Solopreneurs Taking Vacation & Keeping Control
Isn’t being your own boss glorious!?
You get to set your own schedule, you have nobody you have to report back to, and what you say pretty much goes!
So, with setting your own schedule, it seems that taking a vacation should be pretty simple, right??
Plan your trip and make it official.
To begin with, it seems to be a common quality found in many solopreneurs; they have a hard time relaxing and finding the right time to “stop work” for vacation time. “No work” often equates to no income, and that can be a hard thing to justify when you are out “playing.”
In 2014, a survey by OnDeck discovered that only 57% of small business owners were planning on taking a vacation that year; what’s even worse… just over a quarter of those (26%) were only going to take a few days! 😳
Small business owners agree. Your business is your baby, and getting away is hard!
Consider your time away from work, though, as an investment. It’s an investment in both your personal and business life. Studies have found that employees who take regular vacations tend to be happier and more productive at work in the long run.
“It’s typical for families to celebrate the month of August by shutting down the computer and skipping town. From a raw numbers perspective, this counts as lost work. But that’s a short-sighted view, psychologists now say. In fact, by serving as the least productive month for millions of workers, August unexpectedly serves as a productivity-booster.
Just as small breaks improve concentration, long breaks replenish job performance. Vacation deprivation increases mistakes and resentment at co-workers… ” (Thompson, 2012).
The proof is there. You need a vacation. 😉
Make it official by booking it, marking it on your calendars, and making plans with friends and family. Commit to your vacation!
Plan a budget.
As a small business owner, it’s important to stay on top of your finances, plan ahead, and know exactly what things are going to cost you ahead of time.
An excellent way for solopreneurs to plan ahead for a financially worry-free trip is to simply not take the trip until you are sure you have the necessary money set aside for it. To be sure you get your vacations, a really great budgeting idea is to put aside a certain percentage (at least 5%) of your weekly income until you reach the amount needed for the trip.
Think of all of the most important tasks you have as a business owner and product or service provider. What are your responsibilities as a solopreneur? What are your responsibilities to your clients?
Make lists. Check them twice. Put all the most important or any time-sensitive tasks at the top of your list. As most of us know, getting EVERYTHING done on our to-do lists is an impossible feat. That’s why we have to prioritize. Get it all down on paper, order it accordingly, and get as much of that list done as possible before you leave for vacation. Knowing things are taken care of will help set your mind at ease so that you can enjoy your time off more fully.
Also, what is left on the list are the projects and tasks that you begin on the second you get back to work. Pick up where you left off.
Tell your clients ahead of time.
Send out an email or handwritten letter maybe four weeks in advance to let your clients know of your upcoming trip. Follow up with reminders as the date approaches.
There might be something out of the ordinary you need to plan for. If you have clients with strict deadlines, or clients you need to have weekly meetings with, it’s important to touch base with them and make the proper arrangements ahead of time. Tie up any loose ends and know exactly what it is that you need to do for these clients before you leave for vacation, or during your vacation. For example, exchange Skype usernames and set up a meeting time in advance.
If you do have one or two employees, great! Now is the time as a proud business owner to release some of your grip on the reins, and let your employees shine. Trust them to do the jobs you hired them for. Assign specified tasks to each worker so they know exactly what they are responsible for while you are away.
Remember to change your “out of office” email message and voicemail to let your clients know you are out of town. Tell them when you will be returning and how they can reach you in the meantime. Include an email and/or phone number that you will have access to during your trip. An alternative is to hire an affordable live answering service, such as ReceptionHQ, where a professional will answer you calls and either take a message or forward the call directly to you.
Do some work remotely (if you have to).
…but only if it’s necessary! You are supposed to be vacationing away from work!
Disconnecting can be hard. If you for some reason absolutely have to do some work on your vacation, or if you feel the need to check in with work to ease your mind, make sure you have the proper tools and apps to make working on your mobile devices convenient. Keep tabs on your business by checking in a couple times via phone or email (Staying connected is pretty easy these days 😉 ).
Hopefully, you will have planned ahead for your vacation enough that these “interruptions” can be minimal.
Set a communication policy for yourself ahead of time, so you’re not always thinking about it. Will you check in once a day, once a week, or not at all?
The time will come for vacation to end.
And you need to quickly return to your focused, entrepreneurial, driven mentality.
Don’t let it get the best of you.
If possible, refrain from working on your first day back. Instead, use this day to get organized, both mentally and physically, and to fight off jet lag! Again, lists are always helpful in brainstorming and prioritizing; figure out what needs to be done during this first week back to work. Pour it all out onto paper and get it out of your head so you can continue to relax. Then, enjoy your final moments of “vacation.” Tomorrow is a new day… that you are already well-prepared for. Your first day back to work will be a breeze…
With the proper preparation and organization, vacations can be possible for any small business owner.
Solopreneurs, fear no more.
Vacations are necessary… even for the boss! You have to take care of yourself if you want to care for your business; if you get burnt out, your business will burn out.
Plan ahead, start packing, and go take a vacation instead! 🙂