As business owners, freelancers and side hustlers most of us struggle with taking time off. There’s this constant feeling that we need to be working if we want to get paid, hit our goals and keep up with the “business -jones”. But rest and relaxation are important not only for your health and sanity but for your business. All work and no play is a straight path to burn out and resentment. Can you go on vacation and still have a business to come to back to? What if you’re a service based business and you’re the only one running things?
You NEED to take a break from your business.
When I was planning on going to Austin and Las Vegas in February (our first vacation since our honeymoon) I researched like a crazy woman “how to vacation proof my business”. Okay, not those exact search terms but something like that and I didn’t find a whole lot of advice. Either the advice was geared to those who had passive income, it suggested to create passive income or it was really superficial. It didn’t answer the burning questions like “what will happen to my clients while I’m gone?” and "will everything go up in flames while I’m gone?"
Honestly, it turned a trip I was looking forward to going on into a nightmare (a little bit of an exaggeration but I definitely had a couple of stress dreams where my business fell apart). At this time I was alone in my business, there was no “& CO” and I had three active dreamy clients that I needed to serve without skipping a beat.
I took my computer on my trip.
Truthfully my husband brought his computer on the trip, since this was a work-cation, and I used his computer when needed which means I didn’t totally unplug despite having every intention to.
Was I stressed for the first half of the trip?
Did I get over it?
Did I have a business and clients when I came back?
Would I go on vacation again?
Definitely! Because now I know how to do without bringing my computer as a safety blanket.
Good news, no matter where you’re at in your business you can take time off without running it into the ground or undoing months (or years) of hard work.
Unless you’re going away for a month or two (think maternity leave or family emergency) with a little planning, automation, and delegation you can easily walk away from your business for a week (or even two) without major setbacks. In fact this same method could be applied to more extended absences as well but that’s a topic for another note.
Plan for the time you’ll be away.
Determine what needs to happen while you’re out of the office. How long will you be out for? Add some buffer time for catching up on your inbox, recovering from jet lag and easing back into work mode. Let your clients know you’ll be away and adjust deadlines if needed.
Automate. This is key number one not only for taking time off but for freeing up your time.
Anything that can be done by a machine, software, or robot should be. This can be as simple as putting your out of office automatic email, scheduling your blog post to publish, or invoices to send (cha-ching). If you haven't done this. Do it. Even if you aren't planning on going to the beach. You'll thank me later.
Delegate. This is key number two and essential for some added peace of mind.
Anything that needs a human touch that someone else can do for you should be delegated. Also, if you have a service based business consider bringing on someone who can fill in if needed (particularly true for VA’s). If you're thinking that sounds expensive and complicated - it's not. There's a VA for every budget and occasion. Perhaps you need a few hours a month or maybe it's just one week. Whatever you need there's someone out there to fill it. So start looking now for your perfect match. I still have space in my summer roster if you'd like to work with moi ;-)
Batch. Key number three if you want to continue marketing consistently while you’re away.
Anything that you can do ahead of time - do it. Blog post, newsletters, social media content, and graphics just to name a few are the perfect task to batch. Do as much as you can ahead of time to free up your time in the future. This is a great habit to adapt if you want to consistently turn out strategic and intentional content.
If anything this trip reinforced the importance of having and building a team, multiple passive income streams and sales funnels aren’t icky they’re smart. These things make your business more money, more enjoyable and more sustainable. It helps to make your business life-proof and let’s face it life happens all the time.
Luckily, you can now plan for your summer vacation with confidence and skip the stress of wondering if you’ll have a business to come back to.
As long as you follow the three key areas you’ll be able to take a day or even a couple of weeks off without missing a step. Skip the stress, leave your computer at home and enjoy your vacation.
I’d love to know where you are planning on going on vacation this summer. Let me know in the comments.