5 Ways to Prepare for Time Off as a Business Owner
Every year we go away for Thanksgiving. And every year a little panic sets in as we get close and I realize that so many things need to be put on hold because of me. Now that we have a team though, everyone does their part to make sure we are all prepared with what we need in advance to continue to work as normal. But there are a few things that help in big ways that you may not have thought of. So since we are in full holiday mode and I’m sure many of you are trying to take time off, here are my tips to make leaving (and your return) much smoother.
Put things on Pre-Order
It used to be a nightmare if we sold customizable items while I was gone, for everyone. If you were in the office, you’d be emailing every new customer telling them their order would be shipping later than normal. And for me, I would come back and have to rush all of the work I “should’ve” been doing over the past week or two. This year, we decided to put things on sale for pre-order. We set a ship date for after I return and that gives me time to actually give those orders my attention rather than rushing through them.
Take advantage or your travel time
There were a lot of things I had to do before I left on my trip, but sitting on my computer was not one of them. I knew I would have a 5 hour flight to do that. I saved all of my photo editing, blog post drafting, social media creation, and email writing for that time (Like this one! Writing it on the plane now). This DOES mean that you will have a little to do once you land and can connect to wi-fi. So it may not work for everyone. But if you are strapped for time this is a much better way to spend your time in a plane and doesn’t leave you zombie-esque on the first day of your vacay because you stayed up the entire night before.
Utilize your team. And if you don’t have a team, hire a virtual assistant for a few weeks
Either way, have someone on the ground who continues to field emails, answer urgent items (and text you if something needs your attention), and to continue pushing content out. You have to be great (and confident) in delegating, but this will ensure you won’t be coming back to several emergencies in your inbox. For example, I used my flight to write several blog posts, but our editorial manager will be uploading images, inputing copy, proofing, scheduling, and pushing out anything else that needs to go live with these posts. You can still have a hand in your work, but let someone else aid in the execution.
Be realistic and set a time each day to check in
If you run a business, you know that you can’t just go off the grid. There’s probably going to be a few things that need your attention. I always pick a time that I know I can do my work thing if needed. This is usually in the morning while we have coffee. My husband and I both know that is the time, if you need it, to be on your laptop or phone. If you don’t need it, even better. It’s nice to set these expectations though, especially if you are traveling with others.
Block out your schedule months ahead of time
This is especially important in our industry. We can book wedding clients months in advance, so if I don’t have my trip on the shared calendar, there’s a chance that something important can fall on a date I’m gone. So we put all trips on there as far in advance as well can. That way clients expectations are set if they happen to fall around travel.
I hope this helps fellow small business owners during this busy season! We all deserve a break so don’t let details stop you from taking them. It just takes a little planning upfront. What tips do you guys have for a successful vacay from running your business?