How I Planned For A 2 Week Vacation
One of the hardest things when owning your own online business is going away on vacation and not worrying about your business. When you're the only one running the show, it's hard to just turn it off for 2 weeks. Trust me, I know. Whether you're a service-based or product-based business, there definitely are some challenges when planning for time off.
I recently just went on a two-week vacation and did less than 3 hours of work while being away, which I was actually pretty impressed because I am a worrier at heart so I was constantly thinking about my business. But with great planning I was able to have everything completed and set up for my two week vacation so I had barely anything to worry about.
Here I'm going to talk about what worked and what didn't work when I planned for my two-week vacation and what I dealt with while I was away.
First let's talk about some fails...
My first failure happened on my email newsletter that I send out every week. Before I left I had written all the blog posts for the month of June, which was when I was away, and had them all scheduled to be posted on Wednesday mornings at 8 am. Also, I had an email written up to be sent out every Wednesday morning that announced the blog post.
Now if you're on my email list you probably saw my error that one of the links were broken for the first Wednesday post that went out while I was away.
Their were a few people who had emailed me that the link was broken and I immediately sent the correct link to them. I was at a crossroads should I resend the email with the new link that works or just leave it. I decided to just leave it which was hard because I quickly wanted to fix my mistake but I also didn't want you come across spammy in people's inboxes by sending an email right away after the one that just went out.
Lesson learned, double check your links in your automated emails to make sure they’re not broken and they are going to the right places. Now that this happened I will be sure to double-check this going forward and this shouldn't happen again.
This is such an easy one I can’t believe I overlooked it. I forgot to turn on my vacation email responder. *facepalm*
Typically when you are away, it’s a good idea to have your out of office turned on for your email. I had written out the message which included the dates that I will be away and when I would be back to resume work. Of course, I just forgot to turn it on so emails were coming through and no one got the automated email.
Luckily I realized this mistake early in the two weeks of vacation and was able to log on to Gmail and turn it on. Quick fix, but such an easy thing to overlook when you’re caught up in the chaos of packing and getting all your ducks in a row before you head out.
Now for the wins…
So those things that went wrong weren't so bad but they were things that I learned from and will keep in mind going forward for the next time that I go away. There was also a bunch of things that really worked well and you can do these things also to make it easier to go away stress free.
For my weekly blog, I always put out a new post on Wednesday mornings. Knowing that I was going to be away for two Wednesdays I planned ahead and wrote out the posts ahead of time and scheduled them for each of the Wednesdays that I was away. I also wrote a post for the week that I was coming back so that I gave myself time to get back into the swing of things and not have to worry about writing up another post to keep my consistency going.
I am so happy that I planned ahead because I did not have to worry about providing content while I was gone. It was a great feeling that no one knew I wasn't here because everything was still coming out on time. Along with the blog post, I had my emails all pre-written and scheduled to go out the same day so everybody was notified about the new content.
For your business, you can easily do this by batching your content creation and then scheduling it out accordingly to cover the days that you will be on vacation.
On the sales end of my business, everything is automated so there was nothing for me to worry about unless somebody reached out with a question, which they did not so I did not have to do any customer service emails. Many questions can be avoided by providing a FAQ section for your products, which I have included on my sales pages. I highly recommend doing this in your business to cut down on the number of customer service emails.
I also have a service-based business that I had before this website, that I still run which entails graphic design and marketing work for select clients. In order to get set up for vacation with my clients for Project Media, I had emailed them two months ago when I booked the trip and let them know that I was going to be away and gave them the two months notice to get their projects into me early so I can complete them before I left.
Everything with my clients ran smoothly and they were very well aware that while I was away, I would not do any client work. I recommend that if you are a service-based business and you would like to take time off, just make sure that you give them a big heads up with time so they can get everything into you early. I would say at least a month early but as soon as you book a vacation or you know you're not going to be around for an extended period of time, I would let them know right away. The more notice, the better.
Make sure to have all your projects completed and closed out before you leave. This will eliminate your clients for having to get in touch with you while you’re away.
Quick recap of what to do before you go away:
Plan and batch content ahead of time
Notify clients ahead of time
Close out existing projects before leaving
Triple test all automations
Turn on your out of office email response
Hopefully taking time off is not a scary thought to you and I highly recommend that you do make time for yourself and that you do plan vacations or even just a week away from work to enjoy yourself. Having time away from your business is very good to clear head and come back refreshed.
I am writing this post after coming back from my two weeks away and I'm actually really excited to get back to work and I've missed it. I appreciate being able to do what I do and I am enjoying writing posts, creating content and working on new products. I'm very excited and I don't feel burnt out of any sort.
Time away is good and you should never ever feel guilty about having some you time and enjoying yourself. We all work hard so we can enjoy the freedom of having our own online businesses. All you need is to dedicate some time to plan everything out ahead of time so going on vacation will never feel stressful.