It’s getting warmer, with summer, and the promises of pre-pandemic options and vacations opening up chances are you are starting to look for opportunities to get away. Whether it be for a couple of days or a couple of weeks, and you don’t necessarily want to be tied to your laptop while everyone else is present and enjoying the vacation.
Taking a vacation is good for your business. It allows you to avoid burnout, come up with more creative ideas and actually enjoy the fruits of all your hard work. But there may be some hesitations about leaving your business unattended for any amount of time.
In this episode you will learn how to plan and execute a vacation without being tied to your laptop. Develop your intentions for your time away to establish your boundaries and your decision filter. Determine best ways to communicate with your clients and your team. As well, discover how to build a financial plan that allows for your time away.
- Discover how to plan and execute a vacation away from your business without coming back to utter pandemonium.
- Learn how to get clear on what your business will look like in your absence and what that means for the people around you.
- Set your vacation intentions including setting clear boundaries.
Rather skim before you listen? ⬇️
Okay, dear friend. It is getting warmer and with summer and promises of more returning of now-novel pre-pandemic options and vacations, chances are you are starting to look for opportunities to get away, whether for a couple of days or a couple of weeks. And you don’t necessarily want to be tied to your laptop while everyone else is present and enjoying the actual vacation.
Taking a vacation is good for your business. It allows you to avoid burnout, come up with more creative ideas, and actually enjoy the fruits of all your hard work.
But there may be some hesitations about leaving your baby of a business unattended for any amount of time. And maybe you’ve even tried taking a few days away before and came back to utter pandemonium. And no one is looking to repeat that train wreck.
So in this episode, I am sharing my tips to make sure you feel confident and stress-free while stepping away from your business for a few days or even *gasp* an entire week.
Look, the reason you started your business was probably because you wanted freedom of some sort – freedom in your calendar, freedom in your bank account, or the creative freedom to create what you want to create.
And while yes, the work you do doesn’t always feel the way it did when you were working a 9-5 for someone else, it is still work and yes, you are allowed to take some time off. My husband and I actually had a conversation about this recently.
I have worked full time in my business for about a year and a half now and he still works a corporate position. He recently revealed that he is a bit jealous of my freedom and that I get what I want to do every day. He said because I choose what I do and I like it, it’s not work.
*record scratch and crickets*
While I do consider myself very lucky, I also worked very hard before I quit my 9-5 doing both for a little more than a year to build the business to a point where leaving my 9-5 made sense. And even now, what I do all day is still work. Yes, it is work that I enjoy doing, but it is still work. It requires energy and cognitive bandwidth and a ton of decision making and confidence that I know what is best because there is no one else telling me what to do.
And because it is work, sometimes even us unicorn entrepreneurs who actually love what we do need some time away.
Because when it comes down to it, being able to take time off will help you return to the business more energized and with more creative ideas. And because you are allowed to live the dream life now, too.
We often have this idea that we need to put our heads down and hustle for years until we’ve “made it” and achieved a certain level of success. Resist that urge. You get to enjoy your life as a work in progress. You may not be able to sip mai tais at your own beachfront villa’s private pool 365 days a year, but you can do it for 5 days. You’ll likely miss out on a lot of really awesome things right here and now.
And when you are on vacation, living that dream life now, you likely didn’t dream of being shackled to your computer in that dream life. You don’t imagine carting it with you to the beach or the pool or sitting on the deck of a ski resort with a cup of coffee and your phone, putting out fires.
I understand the desire to keep moving forward or at least not create more issues for yourself upon return from your temporary reprieve from day-to-day responsibility. But you don’t have to lose momentum in your business to pull it off.
But since you are the CEO, no one else is taking care of everything so you can go lie on the beach. Unless you set it up that way.
A lot of people are likely counting on you: you have clients, customers, partnerships, and possibly even team members. So my first tip to you is to get clear on what your absence looks like and what it means for all the people around you.
So you are going to make a plan.
What is the purpose of this time away?
How do you want to feel?
What do you want to accomplish?
I ask you to ask these questions because no-work vacations aren’t the only type of time away you may want to take in your business.
I often take work retreats where I go by myself to deep dive on the business but not do any day-to-day activities like showing up on social media in real-time, answering emails, or meeting with clients.
While the intention behind something like a work retreat and a true vacation is a bit different, this process works for both types of time away. BTW, I will do a more in depth episode on exactly how I plan and execute these work retreats in the future so you can consider if it’s something to add to your routine.
Take some time to understand how you want to feel and what you want to get out of your break. Setting that intention early will help you make good decisions with how to communicate with others and what boundaries to set. It will help create a decision filter and something simple to come back to when you feel like throwing the whole plan out the window and working on vaca.
Does this time away mean that you won’t be meeting with clients during that time you are gone? Likely. But what does that really mean?
Do you have any launches or other important things going on during that time?
What things need to happen in order for you to feel good about being gone?
Here are some aspects I recommend that you consider as you are creating this plan.
The first is content. What content needs to be published or pushed out while you are gone? Think about this in terms of long-form (email newsletters, blogs, podcast episodes, videos) and short form (social media posts, reels, etc.)
Another aspect to consider is your clients or customers. What clients may have expectations of your time or availability during that window you’ll be out? How will you address these? Do you need to work ahead on projects or move deadlines or meetings in order to accommodate this time that you are gone?
Then there is your team. What may your team need to do or take over to keep things running smoothly? What are the expectations on them for time away? Do you want them to reach you in case something unexpected comes up? How can they reach you? What are the criteria of an emergency vs something that can wait until you return? How should they communicate with others in your absence about your absence? What things do they need to do earlier in order to help prepare for your time away— either to help with some of these other aspects or so they aren’t held up because they need your expertise or advice on a project but you aren’t available?
Another important aspect to consider is finances. Are there invoices or payments or expenses or anything that requires advanced attention to ensure you aren’t worried about trying to pay a business credit card payment while using airplane wi-fi.
Finally, you want to consider your revenue plans and goals and how this time away may affect it. Do you need to adjust your plans for the month or quarter to ensure you still meet your goals while accommodating the time off? Do you need to move launch dates back or up? Do you need to add in a flash sale to ensure you are still on track?
Once you create your plan, then it’s time to implement it. And much of the implementation revolves around communication and preparations.
First, you are going to want to tell your team. Bring them in on the plan. Communicate the dates you’ll be gone and what it means. Explain your expectations and be ready and willing to answer questions, especially if this is the first time you’ve taken time off, or the first time in awhile. Set boundaries for how much to share with outside parties who inquire — like clients, colleagues, potential clients, etc. You may not want everyone to know that you are running away to a wellness retreat in Arizona for a week and to be honest, it’s really none of their business if you don’t want to share that.
Get your team fully onboard.
Then, you’ll want to communicate with your clients. You don’t need to send out an email to your whole list that you’ll be taking time away or if you have students in courses or programs where they don’t have access to you or access won’t be limited or disturbed by your absence. The clients I am thinking of are the one who may be affected by your absence, those that with whom you have an active project or ongoing engagement or retainer. Let them know the dates you’ll be out, and depending on your comfort level with details, what they need to know. And how they can get their questions answered if they have them while you are gone, or how to receive support in your absence.
I will usually tell my clients something like “I’ll be out of town from this date to that date. I’m taking a personal or business trip to location.” If it’s a business-related trip, I often won’t take client meetings during that time but will still reply to Voxer messages and emails, while personal vacations are a strict no-response zone. So I will communicate that with them as well.
Once you communicate well with those affected, you’ll want to begin preparations.
You can start creating, modifying, and implementing your plan to work ahead and ensure things that need to be done early are done, like scheduling social media, finishing projects, or moving meetings. If you have a team, this certainly can be a group effort.
When you are getting ready to go, be sure to set autoresponders on your email so you are communicating that your response time may be delayed and when you’ll get back to them. Don’t feel like you need to over-explain yourself in this auto-responder. Give them what they need, not all the information.
While on vacation, stick to your boundaries. Don’t check messages if you said you wouldn’t. Leave the laptop at home. If clients or team members reach out against your expressed boundaries, reply in a polite but firm way. You will respond in accordance with the expectations that you set initially. Or don’t reply at all and wait until you said you’d respond to such inquiries.
Finally, once you return from vacation, give yourself a bit of a cushion of 1-2 days to jump back in and catch up. Don’t expect to hop back in without a bit of extra time. That is a recipe for overwhelm and stress which will just undue all that rest and relaxation you just returned from.
It’s okay and actually good for your business for you to step back from time to time and take a vacation. You don’t have to lose momentum or completely ditch all your responsibilities to do it. It just takes some intentional planning and implementation ahead of time to ensure everything goes smoothly.
I always like to end each episode with an action step that you can take right now to help you move forward and begin to implement immediately. Here is your action step for this episode: Look ahead to your next vacation and start to make a plan for how you’ll take time off without stressing out or losing momentum. Answer the questions I laid out in the planning part of this episode.