Health + wellbeing

Christmas can suck for soloists. But it doesn’t have to

- December 19, 2015 4 MIN READ

Working by yourself you can miss Christmas being part of a team. Let’s explore why it sucks being a solopreneur and what you can do to recover the Christmas spirit.

December.

The time of year where you wonder whether it’s worth putting up any Christmas ornaments in your home office given no one but you and the cat will see them.

Where you sit at your desk with a Santa hat on and pull a bon-bon by yourself and smile wryly at the bad joke that there is no-one to read it aloud to.

Where you work through Christmas Eve, kidding yourself that a client will review your work if you send it through before they head home for their Christmas closedown.

… ah, Christmas can suck for solopreneurs.

Back in the old days, when you had a j-o-b, the lead up to Christmas was filled with your team disappearing for long lunches and many morning teas. While you still had deadlines to deliver on, you could feel the tension accelerator ease off and a more relaxed feel take over the office with more smiles and a gentler approach to each other.

There were in-jokes and complaints about Bing Crosby “White Christmas” being played once too often. Cubicles were decorated with threadbare discount store tinsel and people wrapped office supplies and hung them from the tree in the lobby.

… ah, Christmas can suck for solopreneurs.

Clients want projects that they have dragged their heels on all year suddenly completed by Christmas. Other clients who were super keen, and who you were counting on to see you through the long summer, suddenly decide that they will get back to you in February next year … maybe.

Invoices go unpaid for weeks over your standard terms because you missed the processing cut-off date and the bookkeeper is on leave.

… ah, Christmas can suck for solopreneurs.

But it doesn’t have to.

After over a decade of solo Christmases, here are some things I have learned about how to make Christmas as a solopreneur work … and dare I say it … enjoyable.

1. Find the party

If you have found a networking group throughout the year that you are regular at, go to the Christmas function. Go all out and find the craziest Christmas hat and brightest Christmas light badges – they will create more conversations and opportunities to network than the rest of the year combined.

2. Decorate

It doesn’t matter if you are the only person who sees it, a USB powered Christmas tree or a Darth Vader Christmas ornament is your nod to you. If you are game, go all out and enter your house in the local Christmas light competition where you can tastefully incorporate your branding into your Griswold light creations. Your house will be visited by hundreds of people (and potential clients) every night.

Want more articles like this? Check out the working alone section.

3. Schedule in friend time

Schedule at least one day a week during December where you have morning tea or lunch with a friend or alliance partner. Take the time to laugh, reconnect and have fun with the people who have kept you grounded, supported and real throughout the year.

4. Thank the locals who have helped

Pop into your favourite printer bearing cookies. Surprise your local coffee shop with flowers. If you are a regular somewhere, thank them for the great service you have received throughout the year. Spread joy, thanks and goodwill to other local businesses.

5. Give back

Book in time to do something for a charity, someone who needs help in the community or simply another business that you know is doing it tough. It can be as simple as adding in groceries to the local charity collection, donating to the wishing tree or volunteering at a charity Christmas wrap station.

6. Invoice early

Check with all your major regular clients to find their processing cut off dates … and get in before the cut off.

7. Review your clients while you write Christmas cards

Traditional cards are a dying breed. However, one of the nicest things you can do is go through your client files for the past year and bring their faces to mind when you write Christmas cards.

Rather than just the boring “Merry Christmas,” include just one sentence of why they inspired you, a shared memory or simply genuine appreciation for trusting you with their project.

Remembering all the amazing clients you have worked with over the year, and the difference you have made to their lives will help remind you why took up this fantastic solopreneur lifestyle.

8. Create a new Christmas Eve ritual

If you choose to work Christmas Eve, plan to finish half day. Prepare your out of office message and voicemail. Clean your desk (even those overstuffed stationery drawers). Crank up the carols and pop open the champagne. My ritual involves wheeling in the wheelie bin and reviewing each file in the filing cabinet. By the third champagne, filing is a whole lot more fun.

9. Take a break

Down tools and recharge over Christmas/New Year. Stressing about the year that was (or wasn’t) won’t solve the problem. Take a day trip to the beach or take in the latest release movie and let your brain unwind. It is in the quiet moments that often the voice of inspiration whispers. Create space and listen.

Come to think of it … Christmas doesn’t actually have to suck for solopreneurs at all.

It can be a time of fun, connection and reminding you of all the reasons why it is spectacular to be a solopreneur.

What do you do to make Christmas special as solopreneur?