The holiday season is coming up, and for most people, that also means taking time off. But for many entrepreneurs….that doesn’t mean anything different. Rest is important, though, and we all need to take time off in order to continue serving our people well. Here are some tips on planning for vacation as a small business owner!
1. Set boundaries.
Are you taking the entire time off? Will you check emails once or twice? Will you be working on any client work at all? Whatever you decide is fine (but don’t forget to take time completely off every now and then!), but set those boundaries so that you aren’t working the entire time.
2. Schedule, schedule, schedule
Set aside a little time each day or week leading up to your vacation to schedule extra content. Write a few blog posts, a few emails, and schedule a few Instagram posts…whatever you *usually* do, work ahead! Don’t feel the need to have a blog post go up during your vacation if you don’t usually post anyway. Don’t even feel the need to schedule Instagram posts if you don’t want to or if you usually post in the moment! But for every piece of content you usually put out, work a little ahead so that you can actually take a break on your vacation.
HINT: Don’t be afraid to break the rules, either. Your business will still be standing even if you didn’t get those blog posts out or those emails scheduled.
Outsource as much as possible in your business…including your vacation planning, if that’s something that takes too much time for you! There are plenty of great travel agents who would love to plan a beautiful vacation for you, giving you more time leading up to your vacation to actually work and schedule. Then, you won’t arrive at your destination exhausted from all the planning you just did, and you can fully enjoy your time off.
Also consider outsourcing other tasks in your business—like your social media or blog post scheduling, community management, or even your inbox! Read this post on how to know when you need a virtual assistant, and how to prepare for one!
Don’t forget to set your email auto-responder! If you’re going to be out for a longer period of time, I also recommend putting something on your contact form. Also, put your out-of-office dates in your email signature as early as possible, so that people know not to expect communication from you during that time! This post covers 3 things you should have in your auto-responder.
Give your team and your clients a heads up in plenty of time for them to prepare for you being out! Communicate the boundaries you set, and let them know when they can expect to hear from you next. If you are a service-based business, here are a few ideas for communicating:
Give them a deadline to get content to you.
If you schedule content for your clients, ask them to get all content for the time you’ll be out to you by ____. Make sure it’s enough time for you to actually schedule it, and let them know that you can’t guarantee that any content sent after that date will be scheduled before you leave.
Work ahead on their content.
Just like you’re working ahead on your own content, spend some extra time working ahead on your client’s content, as well!
Set up scheduled emails.
Sometimes, you might have tasks that involve reminding your clients of certain things (like following up with someone or checking in on a certain task). Did you know that you can schedule emails in Gmail? Go ahead and write the reminders, and instead of hitting send, click the arrow beside the send button to “schedule send.” It’s a game changer! (Hint: you can also use this to remind yourself of tasks or things to check in on…even when you aren’t preparing for vacation!)
6. Enjoy your time off!
Remember that taking time off is important. Work will still be there, clients will still be there. Nothing is too big of an emergency. Read more about Megan Martin’s thoughts on this here and here. You have full permission to REST and take a break. Prepare well, and everything will be ok.