I’ve recently been back to the UK on holiday visiting friends, family and attending a weekend wedding in the beautiful Chew Valley. Whilst I’d taken care of the majority of work for that week in advance, and put backups in place for any work that needed covering during that time, I did still check in every now and again to ensure everything was running smoothly.
It got me thinking that as a small business owner, taking time off can actually be more stressful than the relaxing time it should be.
So how do you (small business owners and entrepreneurs) manage your business whilst still taking that much needed time out for a holiday, or simply to attend weddings and family gatherings?
I must admit, I’m extremely lucky to have the clients I do. I communicate upfront with them advising on the period I’ll be away. I give details of the support I’ve put in place to cover that time. Where possible I complete some work in advance, which will mean a few late evenings prior to heading off, but at least I know they have everything they need whilst I’m away. For those clients where the work I undertake is a daily activity, I’m lucky enough to have one or two trusted associates in place whom I rely on to complete that work for me. Therefore my clients feel they are 100% supported whether I’m at work or not.
But what about you? Do you have support in place to allow you to take time off? Or do you make the fatal mistake of either not taking holidays at all, or trying to work whilst away?
Here are my top tips for making sure you enjoy your holiday this year:
1. Plan. Taking a last minute holiday is going to be seriously stressful, so make sure you plan your holiday well in advance. This will help you get on top of all loose ends, let your clients / customers know you’ll be away, and have a good idea of what work you’ll need to delegate out.
2. Delegate. Have a strong support system in place in advance of heading off on holiday. This is the perfect opportunity to hire a Virtual Assistant and start reaping the benefits of having trusted reliable support. A VA can keep on top of so much of your day-to-day work, such as emails, social media, general administration, project management, bookkeeping, customer support, and much more. In fact you’ll wonder why you haven’t hired one sooner!
3. Be contactable. Give a phone number to your VA and ask that they contact you on that for any urgent issues (and not via your email!). Turn off all emails from your mobile device and know that if something arises whilst you’re away, you will be phoned so there’s no need to check anything else. If giving up control as much as that is too daunting, ask your VA to contact you once a week, or every couple of days at an agreed time to give you a business update. You can then relax knowing your business is being handled professionally, and that you’ll still receive news at specified times.
4. Be open. If you have clients / customers that you liaise with regularly, let them know that you’re heading off for a week or two but that your VA is available and will be covering any ongoing projects. Give direct contact details to your customers for your VA, or even better let your VA have access to your email account so that when you return you don’t have hundreds of emails to trawl through – your VA will already have dealt with and filed emails appropriately.
5. Relax! Now that you’ve planned, scheduled, delegated and switched off, simply relax and enjoy that much needed break. You deserve it!
If you have no support system in place to enable you to head off on holiday this year, get in touch to discuss your specific requirements – both you and your business will be grateful you did.