When you're constantly working on and in your business you forget to schedule in some down time for yourself. The summer is the perfect time to take that downtime, especially if it means taking a vacation somewhere nice.
But then there's always the worry that if you're not involved in your business on a daily basis that things will fall apart and you won't have any business to come back to when you return. Today I'd like to share with you three simple steps that you can take to ensure your business runs smoothly when you decide to take time away ... and you can apply these three steps any time you want to take a vacation; not just the summertime:
Step 1: Manage Your Schedule
The first step, and most important step, is to actually schedule your time off in your calendar. Once it's on your calendar and you can see it you're unlikely to accidentally schedule in a client call, meeting, or other event that will encroach upon your down time.
And if you're not taking a vacation but just want to take say every afternoon off during the summer, schedule that in too. That way you'll keep your mornings free for client work and other business building activities and the afternoons will be your own.
Also plan your programs and trainings around your vacation time. For example, especially around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, don't schedule in any teleclasses or other trainings; allow for that time away.
Something that is important to me is being able to have a lot of free time during July and August when my children are on summer vacation, so I plan my programs and training around the academic school year - that way I can plan for their other school holidays too.
Step 2: Preschedule any Ezines and other Broadcasts
If you publish an ezine/newsletter on a regular basis just because you're away on vacation doesn't mean that your ezine shouldn't go out... in fact it's crucial to your business that you do continue with your ezine. With today's list management services you can preschedule your newsletter ahead of time so it will get delivered exactly when it should.
And taking some time away is a good opportunity to mix things up a bit and do something different. For example this past summer instead of producing my regular weekly ezine I created a 'Summer Special' which provided several different learning opportunities for my subscribers. It was a much shorter publication and the fact that I had to prepare several ahead of time made it really quick for me to do so.
Step 3: Autoresponders are a Solopreneur's Best Friend
Many hosting accounts offer you the option of setting up autoresponders on your various email accounts - these are also known as out-of-office replies. When someone sends you an email your server will automatically send them a pre-written email letting them know that you're currently on vacation. You can write this email to say whatever suits your circumstances, but generally it should cover the fact that you're not available between certain dates and state when you'll be back. That way the sender knows not to expect a reply until after your return and they won't be left hanging.
This is very common practice amongst business owners and makes the process of taking some time away very easy to manage. Do check with your hosting account to see if they offer this service.
Remember: taking time away for yourself is very important to your business growth. Use the three steps I've outlined above to plan for your vacation and you'll be able to go away relaxed and confident in the knowledge that your business will be just fine for a little while and will be there when you come back.
Online Business Development Strategist, Tracey Lawton, teaches online solo service professionals how to create the essential online marketing and office organization systems needed so that they can create a more streamlined, systemized, and automated online business. Check out http://www.officeorganizationsuccess.com for fr.ee how-to articles, resources, tips, and tools, and sign up for your fr.ee "Office Organization Success Toolkit".