Sunday, January 6, 2013

Why I Work During The Holidays

happy holidays

Do you know what you are going to do during Christmas?  Probably hanging around the Christmas tree, opening presents, and relaxing with your family, right?

Can you guess what I am doing for Christmas?

I’m doing a bit of what you are doing, but I am spending the majority of my time working. And no, don’t feel sorry for me! There’s actually a good reason why I work during the holidays… here’s why:

Work never stops

Just because you are taking a break from your work, it doesn’t mean your work is taking a break. No matter what holiday it is, I always have new emails coming in that need a response.

I also have new tasks that are assigned to me.

So if I take a few days off, all I am creating a pile of work that’ll I’ll have to get to when I go back to work. I hate that feeling and because of it I always make sure I get my work done on time instead of having stressful workdays with double the work load.

When you run your own business you are never your own boss. All of your customers are your bosses and if you don’t keep them happy you can watch your income go down the drain. So if your customers’ need something from you during the holidays, you better be there to help them out.

It’s better to be ahead than behind

For most businesses, holidays are slow… extremely slow. Even though I work during holidays, my work doesn’t take up that much time. For this reason I am able to catch up and even get ahead on my work.

During these slow times I am able to get my inbox down to 0 unread emails and my to do list down to 0.

You want to get ahead and be on top of everything because it sets a standard for your company. If you are always behind on your work, how can you expect your team members to be on top of things?

At KISSmetrics a lot of people work during the holidays… even though they aren’t required to. For example, my VP of Sales sent out an email of a few new deals his team closed and how we are having another great month.

My director of marketing also emailed me to see if I had a quick moment to chat with a potential customer. And our customer success team is continually answering support emails and doing whatever it takes to help customers succeed.

If you can set a standard in your company that everyone needs to work hard and efficient, you’ll create a great company culture in which your team will do whatever it takes succeed instead of playing a game of catch up. The last thing you want is to create a company culture where it’s ok for everyone to continually miss their deadlines.

But on the flip side, if you have a team that works hard, executes fast, keeps your customers happy, and ensures your business is ahead of your competitors, you need to make sure you are taking care of them. You need to be grateful during the holidays and appreciate everything your team members are doing for the business.

Never stop learning

Almost all of my friends are entrepreneurs. They are really smart and they love helping me out by giving me free advice. I’ve learned so much from my friends, I even went as far as buying a condo in the same building as my friend so I could see him more often and learn even more from him.

But there is one big issue with only learning new things from my friends. Do you know what it is?

They are all entrepreneurs, which means they aren’t always my ideal customers. I need to also get feedback from regular people, as many of them are not only my customers, but have great feedback and ideas that I didn’t think of.

During the holidays I get to hang around with my family, my nephew, family friends, and a ton of average people. Don’t get me wrong… these average people are smart, but they have a different perspective on life than my business friends.

It’s great to get their feedback as in many cases they are my ideal buyers.

You can lose a battle as long as you win the war

I work over 70 hours a week… each and every week. It’s not because I have to, but instead I love what I am doing. Most of my work hours are filled up with doing actual work, which means I don’t get to think about the company’s overall strategy too often.

Holidays are a great time for me to think about our future vision and strategy. On a daily basis my team members and sometimes even I think about what our competitors are doing or what feature we need to get out next… when in reality those things don’t play a huge part in the big picture.

The market place we are in is big enough for multiple players and we need to focus on our long run vision, as that will help us win the war. Just like any other company, we won’t win all of our battles, but as long as we come out ahead in the long run, we will be fine. And the holidays are great times for me to think about our overall strategy, which will help us win the war.

Taxes are evil, but a necessarily evil

I hate paying taxes, but we all have to pay them so we can have things like roads, schools, police officers, etc. I don’t really have a problem paying taxes, but doing my taxes isn’t an easy task.

Even though I spend all my time on KISSmetrics, I am still own of a handful of companies, am an investor in around 30 Internet companies, and I have a handful of offline investments that provide cash flow. Plus if you include things like stocks, bonds, and hedgfunds, my taxes get a bit tricky. And once my accounts figure out my income, they then have to figure out what to depreciate, and write off.

I have a great bookkeeper, CPA, and even tax attorney, but there is still a lot of work to be done on my end. Just because you pay smart people to handle your money, it doesn’t mean that they can do everything for you. You yourself need to help them think of tax savings strategies as well as double check all the numbers so you don’t get in trouble from the Government.

Learn from your first, earn with your second, give back with your third

I lost of lot of money with my first startup because I made many mistakes. I was lucky enough to make money from my second startup and I am currently working on my third. I still want to make a lot more money, but I’ve learned that it is important to give back.

I’m here today because other entrepreneurs helped me out when I needed it and they didn’t ask for anything in return. From giving me free advice to handing me business deals, they did whatever it took to make sure I did well.

Although I still have a long way to go before I feel successful, I enjoy giving back, especially during the holidays. One of the ways I do so is by helping out every entrepreneur who asks me for help. And although I can’t get to everyone during the normal workweek, I usually can get to all of the people I missed during the holidays.

For me it’s very rewarding to help others out just like you may have helped me when I first got started.


I understand why you may not want to work during the holidays, but I’ve found it to be really helpful. During Christmas if you try to work, even if it is just for an hour or two, I bet you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment.

What other work related things can you do during the holidays?


Kenneth W. Freeman Michael Pragnell Thomas P. Mac Mahon Frank O\'Halloran Daniel Hajj Aboumrad

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