How Small Business Owners Can Take a Vacation

vacation as a small business owner
My Vacation in Oregon

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.

Phil Gerbyshak
Phil Gerbyshak is the CEO of, and he works with people who want to leverage social media into real life connections. He has been working in the social media space since 2005, with a focus on financial advisors, financial planners and others in the financial services industry. Phil has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Financial Times, Investor's Business Daily and many other publications online and offline and is frequently interviewed by those who want to connect more deeply with their customers in meaningful ways.
Phil Gerbyshak


  1. b2brookeballard says

    This sounds like a dream come true, Phil! I'm in the same boat as you are and lately we've been eyeing trips to Mexico or Antigua – all the while knowing it can't happen. But maybe it can. Your tips are just what I needed to try and get this thing DONE. Thanks!

  2. says

    Phil, I just want to run through that sprinkler right about now. I think the mental hurdle and the distancing yourself is the hardest thing to do, especially with us all being so connected all the time. It is for that reason I like #2 on your list, turnoff notifications.

  3. says

    Great post! I just went out of town last week and had very limited 3G access from my phone. Fortunately I had my intern monitor everything and I did set up set times for me to sit and check-in on things. It worked very well. I didn't turn off my phone notifications – honestly, I was too nervous too. I may have to do that when I go to the beach… if you can do it, I know I can!

  4. Joanna says

    Phil, I own a travel agency and always tell clients it is a must to get away from work. Your mind, body and sprit need it. It is almost not a luxury anymore but because of the hours we small business owners put in it is needed to maintain health and distress. Fabulous post!!!

  5. says

    Phil, great post and I'm glad to hear you enjoyed your vacation. I'd love to try your tips — next year. For this year, I'm attempting four days off in a row from my business, a long weekend completely disconnected. I have high hopes that my team can manage anything that happens.

  6. says

    Is it really a vacation if you work some every day? Maybe it's a good way to relieve the anxiety you might otherwise feel, but just because you're a business owner, that doesn't mean you don't deserve some time completely off. Mind you, I haven't had a vacation where I didn't do any work at all in years, but I'd like to think it's possible!

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