“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.”
― Alan Cohen
Something that I’ve had to work at over the years is how to keep my business ticking over whenever I do take a break from work. In the early days of my business, I either didn’t take a full break, making sure I always had my laptop with me, so that I could grab time to work whenever the opportunity arose or I did take a full break and consequently dropped the ball on my business as a result.
Neither of these are options is advisable, especially the first. Having quality time away from your business that is fully focused on yourself and your loved ones is essential for your sanity, your relationships, your health and it also benefits your business too. When we’ve taken a proper break from work, we come back with our energy and creativity levels refreshed and restored. I honestly can’t recommend it enough. Simply dropping the ball on your business obviously isn’t ideal either so what’s the solution?
I have a few simple tips to cover your vacations as a solopreneur:
1. Plan your holidays with your business in mind. For example, avoid those times when you know that business is generally busier for you. For example, for me, this tends to be in the New Year or around September/October time. Instead, choose your breaks at times when you either have less going on or that you predict will be less busy given your past experience. We often forget to do this for our own businesses even though if we worked for someone else we most certainly wouldn’t be able to book holiday during a particularly busy time. It would be expected that you would choose to take leave at a time that has as little impact on the team as possible or find ways to cover your role in your absence. Why should it be any different for your business?
2. Once your holiday is planned, be sure to let all your existing clients know and, if appropriate, your audience in general. Letting people know that you’ll be away and potentially less responsive or (ideally for you) completely unresponsive during that time helps to manage people’s expectations. You’ll also want to set up an autoresponder through your email provider so that when people do get in touch, they get a message that lets them know that you are away and not actively managing your inbox at this time. Be sure to let them know when you’ll be back and when they can expect to get a response from you. Failure to communicate when we’re away and simply not responding to communication not only makes us look highly unprofessional but it can leave our people feeling ignored or neglected. Not what we want as the caring, conscious, business owners we strive to be.
3. Think about a few key ways you usually show up for your audience and plan ahead to make sure that you can still be there for your people even while on holiday. For me, one key way is this letter to you. If I didn’t pre-write and schedule newsletters, you wouldn’t hear from me, and because I know the importance of consistency, that’s just not good enough for me. Spending a few hours crafting and scheduling a couple of newsletters to go out in my absence is a simple but effective way of keeping my business running smoothly without me. You can also do this with social media posts, blog posts, and all manner of content. If you feel too busy to create extra content for the time you are away, simply repurpose something you’ve already written, or re-share content that you haven’t shared in a while.
Covering your holidays when you’re a solopreneur doesn’t have to require a ton of extra effort or energy. Really all that it requires is some forethought and planning.
With this in mind, my challenge for you today is to open up your calendar and consider when you’ll next be away from your business for a considerable amount of time (I’d say anything from 3–4 days+ requires a bit of planning) and make a few notes of what you’ll put in place to keep your business ticking over in your absence. Be sure to schedule in the time you’ll need to put things in place ahead of your holiday so that it goes from being an intention to an action you actually take.
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful, I’d be happy to answer any questions you have about how else I manage my business while I’m away.
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