How Do You Have Your Holiday Cake and Eat It Too?

With the Holidays fast approaching, I asked the following question last week:

“The last two months of the year are extra challenging to the entrepreneur, who not only has to run her business, but also shop, cook, entertain and track Santa with GPS. How do you enjoy the holidays without letting your business suffer?”

It would seem that Holiday busyness is already beginning to take a toll on everyday business, because only three highly organized women responded.  The funny thing is that the Holidays didn’t just appear out of nowhere.  They’ve been on the calendar year after year, so their arrival shouldn’t come as a surprise.  And yet, many entrepreneurs are completely unprepared to weather the added complexity simply because they’ve never taken the time to establish a workable plan.

Nothing’s worse than allowing the holidays to take over your business priorities,  causing you to miss out on great opportunities.  As confirmed by the responses below, there’s a way to have your Holiday cake and eat it too.  These savvy businesswomen understand the importance of creating a plan.  Organizing priorities, working ahead and automating as much as possible seems to be the consensus.  Why wait until January 2nd to catch up from where you left off around mid-November when you could be ready to take your business to the next level at the start of the New Year.  Take a look at how these three busy entrepreneurs still find the time to have it all.

“It is all about organizing your priorities.  Figure out the must-do’s, need-to-do’s and should-do’s.  Get as many must-do’s done in advance, blog posts, accounting, invoicing, sales proposals, etc.  Then tackle the need-to-do’s and hold the should-do’s until later.  Schedule as much in advance as possible, like Blog posts, Facebook updates, Tweets, Linkedin.  My world only panics when they know I am not around. If they don’t know then everything is business as usual, and if I have done the prep-work then everything operates smoothly.  Lastly, create a schedule for checking in and write an auto-responder email message with that schedule. The best way to not go nuts is to not allow yourself to go nuts, set your own work boundaries and stick to them.”

Lauren MacEwen (@laurencubed) Primary Strategist and Creator of SM Cubed Consulting

“This tip actually comes from my Dad.  My family has a strong tradition of homemade desserts, candies and pies for the holidays.  We counted once, 14.  Needless to say that is a lot of work.  Especially once myself and my sisters were grown and gone.  However food, especially dessert, has always had a special place in my Dad’s family and he wanted to continue the tradition for the grandkids who came along.  When my mother became ill and passed away, it just wasn’t practical for him to make everything in couple days.  So starting December 1, every day he makes one dessert and freezes it.  By the 15th he’s done.  They all still taste great, and thaw pretty quickly.  I’m planning to do that this year.”

Nicole Fende (@BizFinanceForum), President of Small Business Finance Forum

“Women have a tendency to over-extend themselves and this tends to get even worse around the holidays. We place so many constraints on ourselves thinking that we have to do all of these things to be successful as a wife, mother, business owner, etc. I think it’s important to plan ahead, set realistic expectations, delegate where you can and let go of the rest. For instance, is it absolutely necessary to send out Christmas cards (personal or business)? Maybe you can forgo that or do what I did last year, and send them for Valentine’s Day instead. There are a lot of ways to cut out unnecessary stress if you can just learn to let go of what you think you’re “supposed” to do and just do the things that make sense for you, your family and your business.”

Laura Click (@lauraclick) Founder and Chief Innovator of Blue Kite Marketing

My personal thanks to Lauren, Nicole and Laura for making your contribution to this post a priority.  As always, your input is incredibly valuable!

This week’s question:

What is the best way to request what you want/deserve in a business relationship with finesse and power?

Courtesy of Dr. Marla Gottschalk (@MarlaGottschalk)

Why should I join the discussion?

Because this online forum is a great place for us to exchange ideas, learn from each other and network.  My goal is to unite successful women entrepreneurs to share our insights and solutions to the challenges we most commonly face in our businesses.

How do I get involved?

Every Monday I will post a new Question of the Week. This is a great opportunity for you to bring your expertise to the table.  Please send me a one paragraph response by Wednesday, and the following week I will share our community responses on my blog.

Simply email your response to

I look forward to your response to this week’s question! If you have any questions you know where to find me. Have a great week!


  1. Posted November 15, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Shannon, sorry I didn’t respond to your question. The truth is: I DON’T.

    I don’t decorate or bake or buy and wrap presents for everyone I know. I don’t attend dozens of holidays parties.

    I might throw a modest dinner party and I do send cards and gifts to a few select businesses, but that’s it.

    I avoid the holiday madness, but I lack a lot of that “holiday spirit,” too. Blame it on a rough childhood and no kids in the house. My ideal holiday season would be on a cruise ship far, far away from any garland and tinsel.

    Sorry to throw a wet blanket on things!

    • Posted November 15, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

      No problem! Makes perfect sense, and I am guessing you aren’t the only one who avoids getting caught up in all the craziness. 🙂 This year will be VERY simple for me because I am focusing my time and effort on other projects. Besides, sometimes it just doesn’t quite feel like Christmas in FL when it’s 80 degrees outside and palm trees are blowing in the breeze. 🙂

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