Taking time away from “the office” is so essential, especially around the holidays. Maybe you’re traveling to another state (or an exotic island) to visit family (or get the heck away). You want (NEED) to spend time with your loved ones and toting along your laptop is not going to cut it.
As a business owner, it’s so hard to take time away. You’re afraid that something’s going to fall between the cracks—your payroll, a client deadline, prospect calls. But for the sake of your health and sanity, time away needs to be a part of your overall business model. Because you can’t do #allthethings all the time.
So what’s a business owner to do? Plan ahead! (Yes, yes. I am the pot calling the kettle black. But hear me out.)
First of all, your business isn’t going to fall to pieces because you spent the holidays enjoying yourself. But there are some things you need to do in order to prepare yourself and your clients for your absence.
Plan ahead financially.
When you own your own business, it’s your income paying the bills. And when you take time off, you’re not working. Which means you’re not making money. Above and beyond even the cost of your trip, you need to have money set aside for the loss of income while you’re away. This is one of the most-often forgotten pieces of vacation budgeting that small business owners forget about!
Let your clients know.
Obviously, right? If you’re a service-based business, you’ll want to let your clients know that you’ll be away. But don’t just tell them as an aside to a conversation you have with them. Add the dates you’ll be away to your email signature—as soon as you know you’ll be away. Include it in your email newsletter. And, if you have time-sensitive work that your clients depend on, help them to plan ahead. Schedule your client calls a few days earlier than normal, so you don’t have to have them while you’re away. They’ll appreciate and respect your time that much more.
Set up your auto-responder.
Even with all that communication, letting your clients know you’ll be away, they’re bound to forget. Or even not pay attention in the first place. (Let’s get real. You know you’ve done it too!) Save them from wondering why you’re not responding to their email right away by setting up an auto-responder. When they email you, they’ll immediately receive an email that states you’re away and when they can expect to hear back from you.
Of course, you can do all of this and still end up working during the holidays. It’s so hard for entrepreneurs to disconnect from their babies (their businesses). But it’s SO important for your own well-being, as well as your relationships with your loved ones. You owe it to yourself to give it a try!