Take Time Off…Your Clients Won’t Hate You!

taking time offWhen you run your own business, you’re on 7 days per week 365 days/year! There are no sick days or paid time off.  There’s always something to do- marketing, accounting, prospecting, meetings, invoicing, administrative work, phone calls, emails, etc.

Solopreneurs and other self-employed professionals are always struggling to take time off and the current economic situation is making it even more difficult.

There’s a big misconception that being self employed gives you more freedom but in reality, in order to be successful you’ll usually have to work twice as much. However, if you let your business take over your life, more than likely the quality of your work and your productivity will suffer. It’s important to recharge and take time off so that when you come back you have fresher ideas and more positive energy.

Keep in mind that taking time off when you’re self-employed takes some planning.  Here are a few things you can do to make it less stressful.

1.    Notify your contacts

  • Post an auto-response in your e-mail with your vacation dates
  • Leave a message on your voicemail
  • Create a post on your blog
  • Send a few Tweets, and a message on Facebook
  • Send a newsletter or e-Newsletter
  • Call your most important clients

2.    Make a list

Write down everything you’re working on and what you have to do. Prioritize your work and finish up any loose ends. Decide what can wait until you get back.

3.    Share your work with a trusted Associate

If you have someone you trust, you can exchange services so that you cover each other when you’re on vacation or when you need to take time off. This won’t cost you anything but make sure that you can trust your backup and that their values and work ethics area aligned with yours. Obviously, the work that you would delegate would be simple tasks such as responding to emergencies, emails, phone calls, publishing a blog post, etc.

4.    Outsource your work

There are plenty of freelancers, virtual assistants and people that provide temporary services or work on per project basis for situations like this. It’s probably a good idea to try out the service before you go on vacation to make sure that it’s going to work out and that they can handle the job.

5.    Use Technology

  • This might go against the meaning of vacations but with today’s technology, cell phones and other devices, it’s easier than ever to stay connected with your clients.
  • If you’re using sites like WordPress for your blog you can schedule your blog posts so that it will publish your articles automatically while you’re gone.
  •  When doing email marketing, tools like Constant Contact  (affiliate) will allow you to schedule your marketing campaign in advance.
  • When using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, try using Hootsuite  (affiliate) to schedule your posts during your time off. Just posting a few times throughout your absence will keep your accounts looking active.

From a business perspective, chances are nothing that monumental will happen while you’re gone. Remember, time off is necessary for both your physical and mental health.

Do you ever take time off and totally unplug?

Genevieve Lachance is a web marketing consultant who has a passion for social media and technology based in Montreal, Canada. Read More About Me »