My mind never thought of holidays. I was running my businesses as best I could and was worried about everything that entrepreneurs worry about. There was no such thing as mentors then or management consultants that assisted micro businesses. There are today, and they are a godsend, or so I think. Maybe, it’s because I am one.
In real life, I don’t honestly think that is the case. It’s because I can see them as being absolutely necessary for entrepreneurs. I wish I had them back in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s.
I should have taken holidays. These days, I advise clients to also have a personal life and a social life. Take time off for holidays. Get to know your spouse and kids again. Recharge your batteries and come back refreshed.
However, and there is always a however, you have to know how to take a holiday, which includes preparation. Here are eight tips to assist you.
1. Give warning in advance
Any reasonable person understands that people take holidays, so no one should be surprised when you announce that you are taking time off. If people don’t know, then they will contact you on, say, Monday. And then when they email you on Tuesday you are gone away. That is irritating, unprofessional and unacceptable. Give people time to ask you about various projects, invoices, paperwork and so on.
2. Take as much time as you can
Take as much time as you can. That may sound simplistic, but the logic is that you may want to go to Orlando and the parks, the Space Centre then go to Miami, Key West and then to the Everglades and Clearwater. That will take three weeks at least. Your business may not be able to afford that either financially or timewise this year. So take a few days off that you can afford and chillax. Chilling may not be part of your nature, but just do it. You may even enjoy it.
Pay bills that you need to, inform customers and suppliers, delay big projects, brief your employees. Alice Bredin is a small business advisor to American Express. She says “Preparation is hard to do, but well worth it for the peace of mind you’ll have on vacation.”
4. Check in time. Dos and don’ts.
There are different theories here. One says that a holiday is a holiday and you should leave work behind. I’ve been self employed for over 30 years and find that to be impossible. As an entrepreneur, you are always looking for opportunities and new contacts. What you don’t want to do is to be that annoying person who is always checking their emails and phone calls when they are out. When you are out with your family and friends you are theirs for that time. Respect that and give them 100%. You may want to allocate an hour or two every morning or evening to check in, do emails, phone calls, social media and so on.
There is no single tactic that works for everyone. Develop your own. As an entrepreneur you have to relax and wind down. I’m giving advice here that I find hard to take myself, but I do try and am more successful at it in recent years.
|“There is something about creating these events that we look forward to, and in some cases people get as much pleasure out of the anticipation of a vacation than they do the actual vacation.”|
5. Maybe it’s a test run.
Succession is important for a business. What happens if you get sick and have to take extended time off? You have to groom some employees for management roles. You have to prepare for retirement. You may want to develop your business to the next level. That means you need someone to run your present business while you prepare the expansion.
Taking the holiday could be your time to test-run this process.
6. Allow yourself to get excited.
‘Normal’ people as well as entrepreneurs love holidays. We love to look forward to it, plan what we are going to do and generally dream about it. That’s fine, it’s part of the enjoyment. We plan, pack and worry about it. Joyce Moroney is a Director of the Workforce Institute at Kronos. She says “There is something about creating these events that we look forward to, and in some cases people get as much pleasure out of the anticipation of a vacation than they do the actual vacation.”
7. Don’t allow yourself to get stressed.
Running a business is stressful. Preparing for a holiday can also be stressful. Having a family who is demanding things to happen on holiday can be stressful as well. If all of this hits you, then you need to take stock. Slow down on something. Try to prepare the business better to operate without you or with limited input from you. Agree with your family on things that you will and won’t do. If lying on a beach all day annoys you, then agree with your family that there is a compromise.
8. Don’t feel you have to apologise.
We all deserve need time out to relax, enjoy good food, have a few drinks, get to know the family again, recharge the batteries. Don’t feel guilty and apologise for it. Just do it. Guilt is a wasted emotion.