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Need a holiday from your business? Think you can’t possibly take time off from your business? Think again.  We all need a holiday from our business at some point.  

Sometimes we won’t take the holiday with concerns of making a while you’re away on holiday.  We also don’t want the business to just stop becasue we aren’t there.  Or maybe it’s because we don’t want to come home to a mess.

We’ve been taking 6 weeks a year off for 10 years now. We’ve averaged one international trip and a couple of domestic trips each year. I’ll tell you how we manage to do it while running not one but 2 successful businesses and yes, we still make a profit while we’re gone.

At the time of recording we are knee deep in the world of Coronavirus and holidays feel like they are out of reach.  

But start planning around these 5 things in your business now and when we are allowed to travel – well maybe you will!

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Holidays – domestic or  international, whether it’s a long weekend or a month, it takes some preparation, especially in the early days of being in business.  But even us seasoned, professional holiday makers can come unstuck every now and then and I’m going to run you through *exactly* what I did to make sure I could go on our most expensive, most luxurious holiday ever, when just 3 days before our flight, I was on the phone to my agent asking what money I could salvage IF we had to cancel.  

But before I get into that story, let me tell you why you need to listen up to this and why you need to make sure you’re booking yourself regular trips away.

We all need time off from our business sometime. Why? 

  • Because you do better work when you’ve had a change of scenery and time to recharge.
  • Because with fresh eyes and a fresh mind you’ll make smarter business decisions.
  • Because when you’re not thinking about work is when you actually have breakthrough ideas 
  • Because you’ve earned it! And because you didn’t go into business to be a slave to your business.
  • Because, and this is a big one – once you’ve proven to yourself that your business CAN handle your absence it opens you up to a world of possibility.

So. Back to our trip.  A couple of years ago, we booked one of the more luxurious holidays that we’ve ever taken.  Sailing the Croatian Coast, the Dalmation Coast in a small boat, think – 35 people followed by a luxurious stay in the Greek Islands, Santorini omg that place. This was expensive, and it was prepaid. And a really big – really huge job that I was leading, that was meant to have been finalised a month before – wasn’t.  For reasons beyond our control it was taking longer than expected and all parties’ eyes were firmly on me, knowing that I was about to leave.  I was feeling immense pressure to stay. 

I went home to my husband one night, 3 nights before we left and told him I didn’t think we could go.  Yes, you are correct, that didn’t go down well. Then I was on the phone to my travel agent finding out what money or credits we could salvage from this situation.  

This was a big deal.  Not just because of the money but we have always travelled, always been super organised and travel is a huge part of what we work for.  This one time where I nearly came unstuck made me really sit up and think about what else can we put in place to make sure we can always go and have a great, relaxing holiday regardless of what crops up in business.

Plan in advance with these 5 ideas.

  1. Find Your Non-negotiablesThink about the top 4 things that you know will worry you while you’re away.  Is it your inbox, getting work invoiced, how to deal with a new lead, chasing up debtor payments, a certain situation with a client. Identify what’s going to worry you and put a step by step system in place so that someone else can take care of it for you.  These don’t have to be elaborate, just take out a pen and a piece of paper and write it out step by step or leave if that, then this, type instructions.

2. Empower your team. Delegation. Your team might be an actual team or an outsourced team. Give your team guidelines on what they can and can’t make a decision about without your input. From social media to emails.  From a pending issue with your top client to a nuisance client that you just know will create a drama when you’re not there. With our Croatian dilemma I gave everyone a specific role to perform.  I listed everything that they needed to know, from important background or history of the client to if this happens then do that or if that happens do this.  

Don’t forget that just because you don’t have a team of employees doesn’t mean you don’t have a team.  Think about the role your accountant, financial advisor, legal team, marketing team, business coach or your best friend could play.

3. Communicate with key team members, and clients. Let your clients know well in advance that you’ll be away.  Let them know exactly who or what they need to do if something unexpected crops up.  Let your team know what is and isn’t an emergency.  

You’ll be surprised at how many people respect the fact that you are going away with your family, they may have something come up that they’d ideally want to see you about or have you prepare but if they have an alternate contact they may choose to use that contact.  OR they’ll decide on their own whether it can wait until you get back. 

4. Daily Rundown.  Create a list of things that you want one person to email you about daily.  Same time every day.  Update you on a particular job or situation, maybe just an email to say ‘hey, everything is good here’. If it will help you relax while you’re away, then have someone you can rely on to email you at the same time everyday with an update. 

5. Set the expectation with your family.  If it means you’ll chill for the day – get up a little earlier, return emails, check your cloud accounting software for invoicing, bank balances, who has or hasn’t paid you recently, progress of jobs – whatever makes sense to you and will put your mind at ease.  Then switch it off. 

Set the boundaries in advance with your family. You’ll do one hour a morning then you’re all theirs.  I did this on our cruise and even the other people on our boat knew I was working for the first hour or so in the morning and they’d give me space to get stuff done. 

Then when it’s time to switch off – switch off.  Turn your wifi off, lose your phone and enjoy your trip.

Then there’s some other advantages which are a bit more indirect – 

For one, these things I cover here are also a great way to prepare your team to be more independent and capable, not just while you’re away but everyday!  It can be great for team morale and team retention.  Giving them responsibility like this let’s them know that you think they can handle things without you and they’ll probably step up to the plate not just while you’re away but everyday.   

For two, it makes your business allround more efficient, it even makes it more saleable – it’s pretty hard to sell a business that relies wholly and solely on one person!

And finally, I want to talk about profits.

You don’t have to be recording profits while you’re sitting on a beach drinking cocktails.  As long as you are profitable before and after, then that’s all that really matters.  If your goal is simply a relaxing holiday with your family without coming back to a disaster – then go for it!  Do these 5 things and start doing them now.  

Wherever you are in the world, have a great day!