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?
Two thoughts: first, if you got sick, how would you handle the break? Handle a vacation the same way. Second, if you really want to learn how, look at TheAvatarCourse.com and then contact me for a free Information Hour (45 min) about it, by phone or Skype
Pieter Kark, MD
Congrats for recognizing that you have the power to build a business that supports you and your needs. This is your opportunity to free up your time on a daily basis, not just vacation, my friend.
Every solo entrepreneur needs an outsourcing plan, i.e. A summary of what work gets done on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis and then matching the right resource, tool or virtual assistant, to complete that task.
Now, I can create a plan for you, trouble is, can you follow it? The most challenging part is being able to LET GO and allow your team to manage while you are away.
Here are my best recommendations for getting started.
1. Track what you do now. A tool like Rescue time will let you set your current goals and see how well you actually meet them. You might think you spend 2 hours writing but RT will give you the hard facts.
2. Delegate low risk, time consuming tasks to remote help. Jeff, you didn't share your work but I'll bet there's a bit of 'grunt work' included. That's what you want to outsource first.
3. Create a network. No one is an island. Reach out to your trusted network and ask them to share/upcycle their content that's relevant to your audience. Want a 4 weeek vacation but blog 3 x a week? Either hire someone to pre-write your copy or reach out to your network to recycle their content.
Truly if you're asking this question, you are ready for remote help. Your new teammate doesn't have to be in the same town or even time zone to help you grow your biz.
Delegating and hiring are tough when you're new. The key is to be the leader. You don't have to know the answers but you do have to know what you want, why and when.
It depends on how you manage your time and how much you value your vacation. In my case, I can combine business with pleasure. I schedule my vacation around my training seminars. This may be much more difficult if you own a retail store, for example.
However, if you make your vacation a high priority, then you can always make some kind of arrangements. For example, I also own and manage my residential rental properties. So when I go on vacation, I have trusted people standing by for me. Do you have people you can trust to assist you while you are on your holidays? If you don't, you need to cultivate their relationships.
from the tone of your words I sense you definitely need a break. No doubt about it.
The answer is difficult because I do not know whether you have a team - in this case train somebody to handle the routine tasks, thus leaving only a few critical issues to be tackled remotely - or not. Should this be the case if your business has a minimum of seasonality try to capitalize on it, alerting your customers well in advance that you will be away for some reasons with limited availability: in principle it should work, as it happens in the vast majority of jobs.
Finally my reco is: do your homework, plan and go! when you'll be back your cutomers will still be there....
Have a nice journey,
Great question. The way I've done it was to make sure that I set a time period aside for vacation. You have to treat it like doing work for a client. Make sure that everyone knows you'll be on vacation but in case of an extreme emergency have you're cell phone or other contact info available to them. If you don't want to be bothered what I did was tell everyone to send an email and I reviewed them every day. This provides the client with a security blanket and let's them know you care about them.
Never lost a client because I went on vacation.
Yes, vacation can be a challenge! Essentially here are some of the things I have done before I had a team that might be options for you...
If you can still be accessible but want to limit interactions, let your customers know you will be away and what the best way to reach you in an emergency might be. E.g. I will be checking emails once a day from 9-10am. Alternatively I have a call answer service set up, so if people call, they get a person who then sends me an email and I can decide whether to call back.
If you want to be off the grid then realistically you need to do as much prep as possible before hand with your clients so they know you will be gone, and you may wish to have someone as a 'touchpoint' in your absence. In the past I have asked an associate to act as an 'on call' person who can take messages from the answer service. They may not be able to answer all the questions, but often people just want to know that their need has been registered and can answer basic questions or at least relay when I will be back and able to take care of anything. In the early days too I found it easier to take a number of shorter breaks more frequently than a long vacation, but that doesn't have the same 'shut off factor' ... that's definitely a personal call.
Good luck and I hope you get a chance to recharge, vacation is definitely important!
Hi Jeff, you haven't mentioned what kind of business you run, hence it is a bit difficult to answer your question specifically. However, from a general point of view, assess if you can stop your operations for a while without impacting clientele. You may also want to assess how long you can afford to stay under the shade. Then again, if your business can afford a backup, ensure that your backup is well trained and quite capable of looking after your interests in your absence. In all cases (considering the fact that you are a one-person business), be prepared to start from the beginning again - building relations and rekindling earlier ones. But, but.... the best advice I could give you is to treat your business as a paid vacation in itself. It will not only help you stay refreshed everyday, but will also infuse new ideas and new vigor in your business on a daily basis - your clients will have only good words for you.
There are some people who are energized by working and running their own business, who honestly probably don't have to take time off -- other than for other family reasons.
It sounds like you are not that way, which means there are only 3 logical ways to make it happen. 1. Build a business that can somehow run without you (e.g. subscription businesses, etc.), 2. Hire someone who you are comfortable to run it when you are not there, 3. Just close down for that time. These or some variations or combination of these are really the only ways. If none of that works, it could be you were not cut out to own your own business.
Another point... it is my experience that if you need and want to truly re-energize, it requires at least 2 weeks with virtually no work taking place. Ideally it it 3+ weeks. Just going somewhere else but trying to keep the business running, but from a different location, can just add more stress.
In the end you just need to decide and commit.
Do the planning, prepare everyone involved, put contingencies in place, and then just go.
You're over thinking it. What else do you need?