Small business owners are notoriously bad at taking time off for their business. The never-ending to-do lists, combined with the dilemma of how to serve your clients best while you’re away can often result in throwing your hands in the air and saying “forget it.”

But, time away from your business duties is SO important and healthy for you. And, don’t forget, sometimes your time away from your business isn’t optional.

Whether it’s for maternity leave, an illness, a family emergency, or something more fun like vacation or travel, having a plan in place for time away is the best way to ensure that things keep running smoothly and growth continues.

As you may know from reading our 2020 recap blog, we recently celebrated the birth of our baby boy Leo. So, we know first hand that though it is daunting to take time away from running your business, it’s also so doable and worth the extra effort to make it happen.

Here are the steps we took to prepare for our time off as we transitioned to becoming new parents!

Inform Your Clients

This is definitely the most important step in the process of preparing to take time off. Your clients are the lifeline of your business, so making sure they feel seen and taken care of is key.

The good news is that your clients are human, too! Many of them will cheer you on as you take that vacation or bond with your baby, or heal from your surgery.

It’s good manners to let your clients know at least a month in advance, if not earlier, and clearly outline what they can expect while you’re gone. Depending on what services you offer, you can either try to get ahead on work for your client while you’re gone, temporarily pause or amend your services, or outsource.

Be sure to send a reminder to your clients one week before your leave starts, and then set an auto-responder in your email or CRM so that if a client forgets and reaches out to you, they won’t be disgruntled when you don’t respond.

Plan Ahead Client Work

This step will help your peace of mind AND your budget. Communicate clearly with your clients about what work you can get done for them ahead of time, and what work you’ll push back until after you’re back.

That being said, you’ll want to do your best to plan your vacations or time off well in advance. Of course, this can’t always be done, but when you can it is so helpful to block off time in your yearly calendar with months and months of time to prepare.

Batch Work & Automate

Take advantage of all of the amazing technology available that will make it seem like you’re still there when you’re not! Work like Pinterest management, social media posting, blogging, and emails can all be batched ahead of time and scheduled like normal for your client (especially if you’re only taking a week or two off of work). 

Outsource

Take a look at your daily or weekly business tasks and decide if there are any jobs that you could outsource to a VA or industry peer while you’re gone. Tasks like responding to customer inquiries, social media posting and engagement, invoicing, and email management can easily be outsourced to a VA while you’re gone.

If you’ll be out for a longer stretch, finding an industry peer you know and trust who has space in their workload could be a great option. Have them take over your duties until you return, or at least be on-call for your clients.

Passive Income Source

If you need to take longer than a week or two off from running your business, it’s a great idea to implement some streams of passive income to buffer any decrease you see in active client work or referrals.

Passive income streams can require some sweat equity upfront, but they obviously pay off in the long run as they set you up to generate income while doing very little active work. Affiliate marketing, print-on-demand products, digital products, and educational products are a few of the options that you can explore for your business.

Luckily, we’ve covered this topic in great depth! Check out our passive income series on our blog to figure out which type of passion income you could implement first. 

So, there you have it. Remember, taking time off in your business is essential! Whether it’s for a reason you can’t avoid, or something simple for pleasure like traveling or vacation, time away is a great way to recharge and seek out inspiration elsewhere.

What else have you done in the past to prepare for a stint away from work?


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