Six Tips for Taking a Real Vacation When You’re an Entrepreneur
I grew up in the family business…My father was a veterinarian and my mother ran the practice. She always told me, “Once you own a business you can give up the idea of taking regular vacations or time off.”
For much of my life I believed her. So for my first nine years as an entrepreneur I didn’t even attempt to schedule much more than a trip home at the holidays. And I typically brought work with me.
That all changed after I taught my hubby to ski. Thanks to an idea I planted in his brain, he got hooked on us doing a heli-ski trip into a remote cabin for a week. At first I could not see any way to take off 9 days with no access to the Internet or cell service. I just couldn’t afford the loss of income.
Then finally we just did it. And it was fantastically refreshing and rewarding. I came back more excited about my business than ever. And the best part was…I was busier when I returned than I had been when I left. I even managed to make money thanks to some product sales!
Since then we’ve taken at least one big ski trip every year, plus a couple week-long vacations in the summer. In fact, I just got back from a 17-day, completely unplugged, trip to Europe (That’s me in a park in Barcelona in the photo). And once again I was busier when I returned.
Truthfully, most people admire business owners who make time for a personal life and take vacations. Your clients and customers likely will too. Goodness know your friend and family will appreciate it!
Since I know how daunting the thought of taking a real vacation can be, today I wanted to share a few tips that have helped me make these trips a reality…
1) Outsource your email: One of the best uses of a Virtual Assistant is to have them check your emails when you’re out of town. Or, simply add them as a contact in your vacation email in case someone has something urgent or important that needs attending to.
2) Automate communications: Blog posts still need to go up, ezines need to go out and some social networking updates should occur while you’re gone. That way you don’t lose any traction or momentum.
How to do it? Use a combination of an email autoresponder service to preset ezines, leenk.me to automatically push blog posts to your social networks, and hootsuite.com to preset other social networking updates. Sure, you have to get a jump on things to do this in advance. But it’s worth it.
3) Automate scheduling: I LOVE my online scheduling service, Tungle.me, for letting prospects schedule phone and in-person meetings online. It helps ensure you’re busy when you get back from vacation. And it saves time when you’re in town too.
4) Promote something: Have a sale, or promote a new program, service or product, while you’re out of town. Start the promotions before you leave to be sure everything is working properly. Then let it keep running while you’re gone and you can earn money when you’re not working. Or have loads of hot prospects eagerly awaiting your return.
5) Add in extra days: Always set your work schedule so that you’re not available for at least one day before you leave and after you get back. Then use this time to finish up last minute tasks before you go, and to settle in and take care of emails when you return.
Doing this greatly reduces the stress of taking time off. And it lets you ease back into real life so you don’t lose your wonderful vacation buzz right away.
6) Just do it: As an entrepreneur, you can always come up with a million reasons why you can’t take time off—that to-do list isn’t getting any shorter, after all. So you just have to commit to a vacation and schedule it in. Everything will still be there when you get back. But I promise you’re going to be in a much better position to deal with it.
Once you start taking vacations on a regular basis, you’ll realize it’s totally doable. Not only that, it’s the best thing you can do for your business, your clients or customers, your family, your physical and mental health and your life.
Reprinted with permission: ©2011 Stacy Karacostas. All Rights Reserved. www.theunchainedentrepreneur.
Practical Marketing Expert and Business Lifestyle Architect Stacy Karacostas is on a mission to help other savvy entrepreneurs unchain themselves from their business. Discover how to market and grow your business with less effort, help more people, make more money, AND still have a life by grabbing your own copy of her *F*R*E*E* “Success without Shackles Starter Kit” at http://www.