Why Entrepreneurs Need Summer Vacations
― Dr. Seuss
It is one thing to tell an entrepreneur they need a vacation; it’s another thing entirely to tell them to “shut down” their busy brains.
As a business coach in Vancouver who regularly sees small business owners run ragged, I’m well versed in the importance of keeping a healthy work/life balance. Let me tell you that if you allow the summer months to pass by without indulging in a real vacation, it can actually cause more long-term damage… to your business, your vision and your initiatives.
Which is why I want to affirm, or even give you permission, to take some much-needed time to yourself!
Recharge Your Batteries to Prevent Burnout
Summer is my favourite time of the year. Everything is green and lush, the days are longer, the air is warmer, and the sun is (usually) shining. The outdoor beauty is abundant and the time to enjoy it is short; so get out you must …and here are my top 2 ways to encourage that!
1 …plan to find your balance!
As an entrepreneur, sole proprietor or small business owner – we already know that we struggle to find balance. We work hard, we put in a lot of hours and we wear a lot of hats. As such, we ask ourselves how we can possibly afford to take our eyes off the ball, especially when there is no one to fill in when we’re not there.
Which is why planning time off plays an important part in keeping your work/life balanced, allowing you to build your business without deconstructing yourself.
2 …don’t just change the venue – change the scenery!
Although we often think a change of venue is enough for a quick recharge; such as moving a business meeting from coffee houses to an outdoor patio, or turning music festivals and community celebrations into networking events – it isn’t enough to simply change the venue, you need to change the scenery entirely.
A full off the grid, no-work-allowed summer vacation is exactly what I assign for my clients to disconnect in order to reconnect.
The motivational speaker – Wayne Dyer once said – “Change The Way You Look At Things And The Things You Look At Change” …which can be applied to so many areas in life; but as it pertains to business, a change in scenery can offer you new ideas, perspective and business insights that a change in venue simply cannot!
Remember: Taking Care of Yourself = Taking Care of Your Business
Taking the time for personal renewal is key to your success. Time off gives you much-needed distance from your business and allows you to re-focus and create perspective. And that perspective is what determines the level of success you have in driving your business goals forward and getting the results you want.
Think about it this way…
Our job, in an overarching sense, is to be the main ‘driver’ of the business. To do this effectively each and every day, it is critical to take care of yourself, and in doing so; you will also take care of your business. Business owners need to keep creativity flowing and innovation flourishing while ensuring they, along with their “team tribe”, stays energized. The best way to do this is not always to step up to the plate, but rather to step back and even step away.
How to Step Back and/or Step Away As a Business Owner
If you can’t find time to step back or away from your business…or worse, you don’t give yourself permission to…you’ll start to deplete your resilience reservoir and lose perspective. You’ll even possibly sabotage you own progress without knowing it and eventually – you’ll burnout.
So, how do you get away? How do you get a “real vacation and REALLY shut down?
- Create Core Habits for Business (and Brain) Resilience …resilience comes from creating core habits and activities, which will help get you through the more challenging times of running a business.
- Maintain a Healthy Reserve of Resilience …which requires replenishment and rest – yes, in the form of a summer vacation!
- Strategic Planning …use a mix of coordinated strategic planning and communication outlets including: automated email, phone and social media messages, to ensure your customers are aware of your time away and your business still runs even when you’re out of the driver’s seat.
- Give Your Customers/Clients (at least) 4 Weeks Notice …communicate your intent around your vacation and provide the exact dates that you’ll be unavailable. If a check-in of some sort is absolutely necessary due to business commitments or timelines that can’t be moved, then be clear on how long or how often you’re going to check and/or respond to emails or other inquiries.
- Create Processes and Tech Hacks …which will set up expectations and boundaries that will allow you to coordinate with clients and partners in advance.
- Finish Up (Imperative) Projects Before You Leave …so there is nothing weighing on your mind when you DO finally get away. After all, you need to be away in body AND in spirit (mind) to truly replenish.
- Make Your Business Work for You While You’re Away …as a tech person, I always think about how to utilize technology.
Don’t Pretend to Vacation – Disconnect FOR REAL!
This means your away message applies to, not just your clients, but YOU as well.
If you have to check email or phone messages… be disciplined! Set the days that you’ll be checking messages and stick to those days. As well…
- Turn off ALL your devices and put them out of sight so you are not tempted to cheat yourself out of your vacation
- Create your social media posts in advance and use an auto-scheduler to post them in your absence
- Create a post announcing about your vacation and where you’re going. Make it engaging and fun. Your vacation can actually be a great marketing opportunity and a chance to tag your customers!
Then, take your vacation time one step further…
- If you wear a watch, take it off and put it away
- Turn off all phone notifications so you can still utilize it for picture taking opportunities without work popping up on the screen
If you’re still concerned your business can’t survive your vacation…
- Promote something while you’re away! A product or service sale, an upcoming webinar, a juicy fall promotion shout out – whatever it may be; create a buzz and set up your paid advertising around your vacation days. This will allow you to go away content, knowing your business is working for you while your sipping cocktails on the beach!
- Consider taking shorter vacations more often! Set aside some summer days with a plan in place to actually get off the grid and make some summer memories locally.
- Add an extra day off over a regular weekend and maximize long weekends! Those extra 24 hours will revitalize you in ways you may not have recognized you needed, keeping you thriving until your next vacation day.
Most Importantly…Go off and really do something that you WANT to do. Do something that feeds your mind and your soul, however that is defined for you.
As a business owner you may think a summer vacation is impossible. But remember, the word “impossible” creates the phrase: I’m possible …and you are!
If you need help reminding yourself of that – give us a shout! We look forward to it…