You know itâ€™s coming.
You have dreaded it for months, or at least weeks.
The Season Finale of your favorite TV show â€¦ and worse, that cliffhanger right at the end, and nothing for months.
You really want more. Another episode next week; the next chapter of the story.
With many ventures I have made a mistake. I set the expectation of perpetual production. Two episodes per week. One episode per month. One post per day. Sixteen hours per day. Fifty hours per week.
Each was a mistake.
Each venture was missing a designated reevaluation date, a predetermined season. Instead of just starting out with a goals, each needed to have a point where you are forced to review, reflect, and make a decision to continue in the same, similar, or different direction. On a personal level humans sometimes need Â sabbatical (breaks from your normal) or a sabbath (day of rest each week).
When looking at media projects, especially podcasts, there are three natural seasons. Think of school semesters, or when TV seasons are on the air.
Spring – January to April
Summer – May to August
Fall – September to December
During the summer an audience typically dwindles; there are just too many other options out there. Itâ€™s also harder to produce during those three or four months. Another extremely hard time is the winter break around Christmas and New Years. If you have children, the time around the end of school & beginning of a new school year is also hard & both fall in that summer season.
If you start a new show in January, around the beginning of April you know you need to make a decision:
- Continue into May and commit to release until August
- Skip the Summer season and restart in the Fall
- Stop with no expected return date
Continuing to do what you have been doing until something major breaks is a poor way to build your dream.
To succeed you must first have a vision. The vision provides the energy in the form of passion. Because of your vision and passion you must be disciplined. Sticking to planned seasons is one form of discipline. Because of your discipline, passion, and vision you take calculated risks. Thatâ€™s the best path to success I know.
The key is to find the natural break points, or seasons & actually have the discipline to take a break. If you donâ€™t know of a natural season, then take a break as soon as you can. Do the hard work of honest reflection, evaluation, and planning for the next phase. Lastly, communicate with your fans, customers, and all other stakeholders. The only thing worse than your favorite TV show ending a season is not having a clue when it will be back on.