Time Out: 5 Ways to Disconnect From Your Biz

By Stefanie Neyland, Small Business Content Developer at Bizlaunch.com


As entrepreneurs, we’re all guilty of skipping much-needed vacation time fearing that in our absence, our business may fall apart at the seams. Deep down we know that this simply isn’t the case, but it doesn’t make the idea any less frightening. The truth is that self-employed people naturally work longer hours and endure more stress, and with that comes the need for regular, scheduled vacation time—whether you like it or not.


While we may never be comfortable with the idea of letting our business run without us (even if only for a little while), there are several ways you can lessen the separation anxiety. If you can put enough systems in place to ensure your business runs like clockwork even when you’re not present, you’ll be able to fully wind down; ready to return refreshed, motivated and raring to go.


So give yourself a break—and enjoy it—with these tips to help you keep your business afloat while you’re taking some well-deserved respite.


1. Make time for downtime.

First things first: plan your vacation time long in advance. This isn’t just so you can prepare yourself before having to leave your company, but also so you can make sure everything’s all set for your business to tick along nicely while you’re gone. Make sure you have no important contracts, meetings, or anything else going in the weeks on either side of your vacation to ensure there’s no pressing matters that will require immediate action from you.


2. Automate your admin.

Nowadays you can automate almost all aspects of your business—and it’s high time we took advantage of the software available to us by automating important tasks as much as possible. Explore sites and software that allow you to automatize your social media, marketing and sales efforts.


3. Hire a virtual assistant.

Virtual assistant services will handle things like incoming phone calls, emails, invoicing—and pretty much any other operational chore. They will reasonably charge you for any work performed, allowing you to keep the ‘open for business’ sign glowing. Search online for a VA near you and request a quote.


4. Buy a smartphone.

Owning a smartphone is a must nowadays, but you’d be surprised at how many business owners still haven’t upgraded their trusty older models. Why would they? That steadfast Nokia 3310 hasn’t missed a beat since they bought it! Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is this: if you want to be able to run your business from anywhere, an up-to-date device with state-of-the-art technology is essential. A smartphone will not only allow you to keep on top of your calls and emails while on vacation, but it will also enable you to access important documents and stay abreast of industry happenings with the help of a few handy apps.


5. Post a vacation alert.

Ask your webmaster to post a vacation alert on your emails so customers know you’ll be unavailable for a short period of time. You’ll still receive emails to your inbox ready to deal with them upon your return (or when you sneak down to the hotel lobby when no one’s looking to take advantage of the free WiFi).


Remember: The most important asset to your small business is you. Entrepreneur burnout and stress contribute to the downfall of many start-ups, so be sure to invest in your self with a little well deserved time-off. Believe it or not, your business will survive for a couple of weeks without you.

By Andrew Patricio

October 10, 2013