Hands up if you started your small business so you could reap the rewards of unparalleled flexibility? Along with living your passion, small business ownership really does give you a bendy schedule. Unless of course, you want to take a block of time off. Then, it’s a mad rush to work in advance or get someone to babysit your business baby. THEN, it feels near impossible and you are in need of my Small Business Owners Guide to taking Time off over Christmas.
If you’re already fretting about the break and how you’re going to make it work, fear not. A few tweaks here and there and you too can get some of that coveted annual leave your employed friends enjoy on the reg.
Set Up An Auto Responder
Social Media is now the go-to communications channel for clients and customers to reach business owners. In fact, it’s estimated over 64% of customers would rather message via social media than make a phone call. So, what do you do when you’re hiking in the forest without wifi or sipping champagne with friends and that little ding goes off? Instead of interrupting your downtime or ignoring those VIP customers, consider setting up an auto-responder on social media and emails.
You can be as creative as you like and can even link them through to appropriate pages of your website such as your returns policy, sizing guide etc. Just be sure to include when the customer can expect a reply from you!
Want to see mine? Shoot me an email – I have mine halfway into holiday mode already!
Avarcas Australia comes up with the BEST auto replies when she’s out of office. Here is just one example. No confusion as to when she’ll be back and loads of help given.
Turn Off Notifications
While you’re at it, why not turn notifications off completely? You can set your phone on flight mode or go through each app and remove notifications for each. How wonderful would it feel to travel sans the Instagram DM bing, new email buzzes and the array of Facebook messages?
Hire Holiday Help
If the thought of all of the above is making you break out in a cold sweat, you might like to consider hiring help. There are a variety of sensational virtual assistants who specialise in babysitting businesses over the holidays. They’ll respond to your emails, keep your social media humming and ensure you don’t have to be available during your break.
Let Everyone Know
Most clients or customers are incredibly understanding when it comes to taking a break, providing you give them lots of notice! Let them know how long you are taking off and how that will impact your workload. For example, delayed deadlines and shipping, limited communication and so on.
For service providers, if you can work in advance, do it. ‘Go Light’ by doing the maintenance only of ongoing clients – no new projects (unless done ahead of time of course!), closing the calendar for enquiry or discovery calls.
Here’s how I’ve updated my calendar bookings until the new year.
For product-based businesses, if you can hire help to ship orders, do it. If not, display your delivery and shipping times clearly on your website.
Schedule Your Content
The last thing you want to be doing on your break is scheduling social media content. It takes time and a lot of brainpower. If you can, schedule as far in advance as possible. If you’re working with a social media manager, brief them in advance so you can chill without putting your business hat on.
Go Somewhere Without WiFi
Lap up that well deserved digital detox and go somewhere without WiFi. Boundaries with customers and clients are great but they won’t give you the full reprieve unless you set the boundaries with yourself. Spend a day without WiFi and truly unwind.
Don’t forget – to enjoy yourself! Like I say to my kids every morning, what’s the most important thing today…. to have fun!