The first few years I ran my business I remember being connected 24/7. Vacations meant that I was living in a new place for a week or two but I was still in the daily grind of working IN my business instead of actually relaxing and enjoying the new scenery around me. I was getting run down. I was exhausted. I was paying for vacations that I wasn’t actually taking. I could have stayed home and got the same desired effect. Does this sound like you?
Now what do my vacations look like? Not only are they plentiful and often but I am able to mostly disconnect, sometimes even 100%, and relax. Why do I say I can “sometimes” disconnect 100%? Because often I don’t choose to. I choose to have my business continue to run full force while I am on vacation and I have an amazing team that will keep things running smoothly. My team knows if there is an emergency or if they need an urgent response from me in order for them to be able to move forward and solve a problem that they can send me a quick email and I will get back to them when I am able to. The only reason I am comfortable not 100% disconnecting though and know that I will still have a relaxing vacation is because I trust my team and their capabilities. I know that they will take care of everything and only connect with me if absolutely needed. Each vacation I take I also continue to learn and set up more systems for success for my next vacation.
Here are some of my top tips for planning your next vacation as a business owner:
1. Make this decision first! Will your business still run completely while you are away, do you want to reduce services/hours, or will you shut down for that time period?
2. Who will be the CEO? If you choose to have your business still run while you are on vacation you need to decide if you will still be the CEO for that time period and all questions and important info must go through you or are you able to designate another team member to lead your business in your absence?
3. Emails & Communications- Set your out of office response if you will not be responding to any emails coming in to your account. Even if you have another team member responding you may want to set up an auto responder explaining your absence and introducing who the person will be who will respond to their email in a timely manner. I also suggest setting up a buffer day before/after your vacation when you set up your out of office email responder. This will give you time when you come back to get back into a routine and deal with any pressing manners without people expecting an immediate response once you are back.
4. Get out your calendar! Take a peek at what you have upcoming for when you return from vacation. What do you need to prepare NOW before you head on vacation so you aren’t caught off guard once you return. Have an upcoming workshop or training that you need to set up the email copy for and can just put into your drafts? Need to set up meetings? Thinking ahead will help you stay organized and not running to play catch-up upon your return.
5. Social Media- Now that you took a look at your calendar and know what is upcoming schedule some content so your social media accounts don’t go silent during your absence. Do you have a team member who can look after your social media accounts while you are gone? Can they ensure comments are responded to (because it is SOCIAL media), that any fires can quickly be put out and that things run smoothly? If you don’t want to designate this to a team member then set your Facebook messages to an auto responder explaining your absence and directing people to where they can find more information and when you will be responding to them. You can also create a social media post stating the dates your business will be closed, link to your website and when you will be returning.
6. Schedule Content- You know what you have upcoming so create your blog posts and get any other content created before your holidays and get it set to publish on specific dates while you are away. By batch creating your content you can save time and you can ensure that you have content that drips out even while you are away.
7. Connect With People- Connect with your team and ensure they know about your upcoming vacation/absence. Ensure they have all the information they need to do their job 150% and they understand any boundaries you may have (ie: who is to contact you and when if there are any issues). Give them lots of notice regarding your upcoming absence and be very clear with your expectations. Do you need to inform your clients? Inform any clients who you work with regularly in your business. You may want to send an email out to all of your clients letting them know of your upcoming absence and what they can expect during that time. This may not be applicable to your business though.
8. Plan For Emergencies- Always be prepared! What if something goes wrong? Website goes down? Email servers stop working? Large client issue? By planning ahead with your “what if” scenarios you will be more prepared should something come up during your absence. You may decide that those things can wait, you may designate a team member to deal with them, or you may decide that if certain things come up that you will take action on them immediately.
9. Let Go! Here’s the thing. No matter how much you plan, how many team members you have on deck or what your business offers there is a chance that something may come up. It’s also hard to be disconnected from something you put so much time and effort in to. The first few times you truly let go and allow yourself to relax on vacation can be quite challenging. Understandably! It is sort of like being a first time parent and leaving your baby with somebody else for the first time. You may be nervous, scared and have a whole bag of feelings about your absence from your business. IT IS NORMAL! Know that you are not alone in having these feelings and it can and will get easier. YOU DESERVE the break! You deserve to relax and rejuvenate. So go do it!
10. Plan Your Vacations! You NEED vacations from your business to feel refreshed. I know how hard it is as a business owner to carve out time to relax and take time off from your business when you are growing and really trying to build your dream business. I have found that the best times for me to plan my next vacations are when I come back from my current vacation. I am relaxed, I know that everything ran smoothly while I was away and I am motivated to take more holidays. So get your calendar back out, schedule in those holidays and FEEL GOOD!