The phrase “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” has been attributed to an ancient Roman philosopher named Seneca, but I think the updated version is a better fit for professionals today: Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.  

Sure, some luck would be great; too bad you can’t pay your bills and build your business with luck. Success, though? That’s the goal. It looks like different things to different people, of course, but most of the realtors, consultants, attorneys and entrepreneurs I work with on time management coaching have a similar vision of success: Making enough money to be comfortable, and be able to afford some luxuries. Enjoying their work. Having time and energy to spend on the people, pets and hobbies they love most.  

(What else would you include in your own personal vision of “success”? Remember, we’re all wired differently—the future that you’re striving for might look very different than someone else’s!) 

Anyway, today I’m thinking about the preparation piece of the “success equation.”  

Here’s why: we’re heading into summer, which is pretty consistently a time when everyone struggles with good time management and productivity.  

It’s a challenging time for parents to get consistent child care. It’s a challenging time for realtors and consultants to land new clients, because everyone’s schedule and priorities seem to shift during summer. There’s always something fun going on that you could be doing instead of working. Time management plans go out the window when everyone else is playing hooky on a sunny Friday and you want to join them.  

All of those distractions mean that seizing opportunities gets harder in summer. If you work with clients, summer can be a slow time for landing new business. You can’t afford to let any good prospects (opportunity!) slip by because you weren’t totally prepared for them. 

So, what are some steps you can take right now to get yourself into position to seize any great opportunities that do come up in the next few months? 

  • Fine-tune your client prospecting plan. Don’t waste your limited time and resources targeting lower-level business or clients that wouldn’t be a good fit for where you are right now. Spring is the time to strategize around things like, what are the specific clients or types of clients you’re going to try to land during the summer? What do those specific clients need and want? How do they like to work? What is it about you specifically, and your business, that you think would make them love working with you? Getting clear about your value and your strengths lets you shape messaging designed to pull in those top prospects specifically. 
  • Collect your most compelling testimonials and recent referrals.  Serious clients—the ones who are prepared to meet your rate, respect your skills, and work with you again and again—tend to be serious about vetting their consultants, real estate professionals, attorneys, etc. With the caveat that industry standards and regulations may affect how you’re allowed to use testimonials… if you’re able to, spring could be an opportune time to reach out to your favorite past and current clients to see who’s willing to sing your praises.  
  • Build up your content/portfolio, if necessary. What this looks like will vary depending on industry, naturally. A social media consultant might need to maintain an active online presence and have examples of past campaigns ready to show prospective clients; an attorney might be on LinkedIn only, and build a big following there by posting useful tips frequently and engaging with their network. The question is, when the big clients Google you, will they be to tell quickly that you’re someone with credibility and authority in your particular area of expertise? If the answer is currently no, maybe you take some time to update your website, schedule more posts on your social media channels, create a portfolio highlighting your work, or so on.  
  •  Troubleshoot your time management tools. What’s been working well in your time management system lately? What hasn’t been working so well? Notice the things that are showing up for you as distractions, as well as any strategies that have helped you feel productive and in control of your time recently.  

3 things you can you build into your weekly plans for spring to prepare yourself for success this summer: 

  1. Time to do big-picture strategy work. It might be a once-a-week session, or 10 minutes that you carve out every day, but make time in spring to zoom out from the day-to-day and look more broadly at the next few months ahead. It’s a chance to slow down, put your current to-do list out of your mind for a little bit and just let yourself sort through ideas. Use these sessions to brainstorm about what an ideal summer would look like for your business, and notice the places in your current systems that might need adjusting. 
  1. Time to connect with your mentors and other most trusted professional contacts. The ramp-up in spring is a perfect time to schedule calls, coffee meetups and dinners out with the people whose professional advice you value the most. Get these talks scheduled now, before your mentors and industry peers get busy for the summer. What are they seeing within your industry right now? Do they have any tried-and-true strategies for boosting business in the summer? 
  1. Time to relax, disconnect from work and enjoy the season. If you reach summer totally exhausted and fried from 12-hour work days and no social life, it’s going to be sooo tempting to blow off responsibilities and spend half of July recovering from burnout. Take enough time to rest, refuel and enjoy your personal life now so you can carry energy and excitement into your work this summer.  

Let’s talk about what you can do now to get your time management and productivity strategies ready to land the serious clients.  

Are you sick of being overwhelmed, overworked and feeling like your own life is passing you by because you’re not in control of your time? I designed the Time Matters Boot Camp 90-day virtual program for professionals who feel like they’ve tried everything to solve their time challenges, but continue to struggle with time management and productivity.

If you join us now, you’ll have your customized time management toolkit ready to go by the time the summer chaos begins…. what a relief that would be!

Click here to learn more, and check out what prior students have had to say about boot camp! 

Be well,  

Sarah Reiff-Hekking