Taking a Vacation as a Solo Entrepreneur
Publisher Note: This post was first published last year and thought it was worth repeating. For many of us here in the States we have at best about 5 weeks before it’s officially Back to School. If you haven’t left your desk yet, go for it! Laura’s action plan for alerting your clients and setting up your workflow will allow you to break peacefully and not return to a madhouse.
We designers/creatives need our breaks! For all the things we do as small business owners (like everything), we certainly need to take time out to sharpen the saw or let’s just say rekindle the spirit and revive our soul.
But how? How do we take a break when we are the only ones running the show? Here is a very simplified action plan.
Announce your vacation
Announce to yourself, your clients, your family that you are planning a (label it your way) vacation, stay-cation, break, time off. Utilizing your email system, auto-responder, your blog, your 17Hats app or whatever system you work with, create an email and announce it loud and proud. After all, you have gotten yourself to this space and you deserve this time off.
I will be unavailable from __until__. As I am taking a much-needed break. If you have any urgent needs before I leave please contact me asap. If something comes up while I am (your words (vacation)) please note that I may or may not be able to respond until I return.
Thank you for understanding, cheers to all who take a break.
Automate your workflow
Automating your workflow is something that just makes sense for everyday business needs but is essential for having a productive escape. What can be automated?
Email Set and Forget
Set up an automated out of town response email for any incoming emails. You could also set up (before you leave) an email saying your back and ready to work via SendLater (mac) or boomerang (Gmail). This lets you settle in or sleep in if needed knowing you have already sent that hello I am back email.
Invoicing Done On The Go
Set up any invoicing that needs to be sent while you are away. You can do this via Freshbooks reoccurring option set with 1 payment.
We can’t keep all of our money… make sure to schedule your payments before you leave.
Block Out Time On Your Calendar
Set your Calendar as blocked time for yourself. I love chunking time in Timely.
Check all of the apps you use on your phone so that you know you can login easily via your phone apps… if necessary. Freshbooks, Evernote, 17Hats, Timely, can all be accessed via phones. Canva for designing on the go is available via iPads but not an iPhone. Adobe Spark (another designing tool) can be downloaded to your iPhone if you want to create on the go (free tool).
WordPress Blog Articles
Create and schedule your articles to be published before you leave.
Social Media can be set and schedule before you leave as well.
Ok so you know your going to be gone but the email is not going to stop. What can you do? Inbox Pause (for Gmail) will hold your email just like stopping mail. I have not tried this app but reviews are favorable. I like to see what email is coming in (on occasion… at my time preference). I still utilize my folder system and can quickly decide if it is a email (possibly a new client) I want to take care of now or if it should go into the todo folder.
So now you are out, relaxing, chillin, what happens when the phone rings? We have options (answer it, if you feel up to it), let it go to the voicemail you have set up in which the caller will hear you are in vacay mode, hit the remind me later button on your iPhone)…. Here is when you decide to honor your time.
Honor Your Time
Now that you have set up your system honor your needs to unwind. Honor the need to re-purpose, re-design, re-goal, re-evaluate, and mostly rejuvenate. We work hard so we can play hard too!
Vacation is a state of mind and you can get there by announcing, automating and honoring your time.
Going anywhere? Doing anything special? Share! We all want to know.