Ahhh. The life of an entrepreneur. Set your own hours, volunteer in your kids school, have lunch with a girlfriend on a whim, and head out on a vacation any time you please.
The reality for many entrepreneurs I know is a little different. She volunteers at school but then stays up all night emailing clients. She probably talks to the gal on the Apple support line more often than her girlfriends, and the hours she sets are more like a 24-hour diner. And a vacation? It usually involves someplace with wi-fi and updating a sales page from the bathroom of a hotel room.
I know what that life looks like so well, because I am living it. I LOVE my business, and I have worked hard to build it to where it is today. But this summer, I’m going to try something I have never done before in my business.
I’m going to take a break.
From July 1 to July 19, I’m going to take a break from my business. And I along the way, I am going to share with you how I’m going to do it.
Over the next few weeks, I am going to walk you through my process of getting ready for my own break—and help you plan yours. I’m also bringing in some amazing experts to talk about content creation, outsourcing, and systems—all key pieces to any Biz Break plan.
Today, let’s dive into the fundamentals of How to Take a Break From Your Business.
Step #1: Decide What Kind of Break You Need
Do you want a few weeks completely unplugged? Are you pregnant planning a maternity leave? Maybe you have a more varied schedule this summer with your kids out of school or you finally want to stop working weekends.
All of these are perfect examples of Business Breaks, and they can all work with a plan.
Two + weeks off from my business to be with with my family and have some ‘me time’ too.
Step #2: Decide What Your Break Looks Like on the Inside
Start by asking yourself what you need out of this break. Do you want to be completely unplugged while you’re away? Do you want to clear your schedule of client calls while your kids are home, but continue to check email after they go to bed? Will you take a week off from client work, but spend one day on planning and content creation?
Your break doesn’t have to look like someone else’s break. It just has to work for you.
I’m still working through this step, but I know:
- I don’t want to do anything scheduled, so I won’t be holding client calls or even participating in my personal mastermind meetups.
- I want all content done ahead of time. I’m pre-writing blog posts, enlisting guest bloggers, and scheduling my emails.
- I’ll have my amazing assistant checking my email, answering questions, and letting people know I’ll get back to them when I return.
- BUT, I might find some time to pop into my favorite facebook groups or IM chat with my online friends.
Step #3: Decide What Your Break Looks Like On the Outside
Once you know what you want your break to look like for you, decide what your break will look like to your audience.
You could pre-write blog posts, set emails on autoresponders, and/or have a team run the ship in your absence, but under the guise that you are still at the helm. Alternately, you could hang the proverbial “Gone to the beach” sign and let everyone know you are unavailable.
If you are shifting to weekends off or to a lighter workload for summer, try a tip borrowed from my good friend Val Geisler. She includes her “work hours” in the footer of her email. If you no longer want to work weekends, a note in your email signature that says “Business Hours: Monday–Friday 9am–2pm PT” lets people know when you’ll be available to get back to them.
I am clearly being very transparent that I am taking a break from my business, but I am also keeping things running while I am gone. Blogs will still go out, social media updates will still happen, but everything will be scheduled ahead of time and monitored by my team.
Step #4: Decide What Systems You Need
You know when you are getting ready to sell your house, you finally fix that door knob that has been wiggly for two years? Well, systems and business breaks are kinda the same thing.
Want to take weekends off? Start by asking yourself What am I usually doing for my business on the weekends? How can I streamline, systematize, or outsource those tasks?
For me, it’s usually business admin, client communication catch up, and content creation. First I outsourced more business admin tasks. Then I looked at how I communicate with clients and came up with a plan that didn’t leave me always feeling behind in the email reply department (that is still a work in progress!) Last, by making a few tweaks to my work day (and using the app focusatwill.com,) I’m able to get more content created in the time I have.
Thinking about a longer break? Start with what would normally happen during that time. Then start planning and systematizing. Bonus: putting a system in place for the time you are gone can benefit your business efficiency long after you return!
Working with my team and looking at my full summer goals, including my break, we created a full 15-week editorial calendar. With the editorial calendar set, I had my designer create all my blog graphics and corresponding social media images for the entire summer—one less thing I need to do on a weekly basis, even after my vacation is over.
Many of us don’t take a break from our business because we feel like we can’t. But breaks are good for us and for our business.
Sometimes taking a break starts as simply as saying, “I will no longer work after my kids go to bed” or shifting your schedule to make sure you have one full weekend day away from work. Try that. Make a plan, create your systems. See that it works.
Then take the stand (mostly for yourself) that you CAN take 19 days (or whatever your break looks like) away from your business. Decide what it looks like, create a plan, get support. Then enjoy your break. You earned it, mama!