I have to say; being British this summer, was a thing born straight from my childhood memories.
It was long and hot and much to us steely Brits pleasurable surprise, we even did pretty well at the World Cup. #WaistcoatWednesday was trending on Twitter and a new hero in Gareth Southgate was born. I switched off my alarm and Josh and I enjoyed lazy mornings in the garden and afternoon siestas. I drank cider in Hyde Park and Josh had a permanent sun-kissed glow to his skin. We went to the seaside, ate fish and chips in the sun and wore nothing but shorts and t-shirts for weeks on end. It was blissful.
But I underestimated the summer and it’s ripple effect. I know I’m not the only one but my routine went to absolute shite, many parents I know felt exactly the same way and were craving the normality that September would bring with it. Initially this is the thing I was craving the most, after all, a change of routine would bring a sense of revitalisation… wouldn’t it? Of the many things that were undeniably amazing there were, in reality, a handful of frustrations.
What I hadn’t accounted for when starting my business in May this year was how utterly difficult the July, August and hot sunny weather would make building new business.
Firstly, everyone had holidays because 6 weeks is a long time to have the kids at home. As you know many parents share the load by taking masses of annual leave during this time and that meant that everywhere was short staffed – whilst you would expect it to be a blessing for a Virtual Assistant (yoo-hoo we can so do a lot of that work from home for you) someone in my new business stage it was like the business was invisible. It meant that all the new business I was trying to drum up simply wasn’t there to respond half the time. The businesses were desperately just doing what they could to make it until they were fully staffed again, and the entrepreneurs didn’t commit to entrepreneur life to spend the hottest summer on record stuck in the office did they.
Then there was navigating it with a hungry and bored teenager who (whilst perfectly able to make his own food) was absolutely required to declare his intense hunger to me at least every 30 minutes. There was the extra money for swimming, cinema, sleepovers – the list goes on. I also discovered that the house gets 10 x as messy because Josh and his friends were in and out rather than seconded by the school system for at least 6 hours a day.
The heat was incredible but it was also exhausting. Nobody slept well, by 3 pm we all needed naps and I spent more time peeing than I would care to admit because staying hydrated was essential. We learned that the UK is not designed for weather extremes and that most of us don’t know how to manage in prolonged heat. We sucked at it.
By the end of the holidays, I couldn’t tell you what day of the week it was, and I felt like my house and by association me, was dirty from the roof to the foundations. I hadn’t had many responses from anyone and I had haemorrhaged money to entertain Josh and get him ready for back to school.
I was having a confidence wobble because I didn’t sign up any new business throughout August. This was exactly the time myself and a couple of potentials had pencilled in but it seems not one of us really accounted accurately for the August blip. I took it personally, convinced I was making a monumental cock up of everything.
But August drew to a close and, like anything in this life it has proven to have been a pretty intense learning curve. What I learned was that structure and routine are essential to successful business even if it doesn’t seem that glamorous or even if those freelancers you follow on Instagram still managed to make 50k while gallivanting across the globe for the entirety of the summer. The truth there is that they either already have great systems and routines implemented or they’re not being entirely truthful – only showing the highlight reel o to speak.
Josh has been back at school for 1 week today. So far I have had a face to face meeting, been to a networking event, contracted 1 x client and produced better content than I did for the whole 6 weeks holiday.
Personally and professionally this return of the ‘dreaded’ or ‘boring’ routine has allowed things to flourish. Josh is happier, he is sleeping better and I get 6+ hours Monday to Friday to enjoy a clean house and not hear the phrase “Mum, I’m hungry”.
I can plan and schedule and I have spent so little in comparison to August that I feel like the pimp daddy. I might buy myself an egg custard tart to celebrate.
I am so happy we got to enjoy such an incredible summer, but I am not sorry that September has arrived and autumn is on it’s way. I am more productive, more energised right now and whilst autumn and winter bring with it their own set of frustrations, I am happy to have learned my August lesson and be able to put it in the rear view all whilst planning on being far better organised next year!
That being said, I am not ready for pumpkin spice anything, seeing Halloween decorations or Christmas being advertised either! Can we just let September be that deep breath you take between strokes in swimming please? I know I need it!
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