Go for the Gold While Others Snooze

“Good, every year we’ll get 52 more practices than each of your competitors.”


This is what Michael Phelps’ coach told him when Phelps committed to doing workouts on Sundays. If he could do the work when others weren’t, it would give him a decisive advantage in the upcoming competitions.


It worked. Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time. Not just the top swimmer, but athlete. He won 28 medals over four different Olympic Games, 10 more medals than the next closest competitor.


What are you doing with your time?


It’s hard to put in the hours on your business right now. COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, the presidential election, the politics of wearing a mask, and so many other narratives control the communication in our lives.


Many of us have lost loved ones to coronavirus or are consumed by staying safe from the deadly effects.


Our mindsets these days are super sensitive to the world around us, and it’s hard to stay focused on our businesses.


Even if you’re not tremendously affected by these conversations, it’s still a challenge to remain productive.


Ebb and flow


From 2001 through 2014, I worked for a resort in the San Juan Islands, Washington. We were super seasonal throughout the year. One day in the summer could be as busy as a single month in the winter when we might see only employees walking around the dark, cold, wet property because it was entirely vacant of guests.


For years I’d been conditioned to be extremely busy between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Some years I would only have off a handful of days during this period, and my mind was always tied into work even when I wasn’t on-property.


Hot as a scorpion’s tail in July


Then I moved to Texas to head the Todd Events team, and it was the exact opposite. Dallas in June, July, and August is unbearably hot. Everyone moves from one air-conditioned environment to another, hoping not to get caught more than 18 seconds between the fresh interiors and your car. To escape this heat, you start up your car, turn on the AC, and then run back inside to cool down the interior before you drive over to the next air-conditioned space.


The summers that I’d grown so accustomed to were no longer the same. Instead of planning time hiking outdoors, I was hiding inside. Instead of scrapping for employees to keep up with operational demands, I was trying to coordinate employees’ vacations to reduce regular hours. Instead of closing my door to get work done, I walked the warehouse, trying to find someone who was working that day.


Just because you can doesn’t mean you should


It takes time to get used to anything. Any thing. Any, one thing. Now we have lots of new things, and we have to get used to them all at once.


 One of the things I hope you don’t get used to is taking time off from your business.


Now, time off is critical to your success. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think you shouldn’t take breaks. Vacations are useful if you’re going to rest and reenergize. Holidays are essential to celebrate with loved ones. Retreats from daily demands create space for us to dream big and strategize.


But like pretty much everything in life, too much of one thing will make so many other things go wrong.


Get in time while others are taking off


So back to Michael Phelps and the success he reached by doing what others weren’t. If your comp set is taking a(n extended) break, it’s easy to gain on them while they’re “out of office.” Just by doing an average amount of work, it becomes extra-ordinary in the time of COVID-19.


And no, there’s not enough business to go around for everyone to get what they want out of the market. Sorry, but that never was the case – even four months or four years ago. (If you were filling in every year, it wasn’t that there was too much business out there it was that your prices were too low!)


10 ways you can stay productive 


If you’re out of ways to stay productive here are 10 suggestions to keep you going:

  1. Update your Google Business listing. If you don’t have one, get it up.
  2. Learn about SEO and do basic work on your site. Focus on alt tags.
  3. Organize your images. Pick out your best work and get it ready to share.
  4. Plan out social media. Set up evergreen IG posts, so when you do get busy, you can do without all the stress.
  5. Redo your sales proposal. Check out the post from a couple of weeks ago for insight on how.
  6. Reach out to your best referral partners. Strike up a conversation and listen to how they’re doing.
  7. Call current clients to check in on them. See how they’re doing and reconnect over something other than COVID-19.
  8. Do a business self-audit. Learn what you’re doing to make it hard for potential clients to buy from you.
  9. Develop several Unique Selling Positions. Get better at talking about your business.
  10. Collect transformational testimonials from past clients. Identify what you need to do more of and gain excellent copy for your sales collateral and website.


If you’ve burned through all of those – or want support/encouragement/accountability along the way – you should check out our Ideaction Community. It’s our online gathering place for wedding pros who want to know HOW to create the kind of business that feels like you achieved something worthwhile.


Every month we do good work through group coaching on sales and marketing topics, and our book club is a tremendous tool to level up your most valuable asset: your brain. Monthly dues start at $29 but don’t let the low price fool you.


We don’t think you need to spend a lot of money to access great resources.


Stay sharp. Get better. Practice more. Make moves on your comp set so you can get off the blocks faster than anyone around you.


Phelps did it while his competition was taking time off. Why would it be any different for you?


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