When was the last time you took a break from work? A real break that is. No phone, no computer, no clients calling you to ask where you are, no emails and calendar reminders?
If you are a sole trader, the chances of that happening are pretty much slim to not at all, especially if your business is thriving. Which we know is both a good and a bad thing of course.
It’s great that your business is booming, but not so great that your business needs you at the helm continually so it can continue to exist let alone grow.
As we also know, our lives also require balance.
You cannot work on your business 24/7; you do need down time, especially if you want to remain sane that is.
So what do you do when you need to take a break from the workload, recharge and get ready for the next big push?
You prepare your business and your team for your absence. Which also sounds like a misnomer – you need to do more work before you can stop working for a while. And you may also say that I don’t have a team, I am a sole trader.
We would have to challenge that line of thinking and say, everyone has a team, even if they don’t work directly with you. For example everyone has:
A Financial Team:
Regardless of where you are and what you are doing, your finances need to be dealt with while you are away. Online banking and scheduling make paying bills easy. You know your incomings and your outgoings so schedule them accordingly. And if all else fails, talk to the bank.
It is a good idea if you don’t advertise to your client base that you are going away. Enlist the help of someone to answer the phones and manage your appointments while you are away and you can rest assured that your clients will be treated with the utmost care. Of course there are many organisations (including ours) that can handle those and many other tasks on your behalf while you are away, which means you don’t have to worry about missing leads or disappointing your customer base.
Links to Social Media:
As with your client base, it is also a good idea not to broadcast your change in circumstances to your social media client base either. Nothing is entirely private so it pays to be a little circumspect if you are leaving your home and office premises unattended to prevent unwanted visitors while you are away.
Take advantage of the forward scheduling tools available in social media. Schedule a block of content and let it run for you. It doesn’t stop you from responding to comments, questions and thanking people for responding but let’s face it that’s the fun part anyway and easily done while you are relaxing.
Emails that need answering and appointments that need scheduling:
Set up an email auto-response if you absolutely have to, but never begin with “Dear Valued Customer” I am going away for a couple of weeks and I’ll be in touch when I get back. Nothing says, you are not a valued customer more than that overused comment. And what of those appointment requests or bookings you receive? These are slightly harder to deal with if you don’t have business support, but a relevant auto responder can help you.
Mail to pick up respond to:
Get someone to pick up your mail or get the post office to hold it until you get back. If you are going to be away for some time it is a good idea to ensure your mail is actioned where appropriate and bills scheduled so you don’t ruin your credit rating.
Home and family (including fur babies) to take care of:
If you are a sole trader, you may also work from home. Family and friends can be recruited to empty mail boxes, water plants and feed, water and exercise your fur babies. This has many benefits for the sole trader working from a home office as security is always a concern. If you would prefer not to let extended family and friends look after your home and home office, there are many other options, including hiring a house sitter or a personal concierge.
Rest assured your business will be taken care of in your absence and you can enjoy your break.