While the Iron is Hot

blacksmith In many lines of business, stopping for a while makes an obvious result. If you stop hammering the hot steel at the forge, you lose the chance to shape it into the product you need. If you stop cutting down trees for firewood, you stop heating your house. But in pursuits attached to keyboards, it’s often difficult to visualize the impact of slowing down, of stopping.

Around me, I’m watching bloggers take breaks. I’m watching them explore other technologies. I’m watching them cut back on what got them to their level of notoriety in the space. It’s the end of the year. People are slowing down to turn their thoughts to family and to their own development, and to what worked and what didn’t in 2009.

Not me.

In December, New Marketing Labs closed 10 new accounts. I’m at the airport to visit a client today (a few days before Christmas). I’m working on my new business, working on how I can improve my clients’ efforts, working on a lot of things that I think matter because the iron is indeed still hot.

You Don’t Have to Do It This Way

There are lots of ways to the finish line. But you have to make a choice. You have to say, “I think going at the pace I’m at now is exactly what I’m willing to do,” and then accept the results that brings you. That’s a choice you’ve made.

The choice I’ve made is to strike while the iron is hot. I’m working now because we’re seeing results. I’m working now because I’m at the top of my game, and so I have a lot to share with companies who want to use social media tools as part of their business communications and marketing efforts. I’m working now so that I can choose my own jobs in years to come.

Those were my choices. Again, you can choose to work the way you want.

If You’re Looking to Strike Now

If it’s your idea to strike while the iron is hot:

  • Talk about the business benefits you can achieve with the tools. Stop talking about the tools.
  • Teach about the systems and educate your clients. Stop talking about talking.
  • Share everything. Stop holding on to your “big ideas” and make them into collaboration businesses.

We choose our success in life. We choose every step. My family and I have chosen the course I’m on, and I’m pretty happy with it. How about you? What have you chosen?

Photo credit Petteri Sulonen

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    I was interested and thank you for the post. I learned a lot from it.

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  • marryroy01

    I am all for striking while the iron is hot – but if the rest of the world is going straight to voice-mail for the next two weeks, then there is an opportunity there to reset, and spend some time working on the back end, so when everyone wakes up from hibernation in January you're ahead of the pack.The way you choose depends on your highest placed value.

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  • http://ariherzog.com Ari Herzog

    Good points that many should heed. As for me, I never stop. I learn a new thing every day and keep doing what I do best each day. Today, for instance, I interviewed for a part-time program management position that would be a great fit for me. So what it's a few days before Christmas? I don't celebrate the holiday so I'll keep plugging every day like it's the Ides of March.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tomsalzer Tom Salzer

    Timing is as important as total effort. I've had several great ideas, but they were out-of-phase with the decision makers I needed to convince. I've learned to stop pushing against solid walls, and instead I record those ideas and revisit them so they can mature and become more developed. Of course, sometimes those solid walls aren't really solid, are they?!!

  • http://www.myadguy.com Ray Martin

    I love your comment about selling the benefits instead of the tools. In media we sell our radio station or TV networks and the size of the audience because it's the world we are caught up in. It was a good reminder for me to stay focused on the client's goals and what's in it for them. I too am trying to step on the gas while many are taking a break this week. Good luck!

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  • Leanna

    And in NASCAR if you stop for a bit you re-fuel, change tires, check fluids so you can keep going. If you chop wood for a living, stopping to replant some trees means they'll be there in the future. Stopping or slowing down doesn't always mean that you are doing nothing, and doesn't mean you'll lose business.

    I slow down and reflect and refuel towards the end of the year. I look back at what happened during 2009 and plan for 2010. My clients tend to take this time off as well, so it works. But, my planning means that I'm looking to other professionals to see how they can help me succeed in the coming year. So, I'm hoping they are still working (or at least responding to emails to set something up for the new year.)

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  • http://twitter.com/Jericles Jeremy Fischer

    Excellent post. As with business itself we all have to carve out our own successful practices. Although I choose to take time away because I have a 2-yr old daughter and want to spend time with her this time of year, that's a conscious decision I've made. And I don't take time off, just to take time off. There's always a method to my madness.

    My current blog incarnation is only a couple months old, and I'm relatively happy with the results so far. I'm always thinking of new ways that I can improve it, but seeing as I'm happy with the direction it's heading so far, I feel like the time away is good.

    I'm also one who spend almost 20 years as a professional actor, so I've learned the hard way that I have to have some balance in my life, otherwise I tend to burn out and my work suffers.

    Others, like yourself, know yourself well enough to say that you don't have those same concerns and therefore have no desire to stop and take a break right.

    To that, and to all those like me who take some time, I salute you!

  • http://twitter.com/KatFrench Kat French

    Suze has a third vote, from the Queen of Burnout City…

  • http://www.internetmarketing.com/ IMC Team

    This is a fantastic post — SO much here to remind people that *now* is the time to act.

  • charlotterainsdixon

    Glad to read this take on working through the holidays, Chris. I've been feeling a bit out of sync with the rest of the world as I continue on blogging like crazy, and doing all my other work, too! I think there is a lot to be said for finding the balance that works for you and not constantly doing what others do.

  • Marielle

    This post is so interesting to get a kind of behind the scenes look into the decisions we must make and how consistency is key. Staying on track and being able to keep up with the workload you originally started with will be able to keep things productive and bring a flow to work. Your work has clearly paid off and it is through the hard work and support from family that really shows the way to success.

  • http://www.kherize5.com Suzanne Vara

    I am with ya here on this one Chris.

    As a single parent who does not get any days off from being mommy, not every other weekend or anything, I have to keep plugging along each day to support us. Sure time off for the holidays might be nice to stay in bed a few extra hours but I just do not have it in me. I rest, get lazy, slack and then what …

    I will stay with ya on this one and work along side ya.

  • http://kathynicholls.com Kathy Nicholls

    For me, it's about balance. As someone who spent years doing the “work at all costs” thing, I learned that I lost moments with people who are truly important to me that I can never regain. Still, this month I am working like crazy due to a job layoff and starting a new venture. Fortunately I had already done the planning for that five months before so that helped. I still think balance is an important thing in life and yet it seems to be ever elusive.

  • nuwomb

    I know what you're saying here.

    I have been trying to work it this december. I work my full time job, and try and make time for so many other interests and things I am trying to do as my passion.

    It's very hard to do during this time. Sometimes the day J.O.B gets so out of control and leaves me with nothing left. I struggle and the iron cools. Then it takes more time to get the iron heated up again… it's a horrible cycle.

    I'm dying to just take the leap. The fiancee is the other type of person and gets very scared and upset when I bring it up about quitting the j.o.b. I understand her, yet I it just feels like I spin my wheels and burnout.

    It would make me so happy to strike now and see where it takes me.

  • kat

    as a note
    you will change pace
    you'll stop traveling for a week or so
    work locally
    it doesn't really slow down your work load
    but at least you'll be home every night :)

  • stevekeeler

    Part of the problem is when your clients are taking a break. I'm continuing to do background work, but my target-clients are taking time off. Even the gatekeepers are packing it in! Sometimes the cycle of renewal forces you to watch…even if it cools the fire.

  • larrybruce

    Chris you’re absolutely right on about not stopping or slowing down, however I believe you're in charge of your own iron and it's as hot as you want it to be, when you want it to be.

    As for the finish…well there isn't one. The web is a journey and the best is yet to come, if you're finished you’re dead.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family, sorry we haven't spoken in a while hope we can catch up in the New Year.

    Larry Bruce (@pcmguy)

  • ryankovach

    Been closing more deals in the last 3 weeks then in the last 8. Never stop moving and never slow down.

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    “Stop talking about talking” …love it! You are a straight shooter! How often do we find ourselves doing this though…
    Good article!

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    it is good to educate our clients or partners, some others just want to take our money from their product and I am the one who spend a lot of money doing internet marketing business but I don't think they care about us, some very care and have good attitude. I find the wrong person to learn, they just want to get my money. I try to give as much as information on my blog. Thanks for your info.

    Cheers,
    Stefhanus

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    same as if we push something on the hills, once we stop and have a rest than we have to do it again from begining. I am agree to educate our clients or partners and give them as much as information they need.

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