How to have a stress free holiday as an entrepreneur

by on October 29, 2013

140Flashback to the days before becoming a small business owner.  Sitting in your cubicle working overtime with that allotted 2 week vacation time. Dreaming of the day you could become your own boss and take vacation time as needed.

And here you are small business owner, you took the plunge, followed your heart …and are you surprised at how hard it is to actually take that vacation?

By being your own boss, you have to allow yourself that holiday time. Your business is never going to say “hey, here’s the perfect time to do absolutely nothing for for your biz for the next couple. Off you go!”  That much deserved adventure or relaxation time is very important to your well-being!

It’s not as hard as it may seem. You just need to do a little organization and planning in advance.

Get set up before you go

  • Get automated: schedule any social media by an auto-scheduling program (I’m a big fan of Hootsuite).  Line all this up so you don’t just fall off the radar for a few weeks and as a result seem inconsistent in your online efforts.  For your email, set up an auto-reply letting people know you’re on vacation until a specific date and will reply to them shortly after this time. (Power tip: set your date a few days later than your actual return so you have a couple days to catch up.)
  • Blog/newsletter ready: prepare your blog content and your newsletter in advance so that you don’t have to worry about this while you’re away. Most programs will allow you to schedule things in advance.
  • Prep your team: if you work with others,  prep them on anything you may need help with while you’re away. Empower them to take charge. Make sure it’s very clear what you’re comfortable with them handling and what needs to be run by you.
  • Let your clients know: you’ll probably be surprised by the positive response.  Everyone loves a vacation and everyone needs one.  Give any ongoing customers or clients a head’s up and let them know when you’ll be gone.  You may come across in a rare circumstance a client not pleased by your departure.  This is your chance to practice your entrepreneurial strength and refuse to be a victim.  Stand strong and what’s the worst that could happen? You lose that client?  Perhaps one that you may not have wanted to work with anyways.
  • Leverage your email signature: For the few weeks leading up to your vacation, include your holidays dates in your email signature. Reinforce that you’ll be away for those that might forget.
  • A little monitoring goes a long way: if it would ease any worries then do a little checking in while you’re away.  This article shares a stat that 60% of people would prefer to check in on vacation rather than come back to a giant heap of messages.  BUT 90% would be angry if their boss told them to work a bit on vacation. Interesting. I say do whatever is best for you. If it’s better and less stressful for you to check in, do so.
  • Set your boundaries: Decide what you will and will not do while away, make that clear to your clients and stick by it. For my last vacation, I said that I would be checking in, just not as often as usual and that response times would be delayed and coming from different time zones (and I made this very clear in my emails to clients, in the email signature and in the email auto-responder message). I also shifted most of my projects for after I was back and let clients know that I would not be working while away.
  • LET GO! It’s hard to admit for some of us but small biz owners can end up with a little bit of a control freak issue over their business – I know I definitely struggle with this! Practice just letting go.  Seriously, is your entire business going to fall apart if you give yourself some time off? No, it won’t.  Let it go, let it go, let it go.

Take that business mobile

If you can’t completely abandon your biz , or perhaps you don’t have anyone that could look over the little important things while you’re gone, then take your business mobile! This is a business model you could get into if you would prefer to be spending more time on the road, and working while you do it.

Time management is key.  The beach or the sights might be calling but you will have to have a schedule in place to avoid total distraction.  Set work time and make it work time.  Then go enjoy yourself!

Be flexible because we all know how travel goes.  The bus may be late or the airport’s wifi may be down, so you may need to be ready to re-adjust your sched as need be.

En route to my recent big trip, I read “The Suitcase Entrepreneur” which I’ve reviewed here as great read for any biz owner hitting the road.

Do you have some other tips for successfully having a stress free vacation as an entrepreneur? Share in the comments!

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