When you’re the boss of your own business, it can feel impossible to take a vacation that truly feels like you’re getting away from it all. But if you don’t get a break, you’ll burn out, and that can ruin your year. There are some simple ways to prepare for a vacation in advance – yes, this does require advance planning – so that your time out of the office is spent recharging and refreshing.
A month before your trip, map out all the things that need to happen during the time you’ll be out of the office. Begin to move those items either into the weeks or days prior to your vacation. If any tasks can be scheduled for after your trip, it’s okay to push things out. It will mean that your workload is heavier before and after your trip, so you might want to consider hiring someone to help.
Virtual assistants are ideal for helping with vacation overflow, because they are available to work by the day, hour, or week. This is much more cost-effective than having to hire a full-time employee whose services you won’t need for most of the year, and it’s safer than getting help from a friend or neighbor who doesn’t really know business processes.
Let clients know when you’ll be away. Start with a simple email or slip it into phone conversations at least three weeks prior to your departure date. It need not be a dramatic announcement. You can send reminder emails a week before you leave, and some clients may require additional reminders. At least two reminders should be in writing. Also, let clients know whom they can contact while you’re away. If you work solo, it’s helpful to have a virtual assistant to handle clients’ questions and requests.
Set up automatic responses for your email, voicemail and other modes of communication. Schedule preset social media posts and any automatic responses on social media that are appropriate.
Help clients understand that you will not be in touch while you’re on vacation. Assure clients that the work you’re doing for them has been taken into consideration when you planned your vacation, and that you won’t be missing any deadlines. Let them know that you have rescheduled delivery dates to ensure that projects are completed before you leave or for mutually agreed upon dates after you return.
Be firm about not letting your work sneak into your vacation time. It can be too easy to cave into the temptation to open your email or listen to your voicemail. If you absolutely must check in, schedule a specific time and limit how much time you’ll spend working. Half an hour per day is probably more than enough.
For clients whose needs absolutely have to be met specifically during the week of your vacation, set up processes to make sure this can happen. In many cases, the solution will be to hire a virtual assistant.
A VA can handle phone calls and emails, social media and blog posts, and newsletter scheduling. She can take over for you if you’re in the middle of planning a conference and can help if you need someone to manage paperwork for applications or enrollments. She can even arrange transportation for you to and from the airport so you can finish up some last-minute work while someone else drives.
If you’re in need of a real get-a-way and want to make sure nothing falls through the cracks while you’re gone, contact me right away. We’ll get everything set up in advance so you can rest and relax.