I recently took a vacation..ahhh…
Planning for said vacation, however, was not nearly as stressful as trying to figure out what was going to happen to my business while I was away! I am a solopreneur, there’s only me to service clients, to write, to plan, and to keep up-to-date. The main focus of my business is social media, and you’ve heard me say it before, don’t forget the social part of social media! So, how to stay social, stay connected, when I expected to be away for 11 days?
My first decision had to be whether this would be a working vacation or a vacation vacation. To add to the stress, my husband is also a solopreneur, and he had some decisions to make. After all, neither of us can just turn to our boss, an employee or coworker and say, “Handle this, will you, I’ll see you in a week!”
After some discussion, it was decided this would be a vacation vacation, albeit with no more than an hour a day to check the computer for urgent messages. Luckily, we were out of the country, and since that means a per-message and -minute cost for texts and phone calls, I simply powered down and stuck the phone in the hotel safe for the week. (How liberating!)
Here are some tips to manage while you take that very-much-deserved break:
Confer with your clients.
Give your clients as much notice as possible that you’ll be away, especially if your work for them entails day-to-day management. Arrange a face-to-face meeting with them to plan for when you are gone. Assure your clients that in an emergency or if an urgent question comes up, you’ll be checking your email once a day (more later).
Plan for when you are gone.
When you do what I do, manage social media for small businesses; you can’t just disappear for a week. Before my client meetings, I came up with a rough plan of how to handle the messages and promotions for the week. My clients added their input, and we discussed what they could reasonably and comfortably handle while I was gone.
Implement your plan.
Luckily for me, there are social media management tools (such as HootSuite) that allow for scheduling social media posts. Facebook had just introduced scheduling for posts just before I left (see my post on Facebook scheduling). Weeks before I left, I was researching the messages and content I wanted to appear during the time I was gone, and then began scheduling them. Blog posts offer more flexibility, but there were some I wrote ahead of time and scheduled while I was away.
You need to plan for emergencies.
If your business handles emergencies, then you need a local back up. For example, there was a horrendous storm in our area while I was gone. If my business had anything to do with storm-related damage, I would have already given my clients a back up source. (And arranged it with that source.) For this reason, you should check in via computer once a day—although do not get sucked into the wonderful world of the Internet!
Take my advice and find a way to take that vacation! You need it and you deserve it. Go as off-grid as possible–the rewards are priceless. If, like me, you are vacationing with your children, it’s worth it to be away from the electronics (after all, that’s what we told them, too!). Yes you’ll come back with a lot to do, and it may seem overwhelming at first, but you’ll get your desk cleared eventually, and you’ll realize the benefits of clearing your mind as well!
Are you a solopreneur? Have you taken a vacation recently? What worked for you?
About Lisa Karl
Lisa Karl is the president of Nova Creative Media, a social media/marketing firm in Ashburn, VA. She is also the publisher and editor of Find It In Ashburn! Connect with Lisa via Facebook (NCM), Facebook (FIIA), Twitter and LinkedIn.