In today’s episode, Anneliese talks you through her journey of how she was able to take time off away from her business for the first time in 3 years. Taking time off is essential as a business owner and to do that you need to give notice to your clients,
be prepared ahead of time, and of course turn on that out of office! If you’ve been wanting to plan a vacation but are not sure how to as a business owner, then this episode is for you.
Anneliese Episode Write Out:
Hello hello everyone and welcome back to another episode of the Per The Contract Podcast, I am your host Anneliese Gartner and today we’re going to be talking about HOW to take time off from your business.
If you didn’t know I’ve been in business with my company Apto Media for 3 years now and last week over the 4th of July was the first official vacation I have ever taken away from my business since starting in 2017. What I mean by official is that I actually turned ON my out-of-office for the first time and didn’t answer a single email all week. I’ve taken a couple of trips before but I always felt too nervous to turn my out of office on in case a client “needed” me, or if “something” happened that I needed to answer right away.
Well thankfully with the help of my business coach last year she advised me that it was time to take an official vacation, and I hate to say it but she was right. I needed the time off, I needed a break, and honestly, before last week I was on the verge of burnout again. I’ve had burnout a couple of times in my business and I’ve always pushed through it but this year I really wanted to focus on building my business sustainably that was best for me, myself, and my clients. Alsol burnout is not fun so I didn’t want to go through it again.
Of course, this is easier said than done but scheduling this vacation ahead of time was key! I also have a couple of summer Fridays I’m taking this summer to again not have burnout and remember why I started this business in the first place, to create my own schedule and to help businesses get started and grow. I always tell my clients that they need to take time off now it was my turn to listen to my own advice.
So in order to prepare for me to take a week off, there were a couple of things I had to do to prep myself, the business, and my team. So here’s my journey of what I did:
#1: One month before
I told everyone. As soon as I finalized the dates for my vacation I told my team, my clients, and I blocked the dates off on my calendar so that no one could book any calls with me during that week. I sent my team a quick message, and I sent my clients messages through our project management system we use (shoutout to Asana as always). I told everyone at least a month in advance and knew even before that with new clients that we were taking on to start their projects after I came back from vacation. For current clients, I made sure that their projects were not impacted by me taking this week off by scheduling things for them to do during the time that I was away. This was actually the best thing that I did as then this week that I’m back I’m reviewing the work that they did while I was away and no time was missed because I took the week off.
#2: Two weeks before
I started prepping. After I told everyone I then got to work and started prepping the materials my team needed while I was away, what my clients needed to do while I was away, and what I needed to do in order to make sure that everything still ran smoothly while I was away. For my team they received a Google Doc with a list of information and tasks to do. For my clients I assigned them tasks on Asana to do and complete. Easy prep and it honestly only took me about a day to get everything scheduled and sent to them ahead of time.
#3: The week before
I spoke on the phone (aka Zoom) to everyone. I got on a call with almost every team member and told them everything they needed to do while I was away and walked them through their Google Doc. To our clients, I explained what they needed to do, answered any questions that they had, and really stressed how I was not going to be available to respond during that week. I only allowed my team to contact me if it was an emergency or if they had a question but clients I gave them no option.
#4 The Day before
I wrote my out-of-office that clearly stated I was on vacation and to only contact me for emergencies if they could. It read like this:
I’m currently on my first vacation EVER since opening Apto Media! So, as much as I enjoy the work that I do, after 2020 – I need a break. I’ll be back on my computer on Monday July 12th and will answer your email then. If it’s an emergency and you know my cell, text me!
Have a great week and chat soon,
This clearly stated that I was in need of a vacation and really only to be contacted if they knew my number which most people don’t so there was no way for them to contact me. In my business, I’m not saving lives or curing a disease so the items that clients were emailing me about for the most part could wait.
#5: During vacation
Now I am going, to be honest I did work for 1 hour 1 day and that was only because a client was having a system issue BUT to be fair I wasn’t doing anything that day besides recovering from the 4th of July. So I was completely okay with 1 hour of work during the week, and after 3 years of never taking a true vacation, I say that I did pretty well then.
#6: The Sunday before I was officially back I started going through my inbox
Sunday late in the afternoon I set time aside to check my email inbox and write a to do list of what immediately needed to get done and completed the next day and throughout the week. This helped me so much as right now I’m recording this episode it’s my first week back from vacation and I was able to easily get back into the swing of things. There was also no dread to when Monday began as I knew exactly what I needed to get done that day and what I could get done throughout the rest of the week.
So there you have it, the journey of how I took an official vacation after 3 years of being in business. If you haven’t taken a vacation yet or you want to plan one hopefully this journey was helpful so you know what to do in order to be fully prepared and really take an official week off.
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