Black Friday has come and gone. And this year I just wasn’t in a position to splash out on a bunch of things I don’t need. But it did give me a chance to do one thing.

Remove myself from dozens of email lists.

Black Friday, Thanksgiving (even in Australia!) Halloween and Christmas are times when we are bombarded with emails about “spooky savings” and “deals with will jingle your bells.”

This reminds me of all the email newsletters I have deliberately and unwittingly signed up for.

Which I then unsubscribe from one by one.

We’re past most of the sales now, so we’re in full Christmas and New Year mode. which means last-minute Christmas savings and something else for those of us who do a lot of marketing and personal branding work online.

Traffic and attention drops like Santa down a chimney.

For those of us who have service-based businesses, this is the dead zone.

And we generally plan for it.

But there’s always a small number of small business owners – usually those who are quite new to it – who panic that they have no forward bookings heading into December and January.

“How am I supposed to live with no bookings and no income?”

And they’re right. But there is almost nothing that can be done about it.

In December, there are simply different priorities in the lives of most Australians.

I expect that my newsletter open rate will plummet by around half during December and January. My LinkedIn reach and engagement will drop by two thirds. My website traffic will drop by up to 80%.

Am I worried? Not at all.

Because the last 25 years in and out of business, media and marketing has shown me that it all comes back in late January and early February.

And I’ve diversified my income now so that although my service-based lines of business collapse in December, my main contracts are still running. And I can work on them while I am away for two weeks over the Christmas break. Literally from my parents’ kitchen table on the Gold Coast while visiting them.

But what about my followers and engagement?

I have noticed over the last two years that something else happens over this period of time.

Apart from simply losing traffic and engagement with a huge chunk of people over Christmas and the New Year period, about one third of my audience changes significantly.

The New Year changeover brings a lot of promises within us.

We want to digitally detox.

We want to learn more.

We want to more connected.

We want to be less connected.

We want to be focused on what’s important.

We want to launch something new.

There’s something different for everyone.

So I find that while I might as well not bother doing anything between December 15 and January 15, I stay engaged online because there’s people who are looking for someone like me.

And while they are in small numbers, they are there.

And I want to be there with some fresh content, ideas and opinions when they do go looking.

So I try new things. In fact, it’s now a tradition that on January 1, I plan out my content and marketing approach for the whole of the new year.

Mostly because I don’t drink, so I’m not hungover. And there’s very little else to do on New Year’s Day!

It’s ok. It’s a natural part of the online cycle for things to slow.

I know that the common wisdom is to not worry about the numbers. But we always will.

But during December, don’t worry about your follower count, your reach, your engagement and the lack of activity on your social media.

We all have better things to be doing this busy month – and that involves not investing in the hustle and our learning and our careers.

And that’s 100% ok.

So use the break to plan, to rest, to eat, to drink, to connect in person, to disconnect from your phone, to do whatever the hell you like.

I’ll be all business as usual because that’s who I am.

But you? Do you.

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