The number one excuse I hear when I talk to travel agents about creating content for their blog is:
I don’t have tiiiime!!
We get so busy with the daily tasks of running a business – returning client calls, chasing down your commission, responding to email, confirming reservations…
Some days it’s hard to find time just to go to the bathroom!
The truth is, though, that you DO have time! If a client called you to set up a time to talk about a 3-week safari, would you have time for that? Of course you would! It would go right on your calendar, you’d set an alarm so you wouldn’t forget, and I bet you’d even show up early.
But, because creating content for your blog doesn’t have to get done today, (meaning you won’t miss a payment deadline, or lose a booking if it doesn’t get done) it doesn’t feel as important, and it’s easy to keep putting it off and filling your day with more urgent tasks.
Creating content for your blog is just as important as a client meeting, though. Actually, it’s MORE important.
That client meeting could result in a really nice booking. And if you handle it right, it could also produce a referral or two. But keeping your blog updated with fresh, helpful content could result in tens, or even hundreds of new clients. And not just any clients, but clients you enjoy working with, who appreciate you, and want to go on the kinds of vacations you enjoy planning.
I know it’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of putting out fires and taking care of things that need to be done today – right now! – instead of making time for the things that will prevent those fires, and will result in the business you’ve always dreamed of.
But if you want that business – working with clients you love, planning vacations you’re excited about planning, getting commissions with commas – those less urgent but just as important tasks need to get done.
And the only way you’re going to get them done is to be really deliberate about it. You need to schedule it as if it were as urgent and important as a client meeting.
PICK THE RIGHT TIME OF DAY
The first thing you need to do is figure out what time of day works best for you. Do you feel more creative and energized in the evening or in the morning? Do you live with someone who gets up early, or stays up late, that you need to take care of or that you want to spend time with? Are there times when your home or office is quieter than others?
Think about your day and pick a time that will make it as easy as possible to create great content.
You don’t have to schedule huge chunks of time for this. And honestly, it’s best to start small. If you set aside 2 hours every day you’re going to get overwhelmed and give up before you even start.
So start with just 20 – 30 minutes a day. Then make a list of all the steps involved, and break them into chunks that are small enough for you to do in one sitting.
Maybe one day you’re just writing an outline, and the next day a really rough draft. You could do some editing on the third day, write 20 possible headlines on the fourth, and finish editing on the fifth…
I’ve created a PDF that you can grab the bottom of this post with a list of some of the steps involved in creating a blog post. You can use that to get started, and change it to fit your writing style better. You can break them apart further if some steps are taking longer than you expected. Or you can chunk some of them together if you’re super fast and can get more than one done in one sitting.
And don’t get discouraged if it takes you several weeks to complete a blog post. One a month is better than none a month. Just keep at it and stick to your schedule. You’ll get better and faster the more you do it.
WRITE IT DOWN
Whatever time you’ve decided will work best for your writing time, schedule it! Get out your calendar right now. No I mean it – RIGHT NOW! And enter your content creation appointments just as if they were meetings with clients.
I recommend scheduling time for this every workday. It will help create a habit of doing it, and will take away some of the thought involved. You won’t have wonder if it’s a content creation day because every day is. And there will be less opportunity to forget.
And – treat it as something that’s super important and vital to your business, because it is! If a friend wants to get together for breakfast, ask yourself if it’s something you’d reschedule a client meeting for. If the answer is yes, go ahead and do it. But make sure you reschedule that writing appointment for another day or another time.
TEST AND MAKE ADJUSTMENTS
Running a business is all about testing things and making adjustments until you find something that works. Pay attention, and if the time you’ve started with doesn’t seem to be working well for you, change it! Does it take a while for your brain to get going in the morning? Is your partner getting annoyed because you’re always writing when he or she wants to spend time with you? Then you need to change something.
Sometimes you have to be creative. Don’t just say, “Well, this time clearly isn’t working”. Ask yourself how you can make it better. For instance, if you know you want to write in the morning, but your mornings are already tightly scheduled, can you rearrange things a bit? Go to the gym first so you’re a little more awake during your writing time? Stop at a coffee shop on the way to the office for 30 minutes of writing time?
It’s taken me a few tries but I’ve found a time that works really well for me for now. I work from home and love that I can be here for my family. But when I’m trying trying to write, or do other creative work, it’s hard to get back in the groove after an interruption. That means I have to schedule this for a time when my family is either sleeping or not home.
It’s also hard for me to leave tasks undone. I find it hard to take a break in the middle of the day when I know that there’s client work I haven’t completed. And, sometimes I’m so tired after a busy day dealing with “urgent” tasks that I just want to watch Game of Thrones with a glass of wine.
What works best for me is to get up before anyone else, and before I even look at my inbox, and get my creative work done then.
LET’S DO THIS!
Sit down right now with your calendar and schedule time for creating blog posts. Then create a reminder so that your phone rings or something pops up on your computer when it’s time to work on your blog. And when that reminder pops up, don’t dismiss it until you actually start. It’s easy to think: “OK, I’ll do that as soon as I throw the laundry in the dryer.” But you and I both know what will probably happen – you’ll dismiss the reminder and forget all about it.
I know for some of you this isn’t a super comfortable task. It’s not something you feel you’re good at so there will be a natural urge to avoid it. Don’t let yourself put it off. Make yourself really stick to your appointments. Set three or four reminders if you have to.
Find an accountability partner. It could be another travel agent you’re friends with or an entrepreneur in another industry. Heck, it could even be your sister. Schedule one day a week to check in with each other to make sure you’re both sticking to your schedules. I cannot stress enough how important this is. If you’re skeptical, just commit to it for a week or two and see how much progress you’ve made.
And let me know how it’s going! If you’re struggling with something let me know. Maybe together we can come up with a solution. And if you’ve tried it and love it, I want to hear about that, too. That’s my favorite part!!