What’s next? Black Friday vs Valentine’s Day

If you’re a maker or creative business owner in retail, the next few weeks are pretty much the most intense of the year. If you hadn’t noticed, it’s Christmas, and this year, things are even more unpredictable.

In this blog post, I’m making it really easy for you to market your products right now, and plan ahead for future success. To read this and do all the things I mention, you probably need about 30-45 minutes. Doable, right?

So let’s pretend for a moment that fulfilling orders is a breeze, you’re totally on top of that, and you have no worries in that area.

In fact, let’s pretend that your only job right now (imagine, my dear solopreneurs and tiny teams! just one job…) is marketing.

As the Marketing Manager for your business, you have a few things on your mind:

  • Black Friday
  • The rest of December
  • Valentine’s Day

Partly, you’re bringing in sales right now – that is your urgent job – but you’re also thinking strategically about the future – that is your important job.

Let’s look at how to balance the two:

Black Friday

Black Friday is next week, the 27th November, with Cyber Monday on 30th November. These are big online shopping days, not just for those looking for discounts, but also in general: November payday happens, and we as a society actually acknowledge that Christmas is coming.

In good news, this year there’s a huge movement for shopping small and shopping early. Royal Mail are sharing the message, and Google are running tv ads about supporting small businesses.

Black Friday can be noisy – lots of big brands and businesses now rely on a Black Friday week to generate discounted sales. And that can be off-putting for small businesses who feel their voices are too quiet.

As I’ve said in my Tuesday pep talks over on Instagram, it’s still worth sharing your products over Black Friday weekend, even if you don’t discount. People are still looking to shop.

Here are my top tips for Black Friday weekend (and the rest of December):

  • Post regularly on social media, ideally scheduling ahead of time
  • Send out an email (two if you’re running a discount) – read this blog post for a content rundown
  • Be really clear about how people can order from you (this is especially good in IG Stories, but also on your feed):
    • Where do they need to go?
    • When do they need to order by?
    • What’s your experience with delivery right now? Even if it’s good, say so!
    • Can you gift wrap and send direct to their recipient?
    • Make it REALLY EASY to place an order!

Valentine’s Day

But here’s the thing: Valentine’s Day is hot on the tails of Christmas. Urgh, I know. The Worst.

As your business coach and mentor, I am morally obliged to remind you that 2021 is coming, and you, amazing human, deserve to succeed in the coming year, as well as in the coming weeks.

So absolutely take care of yourself and your orders and maximise this opportunity. AND let’s think long-term, too.

Here’s how to spend 15 minutes on Valentine’s Day that will pay off big time:

  • Book a photoshoot in January. Seriously. Do it now. Whether it’s your own time or with a professional. (I recommend Girl Behind The Lens for remote product photography.)
  • Plant the product development seeds in your creative brain. You don’t have to design everything before Christmas, but maybe jot down some ideas of what you’d like to share for Valentine’s Day.
  • Mark some key dates on your calendar, like when you’ll open your Valentine’s Day shop (I recommend 25th January), and when you’ll need to upload your listings (probably the week before!).

I have made all this take even less time and feel even easier with the Valentine’s Day Launch Plan, which not only has a printable calendar for you, but also then has all the marketing content templates for email, Instagram, and Facebook from pre-launch to last order dates. (Seriously, I just want to remove the obstacles getting in your way.)

So there’s a quick rundown of how to juggle immediate and long-term success. Let me finish with a reminder that I absolutely believe in you AND you are worth taking care of. Sleep. Water. Good music. Great snacks. Ask for help.

You’ve got this.

Jenny x

PS That link again to the save-you-time, make-you-money Valentine’s Day Launch Plan.

Perfectly imperfect: the reckoning of 2020

Today’s blog post was supposed to be more practical support with emails and marketing. But as I meditated (briefly) last night, I felt this pull to send out a different message today.

This blog post is directly from my heart.

For so many of us this year, perfection and predictability and pursuing goals have radically changed, if not been thrown out of the window altogether. We’ve pivoted, juggled, reprioritised and adjusted a thousand times, and we’re doing it again this week.

It’s okay to be doing it all imperfectly, making the best of bad situations.

In fact, I believe that getting more comfortable with imperfection and trusting ourselves mid-juggle might be a gift of 2020.

We can’t pretend perfection exists anymore. We can’t pretend to have it all figured out – because none of us have it all figured out.

Instead, we can be in the process – an active, ongoing process – of understanding ourselves and trusting ourselves, no matter what’s going on around us.

You cannot run the perfect business. You cannot expect yourself to anticipate everything or be prepared for every outcome.

Instead, you can believe in your own abilities. You can discover what works for you and build on it. You can practice kindness and determination – yes, both – when things don’t go as planned.

My business dreams are evolving.

Perhaps it’s returning from maternity leave. Perhaps it’s living through a pandemic. Perhaps it’s something about the way the stars are aligning. But this year I’ve been thinking a lot about the dream I had for my business back in late 2013 and 2014, when I left my job and started this journey.

And what I’m seeing is that my business dreams and goals are evolving. It’s fun to look back at that time, when anything felt possible, when I was sure I could make so many things work. And I love my deeper wisdom now: that I know what really matters, like profit is more important than turnover, and how I spend my time directly relates to my happiness.

I also love my understanding of how I want to support not only my clients but also a wider community and society. I’m called to act for racial injustice, for protecting and healing the environment, for human rights. I want to build a business that does all those things.

And I want to build it in a way that allows me to love my family, care for my children* and care for myself. Sleep is highly important.

The great reckoning

I think 2020 (and perhaps 2021) is a big reckoning for all of us. And as we come into this busy time of year, perhaps you’re reflecting on it too. (And if you’re not, that’s okay.)

My offering to you today is to give yourself permission to be perfectly imperfect. To let go of the expectation that you should be smashing it. To decide instead to learn to trust yourself, to ask for help, to discover what works for you.

Your job right now is to build strong foundations through the busy Christmas period. The Survive & Thrive Christmas 2020 recording is available for you to watch (or listen to while you pack orders).

And if you need support with the great reckoning, or even with your to do list for today, I’m here.

With love

Jenny x

*I have a daughter and a stepson. Sometimes I forget to tell people!


Enter The Forge

Life's too damn short to chase someone else's definition of success. I'm here to give you the courage and tools to forge your own path.