At the end of December, my family and I headed out across the pond to visit the UK, France and Spain for 10 days. It was an epic trip that we were thrilled to take (and had saved long and hard for). But because of the planning that was involved, and more importantly the family time, it was important to me that I unplug as much as possible.
As a business owner, I have goals I want to achieve. And I have customers I want to support. But as a leader, I also want to demonstrate that we can have it all–as long as we plan ahead and have things in place before we unplug.
Not only that, but I wanted the kids to see how hard Jeff and I work every day and how we’re able to do fun things because we work hard.
It wasn’t my intention to unplug 100 percent, and I didn’t. I did establish some boundaries though–for myself and for the expectations of others, my family included. In the end, I was happy with the time away and didn’t feel stressed or flustered about the amount of work I did while I was gone. It was really minimal.
So what are my secrets to taking time away from a business you love so you can spend time with the people who matter?
Set Up Support Systems
It’s so important to have support systems in your business. This could be hiring an assistant to take over while you’re away, or setting up automations that respond to people while you’re offline. Think email auto-responders, automated shipments, pre-scheduled social media posts–whatever makes sense to your business model.
Turn to Non-Paid Team Members
In my business, we have online support groups, team leaders and both upline and downline team members. You taking time away might be a great opportunity to ask budding leaders to take on a bigger role with more responsibility. It’s a great way to train someone for future leadership positions. And who knows–they might see that they can lead and want to step up their leadership on a regular basis! You can also ask a few rockstars in an online support group to step up and offer additional support while you’re away.
Have a Plan for Customers
You don’t want to miss out on any sales while you’re gone, so this is where those auto-responders come in handy. When an email lands in your inbox or private messages, have an auto-responder let the sender know when to expect to hear back from you. This establishes boundaries and ensures that their needs are met in a timely fashion. I took a few minutes every night to scan my emails and look for one that needed immediate responses, as well as ones that had questions about placing an order. I prioritized getting back to those emails because I still wanted to serve my customers as much as possible.
Have a Plan for Wifi
Wifi is easily accessible just about anywhere these days. When you’re traveling, know where the free wifi is so you can grab it when you can. And make sure that your family knows when your working hours will be each day so their expectations are in check too.
Planning ahead and managing expectations is key for any trip–whether you’re planning to work while you’re away or not. But for business owners who find it hard to push the pause button for vacation, having a plan in advance is key. Just be sure you still take time to smell the roses too (or the ocean breeze or the pine trees–or whatever is on your epic vacation)!