Two weeks ago, I took my first ever vacation. You heard that right – my first vacation EVER. I own a small social media agency where we provide coaching for small businesses and manage/work with them on their social presence and how they can use Social more effectively.
This can be a long job and requires me to provide a quick response to many emails and phone calls at all hours of the day – and I wasn’t sure I could manage my clients and take a vacation. I was wrong – not only did I take one, it was wonderful!!
1 – Before you leave, evaluate anything mission critical that will happen while you are on a vacation, and add it to your calendar. For me, this meant scheduling a specific time each day for things that I normally did automatically! I added to my calendar appointments to review content every day, added time to respond to client emails, client voicemails and interactions on various social channels including company blogs. I blocked time for this every day. I chose right when I woke up so I could still have lots of sunlight time to enjoy my vacation days.
2 – Turn off all notifications on your phone – Admittedly, this was the hardest thing for me. I live on my phone. I’m actually writing the draft of this article on my phone. I tweet from my phone. I write emails from my phone. I text from my phone. My phone owned me, but I realized I could OWN it!! I didn’t need all the notifications on my phone and neither my business or my life went in the toilet. Every time someone commented on a Facebook post I made, responded to a tweet, or every comment pending approval did NOT need my immediate attention. In fact I realized I can keep notifications turned off all the time now, and just respond at scheduled times – and you can too.
3 – Ask for help from your friends (or hire a friend) – While I was gone, I asked one of my friends to monitor my email for anything absolutely time sensitive, respond to and monitor all Social accounts, and manage my personal and corporate blog. You could hire someone if you don’t have any friends to mind your business. :) She did a fabulous job taking care of things, and I only got notified once when my company website went down for a few days while I was away. I also asked a bunch of my friends to write articles for me while I was away, to keep my blog fresh. This also worked well, so I’m going to start asking for one or two guest posts every month now, just so I can do the same and introduce myself to new audiences.
4 – Set a specific way that your point person can contact you. The point person needs to know they can reach you if there’s an emergency – like there was when my site went down. I used a method I had never used before – and I only connected with her on this channel so I didn’t get distracted and wasn’t tempted do work things while I was vacating. This was fantastic, and it provided me with a peace of mind, so I could relax!!
4b – Set a time for regular check in with your point person. This will reassure you and your go to person knows you are there still for questions – along those same lines, even if nothing is going wrong, still schedule regular check ins every few days, just to answer questions and prevent
yourself from wondering and worrying. I planned to do this every other day for 10 minutes, though I booked 15 minutes, and it worked very well. We didn’t go past our 10 minutes and sometimes only needed 5 minutes to do this.
5 – Relax and enjoy your vacation. Time to enjoy yourself. You’ve taken care of everything you can, and unless your world is completely burning down, your business is under control. You too can take your first ever vacation or your hundredth vacation, and actually relax a little, knowing your business is under control.
Your turn: Have you ever taken a vacation from your small business?
How did you do it? If you haven’t done so yet, what are your concerns
that I didn’t cover? Are there any points that aren’t clear or need
further clarification? Let me know in the comments below.