this, make sure everything is automated and pre-scheduled. Allow people to self-checkout and make sure it’s self-study so that you can give yourself that time off.
That’s a really great way to still have sales coming in over the holidays, without that pressure of needing to do a launch where you’re completely present with that launch experience.
That’s the first thing to consider in the lead-up to the end of the year… Are you going to launch something over the holidays?
2. Are you taking time off?
Having taken an extended break of usually three weeks to a month every Christmas holiday since 2018, I can 10/10 recommend taking time off.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be at that time of year.
I am a Christmas fanatic. Not the Christian/religious kind, more the pagan kind… I’m just here for the food, the presents and the tree.
It’s one of my favourite times of year (you may have picked up on that before).
I finish my year at the end of Tashmas, which runs from the 1st to the 12th of December. Once that’s done, I have a couple more calls (usually on the 13th/14th) to wrap up my programs for the year, and then I’m off. I’m done.
This year, I’m even pausing the Facebook communities that are attached to my programs so that there’s no admin responsibility for those either.
We are keeping the Heart-Centred group going over that time, so I’ve got a couple of team members who will be doing a bit of admin stuff here and there (although we may do a little pausey pause for a few days – we’ll see how we go).
But I can 10/10 recommend having proper time off.
It doesn’t mean that you completely disappear or you’re not allowed to be on socials. I’m still on social media over the holiday period, because I use social media for social things. I use it to catch up with friends and to see what everyone’s up to.
I’m still around online, but there’s no pressure to be.
Last holidays, I lost my phone (which ran out of charge) somewhere in the house, and it took me three days to actually be bothered to try to find it.
It was such a lovely feeling that for three days my phone was dead and I didn’t know where it was, yet I didn’t really care and there was no pressure to be there because I knew that my socials were being taken care of by my scheduled posts.
I don’t recommend that you have NO content going up on socials or emails going to your mailing list.
I still recommend that those things happen… just schedule them all in advance.
Maybe it’s a little less content than normal. Maybe it’s fewer emails than normal. That’s fine! But still have some presence.
Instead of everything being focused on selling things over the holidays, maybe all of your focus is on reminding people of all your great freebies and growing your mailing list. Alternatively, it could be fun games and fun things for people to engage with over the holiday period.
It doesn’t have to be serious and structured and completely optimised all of the time.
You can absolutely experiment and have some fun with it.
I make a thing about the fact that I’m not on socials and I’m not in my business over that period.
I have Tashbot, which is literally a photo of myself sitting at my desk where I’ve hand-drawn a robot mask over myself. Tashbot is present on my socials and it says “beep boop” (HAHA!).
I’m making it really clear to people that they’re not going to get a reply from me immediately. But it’s still fun! You can have fun with it.
I don’t generally set an out-of-office auto-reply. But in my regular newsletters, I will remind people that past-Tash wrote that email and I’m currently away.
You can make a lot of fun of it and take the pressure off.
I also know people who have scheduled days where they do work in their business. They’ll just make it every third or fourth day over the holiday period.
They give themselves a little timer of two hours to check in on their biz, they have written the top three things that they need to get done, they get those things done, and then they go back to their holiday.
I think it’s important to realise that there’s no hard and fast rule. I do recommend taking some time off, mostly because it’s so fun and if you haven’t taken time off for a while, you absolutely deserve it. You’re allowed to.
I also think we put so much pressure on ourselves to be responsive and be available all of the time. But you can do that in a really boundaried way.
The holidays are a great way to practice those boundaries.
Make a decision about whether you’ll take time off or not.
If you make the decision now nice and early, then you can plan and prepare for it.
You can schedule a couple of times in your calendar where you’re going to schedule and batch up all the content that you’re going to do over the holidays. Then you know it’s taken care of and you aren’t convincing yourself that you’ll do it on your last day. (And then you don’t get it done so you have to do it the next day, which then means your final day becomes all fuzzy.)
Make a decision, try and set yourself up to be able to actually implement that decision, and stick with it.
Look after future you! Holiday you is going to want to have fun. You deserve to have fun.
3. Do you participate in all the sales?
This is probably the most common question that I get asked…
Do I have to do a Black Friday offer?
Do I have to do a Cyber Monday offer?
What do I sell?
How do I sort this out?
(I also do have an old podcast episode that talks about my take on discounts, sales and pay what you can. You can check that out here: tashcorbin.com/166)
In case you aren’t sure, Black Friday to Cyber Monday happens every November.
It’s a time when people are online in a shopping mood (generally for low-ticket stuff). People are spending money on a lot of different things – many people do their holiday shopping, and a lot of people are grabbing tools or templates because they are generally highly discounted at that point in time.
I adore checking out the AppSumo sales because I do love buying techy tools and special things like that.
Udemy has a big sale as well.
I know a lot of people go and scroll through Udemy and find some really cool courses to play with.
That’s actually how I decided I wanted to learn a few different modalities and some more marketing strategy stuff. I went scrolling through the Udemy sales one year during Black Friday and then through that process found a couple of really cool providers who did certifications and accreditations (outside of Udemy of course – you can’t do that for $12).
It was really cool and I learned some stuff about Instagram strategy, SEO and other things that I got really excited to play with.
People are generally in a buying mood. But in my experience, they’re not looking for high-ticket offers that have $20 off. They’re looking for significant discounts.
People’s inboxes and newsfeeds are very busy. It’s the most expensive time to advertise on Meta or Google.
I don’t do any paid advertising over that time – I just leave my list growth ads running if they don’t spike too much (if they start to spike, I pause them over that period).
There’s a lot of competition for the dollar at that point in time. But there are also extra opportunities to promote.
We do Black Friday to Cyber Monday inside the Heart-Centred community, and there are extra opportunities to promote.
Have a think about whether you want to do it or not.
You don’t have to. It’s definitely not something that you have to subscribe to.
People get really judgy with each other on both sides. Some people will say it’s such an American thing and that it’s silly to do it. Other people will say you’re leaving money on the table if you don’t do it.
Everyone has an opinion. But no one’s opinion counts except your own.
You get to decide whether you want to participate or not. You get to decide whether you want to play with it or not. And you get to decide what you want to put on sale.
Just remember, you’re in the driver’s seat and you’re allowed to do what you want to do.
Another important thing to consider is that there is always a reason to have a sale.
Statistically, you are more likely to have your birthday in the last quarter of the year, so you might have a birthday coming up if you’re one of these people (I’m not – mine’s in March). There’s also Thanksgiving, Christmas, end of work year, New Year’s, Lunar New Year, etc.
There’s just so many things going on.
I want you to remember: There will always be a reason to have a sale.
There will always be a special occasion/event that you can attach yourself to.
It’s Mental Health Month this month, it’s Movember next month, and it’s International Taco Day on some random day in the first half of the year.
There are always special days.
If you are approaching Black Friday feeling like it’s your one and only opportunity, just take a breath. There are always reasons to have a sale.
Pay attention to how it feels. If you’re participating in all of these sales and events because you think you’re never going to get another chance, next year’s Black Friday will be here before you know it. Look at how quickly this one came!
You’re allowed to not worry about it. It’s fine.
If you do decide to participate in Black Friday/promote something on special, then just take a moment to consider (if it’s something that you’re going to do a significant discount on): When was the last time someone bought it at full price? And how would they feel if they saw that it was now on special?
For me for example, I’ve just closed up a launch of the Take Off program. Doors are closed now until next year anyway so I wouldn’t be promoting it on sale, but there are currently a bunch of people who are still paying their payment plans at full price. I would never discount it and risk having those people see that and feel like they got ripped off. I also don’t want to train my audience to wait for sales on the Take Off program, so I wouldn’t do that.
I’d need to be very considerate of the people who’ve paid full price.
I’ve been on the other end of this situation in 2015.
I was close friends with someone who was going to redo my website. We had been talking about it for a bit, and in the middle of November, I was ready to dive in, so I paid full price.
We hadn’t even started the project yet, I’d just paid the invoice in full, and 10 days later, she did 70% off website builds for Black Friday.
I felt ripped off. I felt betrayed. It felt like I was being punished for being someone who had a conversation with her, came up with an agreed project, and paid their bill straight away, instead of being someone who dilly-dallied.
That project did not end well. (I’m now realising that I’m still a bit miffed about it! I think I’ve got some things to put on my forgiveness list today.)
Think about the way that you’re making people feel.
Seeing as that person was my friend, I would have absolutely put an ad for them on my final website if I hadn’t been so ripped off. I would have shouted from the rooftops and thanked them everywhere.
You’ve got to be mindful of these things.
I never sent that person a website client ever again.
I raised the issue with them about how I felt a bit ripped off, and they replied with, “If you bought a pair of jeans, and then two weeks later you saw that they had been discounted, you wouldn’t be able to go and get them at the discounted rate.”
Sure… but I would have been wearing those jeans for two weeks! I would have gotten some use out of them!
And it wasn’t a $100 pair of jeans. It was a $5,000 website that I could have gotten for under $2,000 if I had just dilly-dallied a little. That makes me feel really weird and uncomfortable.
It didn’t go well and I never recommended that person to anyone again.
They made their choice, but I think all of that could have been avoided if they had just considered:
1. Planning out what they were going to put on their Black Friday special in advance.
2. Telling people who were considering it at full price, that it was going to be on special for Black Friday.
If they had said to me that it was going to be 70% off in less than two weeks, I would have straightaway paid them upfront the Black Friday price, and also asked them what else I could buy from them.
I probably still would have spent the same amount with them, but for a lot more things.
PLUS I would have been telling everyone who was looking for a website that this person was promoting their package for 70%.
It’s very important to consider how people will feel when they see it on special.
Have a look at when it was last sold at full price, and consider if there’s been enough time.
I’m not saying you can’t discount something ever. But has there been enough time that the people who purchased it before, feel like they’ve got reasonable use or reasonable value between now and then?
If I did decide to discount the Take Off program and I hadn’t had anyone join at full price for six months, then I might consider doing a little discount for people who join in a very short period of time.
This is because anyone who joined six months ago has been coming to the live calls with me every month, they’ve been working through the modules, they’ve grown their business, and they’ve made sales.
Would they wish that they had waited?
No, they wouldn’t, because they’ve already been getting results.
The sooner you get started in the Take Off program, the more calls you get to come into, the faster that you’re making sales, and the faster that you’re getting clients.
People wouldn’t have the same sort of regrets if there had been that amount of time and they’d had a lot of use out of the program between the time that they purchased it and the time that it went on sale.
I wouldn’t do a huge discount because it is my signature program anyway, but if I did, I would consider the time that it’s been and the use that people have had.
Another example of this would be with my 30-Day Business Blast Udemy course. It automatically goes into the Udemy sales.
If people buy it through the Udemy sales, I get $1 for every course sold (fun times for me!).
But if I put it on sale at the best available price that Udemy has, and I go out and promote it, then I get 50%-70% of what people pay, depending on how they come into the course.
I would totally be happy to pop that on discount, even if someone had paid full price two or three months earlier because they’ve already done the 30 days.
When people do the 30-Day Business Blast, they set and achieve stretch income goals in 30 days.
It is an amazing program and it does a really brilliant job.
Because of that, with reasonable use, I wouldn’t expect anyone would be particularly upset if they had bought it at full price. (I mean… most people don’t buy it at full price. It’s Udemy, let’s be honest.)
But even if I had made a full-price sale a few months earlier, I wouldn’t have a problem with discounting it, because the people who bought it at full price have done the live stuff we do together and I can see that they’ve got really amazing results.
It’s not a hard-and-fast thing.
You’ve got to be really considered about what other people’s experiences are and how you want your audience to feel.
We don’t want to feel like we’re punishing people for being early adopters. We don’t want to punish people for buying something early.
But we also want consider the amount of usage of time.
When I’m working with Take Off and Leverage and Launch students on what they’re going to do for their sales, in a lot of instances, we end up creating a unique offer. It’s something that’s not been offered before.
It might be a unique way of structuring some VIP time, it might be a unique one-to-one package, or it could be a brand new thing where they make it part of their launch process to have these early adopters.
We often use the Black Friday sales for programs starting in January in the new year.
It’s more or less a super early bird offer. They’re buying it in November, but it’s not starting until January, so they’re rewarded for being an early adopter with a really juicy discount.
You can consider creating something unique, or you can consider having a gap between when you sell and when you deliver.
I also know people who promote websites and VIP packages for Black Friday, and that’s where they take on their last sales for the year, but they commence working together in the new year.
I know a social media manager who does that.
They aren’t starting work with any new clients in December, so instead they use the Black Friday sales as their opportunity to get some end of year sales in without having to deliver yet. They’ll say, “If you have been thinking about working with me, my books are closed for this year. But if you jump in and pay in advance during Black Friday to Cyber Monday, you can get your first month for half price. We would get started in January or February.”
They get a big cash injection in but they don’t actually need to deliver on that until the new year.
It’s a way to keep that cash flow going over the holiday period without significantly increasing their workload at that time.
The two people I’m thinking of are both single mums. They don’t have the luxury of being able to do a lot of work over the school holidays here in Australia. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t get money coming in!
You can use the sales as a bit of a cash flow management strategy if you want.
Those are some things I want you to consider about whether you’re going to participate in all the sales, some of the sales, do your own end of year sales events, etc.
4. How do you plan for all of this?
How do you make sure that you’ve got it all mapped out and are clear on how you’re going to pull this together before the end of the year? And how do you make sure that you’ve been strategic about what’s going to happen and when?
That’s exactly what my template is here to help with.
I know that we’re already well into quarter four, but I would absolutely recommend that still you have a plan for this last quarter.
If you don’t have one yet, I have a quarterly planning template that you can access absolutely free.
Grab my Plan on a Page template here: tashcorbin.com/qplan
That planner freebie walks you through the process of identifying:
- What’re your priorities?
- What needs to get done in the final quarter?
- What do you need to do?
There may be some preparations that you need to do for the holidays, getting your content done in advance, and nailing the end of the year.
I also recommend you check out my Ask Me Anything thread here: CLICK ME
You can ask any questions that you have about what we’ve covered today, getting ready for the end of the year, planning, sales, etc.
Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast where we get ready for the end of the year.
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.