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Keep the ball rolling

I received a call yesterday that gave me a well-deserved kick in the pants.

Of course, summer is now here, with sunny skies, warm weather and a general sluggishness around me as people switch into vacation mode. This week, I found myself slipping into idle as I put off a couple of important phone calls thinking that my contacts would also be moving into vacation mode.

The call I received was from an entrepreneur/coach from another part of the province (of Québec, Canada). I was particularly struck by his optimism as he described his projects for this summer, especially the launch of a business networking club during the months of July and August.

Keep in mind that in Québec, most networking and business development events shut down for the summer months, because they don’t generate sufficient participation. I saw this in my Toastmasters group during the last couple of weeks, as well as at the Chamber of Commerce events in June.

And here he is, gushing about the demand he’s getting for his events this summer…

Not that this is naiveté – this entrepreneur has many years experience, both locally and abroad. I realized that it is his passion and energy that is creating an environment where business is good for him during the summer. He doesn’t buy into the “conventional wisdom” that solos have to shut down during the summer because there are no clients – so why should I buy into that same fiction?

I think that us solos must keep some creative tension going during the summer. Just like an athlete between seasons, if he spends the off-season drinking beer and eating hot-dogs (“I’m on vacation!”) then the pre-season risks to be very painful. Smart athletes keep some training going during the off-season, or try a different sport. I’m especially impressed by nordic (cross-country) skiiers who shift to cycling or mountain biking during the summer. They then come back to the skiing season refreshed and in shape.

Summer is a great time to try out new things: launch a new service and sell it to a couple of clients to see if *you* like providing it, or invest time in developing a new product. Stay in touch with your contacts, invite them to a cool ice-tea on a patio somewhere – it’s a great way to get past the business façade and get to know the real person. Organize an informal networking event with your personal circle of contacts, they will also appreciate staying in touch with others.

I shared this observation with a colleague of mine (an insurance representative) who said that his goal during the summer was to create personal connections with major clients, so that when September comes along he well have his fall already lined up while everybody else is panicking to create cash-flow to pay the bills accumulated during summer vacation. Smart!

Even with just a couple of hours focused on your projects each day, you will still have time to go play outside and be miles ahead of everybody else come Labour Day.

So enjoy the next few weeks, and keep on doing something every day towards your big goals, keeping the ball rolling. You will find that with just a little effort, you can profit from this great weather, and make this great weather profitable for you!

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