Preparing to leave your biz for a vacation or conference can be a scary prospect. Most women I know, me included, are addicted to our businesses. We think about our businesses as soon as we wake. We think about them all day long. We can’t turn our brains off. But everyone deserves some down days. We don’t need to be at everyone’s beck and call. We need to be able to turn our brains off, step back and step away for a time. But how can we do that comfortably and with our business still running?
Let me share a couple of stories. A few years ago I went to California for my husbands birthday. I took my laptop because I knew I was going to have to work one day, Thursday, but I was going to take the rest of the weekend off. On my “work” vacation day, there was a huge crisis and I ended up working over 24 hours that weekend trying to right a wrong and fix a huge problem. The same thing happened a few years later when I tried to go out of town for my birthday. I ended up working the whole time. I needed to reassess my boundaries and procedures for being on vacation. That was blatantly clear….but how could I do that and keep my business working…..
First things first: WRITE DOWN YOUR BUSINESS PROCESSES
Fancy term that basically means, you need to outline, graph or write up an informal set of rules, routines, practices of your business. You need to have a clear pattern on how your business works. What needs to be done when, how customers are treated and what time schedule things need to be finished. Business processes keep consistency with your clients. It keeps your team in the loop on how you would handle issues so they not you….let me repeat that, THEY, NOT YOU can solve the crisis’.
If you don’t have a team, that’s okay, the solution I used before I had a team was, I found a like minded business owner that I enjoyed working with and asked them to be my go to person for my clients to come too if a problem happened. I didn’t care if you she got customers from this, I just wanted to make sure that my clients were good and happy while I was gone. Make sure the person who you are referring your clients to knows you are referring them as a contact and that they are okay with the added work load.
When you get a team your business processes will help identify roles and problem protocols. I have a business coordinator, Lauren, who I trust completely. I know when I am unplugged and tech free that Lauren will answer any and all questions and send clients to the people on my team who can handle their situations. Business processes help Lauren do this how I would but I completely trust Lauren to make the choices while I am gone if she encounters something not in our plan. Make sure your clients and team know who they are to contact while you are gone. This information makes them know you do care enough about the “what ifs” that you left someone else to care for them.
Second: COMMUNICATE WITH EVERYONE YOU WILL BE GONE
When you are going to be gone and won’t be around at all or will have very limited contact, communicate that with everyone.(Guys we can so help with this). Clients, team, anyone expecting you to be around. Let them know you are going out of town for a conference, a vacation, having a family emergency etc. If people understand why you are going away, it’s easier for them to get by without you. Especially if they know it’s only temporary. If you are going to have windows of opportunity to communicate let your clients and team know those times you can check email or voice mails. Let them know you will get back in touch with them within 72 hours of contact or sooner if you can.
Here’s a sample of the email generated while I was gone last week at PartnerCon.
“Hi! Thank you for reaching out to me!
I’m currently out of the office at a conference this week. I’ll have very limited access to email and will be in meetings all day everyday.
If you need anything, please forward to my coordinator Lauren (this is where Lauren’s email is) and she will make sure it lands in the correct place.
Third: Set your boundaries for communication and working.
Set them for yourself. Set them for your team. Set them for your clients. And then stick with them. A few years ago I took Christmas off. I sent out emails. I communicated with my team. I let everyone know to the best of my ability that we were going to be closed for Christmas. I sent out 3-4 emails establishing times and restrictions. Thing is I had clients who wanted to get things rolling on Christmas Day. They kept trying to contact me to work even though I had communicated with them I wasn’t working over the holiday. I honestly had to fire them as clients. It hurt. I lost money. Which is really hard, but I had set my boundaries that Christmas was important to me and they didn’t get it. They didn’t honor my set boundaries so I had to let them go. I understood the importance of boundaries again while at an event I had paid to attend. Another crisis happened as they always seem to do when we are away and I ended up managing other people’s stuff the whole weekend, I didn’t engage in the conference at all. I had paid good money and hadn’t gotten a thing out of it. Boundaries are important so now I stick to them, even if it means I have to fire a client.
In my live video I shared that being able to turn off your brain is super important. It is super powerful for you to step back and step away. Make sure you prepare yourself mentally to be away from your business. Have a plan in place. Once you do, you will be able to engage in whatever moment you are in. Whether it’s family time, at a conference trying to learn new things, interacting with peers or finding prospects…
Being able to focus in the moment you are in is key to a healthy and smart business.