How do I take a vacation when I am essentially a one-person operation?
I think a vacation would really help re-energize me, but I can never seem to completely check out. For quite some time, I have always had jobs where I have flexibility, but need to be tuned in all the time. It definitely gets draining. Now that I have my own business, it is even harder to get a break. How have others handled this challenge?
Whatever you do on your own or you can work for someone, your work pressure is for you. You need to relax refresh your mind, you need to get a vacation.
You need to think and plan for it. Important is time dates financial ability.
Even every day you can have a relax. That's you have to decide your closing time if you have that everyone knows you are not available. Just find a good time within this and just relax, with your family, friends, alone or the way you want.
One person's operation is not an easy task. Even it is not possible for all to handle a business organization without a partner. Yes, you are absolutely right vacation helps in re-energizing.
India is one of the best destinations to visit for a vacation. And if you don't have enough time to travel to India in public transport. You can hire self-drive as well as a chauffeur-driven car from Avis.
A break from work fades our mind stress and recharge one's mind to do work with more ability. The best way to handle this situation is to go for a vacation and sit on work for 30 minutes to 1 hour in the evening or night to check the necessary calls and emails.
Running a one-person business has its benefits like choosing your own hours, but it makes the idea of taking a vacation seem impossible.
The Business.com team recently published an article that offers tips to solopreneurs wanting to plan a vacation. You can read it here: Vacationing from Your One-Person Business: 4 Tips to Unwind Without Worry.
It is important to take some R&R for yourself but unfortunately, as a one-person business, you won't be able to unplug entirely. Set up an automated away from the office message to emails that come in during your vacation days. This will help reduce follow up emails and voicemails from clients that don't hear back from you right away.
Then, set aside a small amount of time each day to check in with your clients or respond to urgent emails (30 minutes per each vacation day). Most clients will respect that you are taking time away and you will reply in more detail when you return to work.
Sounds like you have a problem similar to many CEOs, the business is running you and not you running your business. Usually a time management analysis can help you to fix the problem. Can you tell us more about your time schedule?
Not knowing your product it will be difficult to exactly give you the idea but generally a company even in case of an individual running the business needs complete empathy from its customers and suppliers.
This will not worsen your relationship in fact it will improve your bond and give a long term understanding.
First of all, there is no harm in having one or two days break and getting completely out of reach and get yourself into a re-energizing mode. Set your email response according to your availability after one or two days .You have to do it forcefully and letting everyone know that you are on a break.This will give you an idea of the actual impact of your non availability on the business. At the same time create a space between you and other stakeholders which is very healthy for the business and your relationships.
Secondly, longer breaks are also possible by informing people that you will be only accessible through emails and you will only read emails during a specific time of the day. So they will send the mails keeping in mind your access to emails. Again this is extremely healthy for your business . This will help you prioritize your other tasks,self development, future strategy making, reflection of the previous achievements and failures,identifying what additional resources in such circumstances you need in terms of manpower etc.
Last but not the least , in all these situations your communication and relationship skills come into play for your own benefit and also for the benefit of your customer because they would also require you to be at your best when you are available.
The businesses should always coordinate to work on one healthy constraint and that is a human resource is after all a human being who should be given the required personal space for his or her well being and for the well being of the relationships as a whole.
Best of luck,
That is tough answer, because I been in that same position for many year forgot what Vacation means, and I really need it for that same reason to re energize my being. But one approach just pick a spot that has a event taken place one related to your business service/product, of course a place you wanted to always visit I can promise you every country has a event, I have to trick my mind into believing this is a business trip, but I bring all vacation geer. And what a experience has been Trust me it really works, Our mind becomes so ingrained in our business we build barriers queues that so easily keep us from taking sometime, and is self inflicted. Just do it take the time, because you needed. Global truth you will surely burn yourself out if you don't I know I been their, not a good state to be when making business decisions
Richard Branson operators all his businesses without an office. He used technology to handle most things. Since I do not know what kind of business you're in I cannot provide suggestions. What kind of business are you in?
I am a sole proprietor service business. For the first time in 3 years I took a two vacation this year. It was out of the USA with my spouse. I contacted all of my primary customers about two months ahead of time by email and then again a week before I went on vacation. The week before I went on vacation a number of clients wanted to work with me since I was going to be gone.
I also set my email to state I was unavailable via email or by phone until 1 full day after I returned. That gave me a day to catch up before customers started contacting me again.
It all worked out. Of course I lost two weeks of revenue, but customers actually applauded me for taking the two week vacation and I felt great too.
Everyone here has said exactly what I was going to say: tell your clients you'll be away, set limits, etc. When DH and I go away, he knows the exact point where I finally relax, and comments on it. (Our fave vacation destination is a 4-5 hour drive.) Clients with an active project (a brochure going on press) know how to get in touch with me; those are the ONLY people with my cell phone number, and I trust them not to call me unless something catches fire. LOL
Without time off you won't be able to run your business effectively. Take time off, let the nagging voice in your head stop talking, take some long walks. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Be open with your clients and give them plenty of advanced notice of your vacation planning. I think it can be done as your clients may have down time as well. Again, it all depends on what kind of business you have
I manage this issue by doing three simple things:
1. Plan my holidays and ensure I do not book myself during those days - and if possible at least couple of days before and after - This ensures I do not commit to deliverables which I know I can not deliver.
2. I set expectations. All my clients so far have understood that we are not a big company and when you work with small business, you have to work with people not robots. Setting expectations help them plan their side of things well and avoid getting into situations when they expect service to be delivered during my unavailability.
3. I keep phone switched on. Yes, you read it right. When a customer needs to contact me when I am on holiday, worst I can do is switch off and disappear. I take their calls and let them know that I am not available and can I do it after my return. So far 100% of my clients have accepted this.
Remember, for a small business, relationship is key and communication lines need to be maintained. If you still have clients who do not accept your absence then probably you have to choose your client wisely and avoid over-committing.
Hope this helps!
As you said a vacation would re-energize you , its a must for you - other wise you may loose your apitite for work - try your best to choose the suitable time for vacation at anytime , Once I felt fedup of everything because of not having vacation for longtime . try your best .
That's always tricky when you are the chief cook and bottle washer but with a little planning it's possible. I'd suggest setting aside the time you would like to go on vacation and schedule it like a job. That way the time is protected. Work out how much revenue you think you could make in that time period and try to ramp up additional revenue in the weeks or months leading up to it. That way, you would have already put in the work and would feel less uneasy about taking time off. Notifying any regular customers via email or mobile messages will also go a long way in making sure the clients are still there when you get back.
Hi, Jeff. Depending on the type of business you have, you could just let your clients know that you'll be away for a couple of weeks, and leave them a way to get in touch with you if there is an emergency. Make sure they also know that you may not be able to respond to them as quickly as you normally would during that time, so if you can't get back to them right away they won't feel like you're ignoring them. They'll know that you simply may not have access to be able to get back to them at that time.
If you can, see if there is anyone you can show the basics to, and have them fill in for you, and keep an eye on things, while you're away. You can have them deal with your clients while you're away, and if anything major comes up that person can contact you in order to handle the problem. Doing that would put an extra buffer in place, so you'd know that you are only being contacted if there is an extreme emergency.
I hope this helps. Everyone needs to take off and have a real vacation every now and then. I hope you get yours!
Great question. I suffer from this too. On the one hand I love the independence and the freedom to control my day, but the never ending tie-down to the phone, credit card processing, and other services wears me down. Thanksgiving actually provides more of a real break because the whole world goes away for four days. I came back refreshed and energized. Perhaps part time help is the answer until the business warrants full-time support.
That is a great question. In Stephen Covey's book "7 Habits of Highly Effective People", number 7 is sharpen the saw. You can't be at your best when you are running on fumes. Also, I think most business owners find themselves working in the business vs working on the business which becomes tiring and ultimately doesn't lead to the best results. It is vital to take time (in addition to some vacation time) to step away from your business and think strategically about your vision, mission, along with the most effective ways to grow your business. Otherwise you get sucked into the day to day and don't ever get to driving the bigger initiatives. Here is a post that I thought might be helpful: "Need A Vacation? Here’s How To Get One As A Small Business Owner" http://www.hatchbuck.com/blog/small-business-owner-vacation/
Jeff, Get yourself a virtual assistant (or two) and delegate more. the investment will quickly repay and allow you more time to do what you want to do...
We are away for 50 nights a year - and having cloud enabled systems mean that provided i can access the Internet i can keep an eye on my emails and forward on to my VA anything that needs urgent attention. I guess that in part it depends upon your service proposition but this approach works for me...
I have handled this challenge for many many years because I've owned my small interior design business for over thirty. Fortunately one of the best results from having survived and thrived so long, is that I've learned how to keep a good track of hours off, and what is needed. Taking time off brings me new energy into each work day.
Maybe don't think at first about weeks off, or even three day weekends. Begin with an afternoon and set up a day looking at art, or going to a museum or to the beach to collect driftwood. Whatever the time you give yourself, you will tell your brain : "This isn't so difficult.", and you'll arrange the next afternoon or whole day off, immediately. After awhile, you will see what it takes, and that is usually good planning. You will not lose money, because you will have worked a few evenings before, to manage what you would have done. Bit by bit. Baby steps and pretty soon, you will be an excellent manager able to take more and more time for yourself. Good lessons usually take time. Most of all, you are stretching your unconscious to except this good strategy as being your new normal. Carolyn
I think you've probably had enough advice already but I agree with Mike. You need to plan ahead and block time in your 2016/17 calendar so you can let people know you will be away. Put your out of office on and GO. As others have said it is hard to give 100% accurate advice without knowing more about your business but for me you wont loose current clients if you plan and communicate and I am sure it would be statistically insignificant if you missed out on a new opportunity (i.e. highly unlikely to happen) . Couple of things worry me - one is that you have externalised your need for a break so you need one NOW and secondly if you don't take care of yourself in the short to medium term then forced time off for extended illness will get you into greater trouble.
Once you have dates and plans for time off it will help your mental attitude a little as you have something to look forward to and to work towards. To get you through to that time off I suggest you download the headspace app (one with full orange circle as logo) and go through their 10 minute sessions (even you can find 10 minutes). It will help your wellbeing, sleep etc. enormously and hopefully help you through this tough period.
From a business continuity point of view you always should have a back up plan to keep the business running, because you can get sick, have emergencies and even need to take vacation.
One way to solve this is to at the first time split your vacation in shorter periods and then align with holidays and then get one day or two more and keep the business down for 2 days and then during the year you would take several small vacation periods.
The best solution should be have a temporary work to help you during the vacations and you plan vacations to the period with lower business movement.
Regards & Success