Are you wanting to take some time off but you’re thinking, “How can I go away when I have so much to do?”
Last year, I was able to go on vacation for three weeks in one month where I barely worked. I got away from my business and enjoyed my vacation! That’s all because of this one secret that’s been helping me.
This topic came about because there were moments when I was soaking in the pool in Mexico, meeting people who have a nine-to-five, and even chatting with some business owners who said, “Man, how can you take three weeks of vacation this month? I'm taking just one, and I still have to check-in. I still have to do work every day.”
Yeah, not everyone knows how they can take vacation from their business. I reflected on how for soooooo long I didn’t know either and would be working in my hotel room or in the business centre instead of enjoying my trip.
Now I can enjoy trips and I’m grateful. I was so grateful when I’m sitting and sipping on some pina coladas in Mexico for a week, and as I was laying on the beach in Maui, watching the surfers without any Wi-Fi access (I didn't even get data because I knew I didn't need it), I thought how amazing that I do get to be away and my business still runs! Also grateful I could be in Vegas on a family trip.
I don’t share this to rub it in. I really needed that vacation time and I’m sure you do too. I needed to reconnect with myself. I needed to not be needed by anyone because the joy of two of the weeks is that I went away without my family, which was such a privilege. I'm so grateful to my husband, not that he gave me permission, but for holding down the fort, so that I was able to go.
So the trick is having a business, you can get away from. Right?!
If you need to be in an office, or selling a product in a shop, then this isn't going to work as well for you. Maybe the next step for you is to ask yourself, “Do I want to move to a more location-freedom lifestyle?”
In the beginning, when I went on vacation I’d have to put in a few hours each day just to be on top of things. Or I'd work like a dog before I went. I'd be pulling 12-15 hour days just to make sure I got everything done before I left and then when I got back, I'd be dreading the email inbox that was so full.
Imagine saying to a friend, “Oh, sure I’ll join you in Mexico” and “Oh, yeah, I'd love to go to Hawaii with you the week after Mexico.”
So what is the secret that has helped me to accept adventures and not have to work and still be able to do a bunch of things in my business? Like launch a program or bring on more team members, and still have my podcast, blog, newsletters - all of the stuff that happens behind the scenes? Well, the secret is having a team or at least a team member.
I had Canadian assistants in my business, for around eight years. The first three years were kind of on and off with different people, nothing really formal, and then moving into a specific number of hours every single week, from a specific person, that worked out really well. But then I wanted someone with more hours, with more tech skills and knowledge of all the software that's out there now. Our list of software is massive and bringing someone on to be able to handle that has been really the secret sauce to my business and me being able to step away and take a real vacation.
Three things you can do with your team so you can take a vacation!
For the past two years, I have had two team members from the Philippines who have really helped me and my business. I also have another ten team members from the Philippines who are supporting clients of mine so they can also go on vacation.
Here are the three things that will help you so you can enjoy your vacation!
First: Do tasks in advance.
I talked to my team and I asked, “What do you need from me before I go?”
Here’s what they answered:
Also look over your own calendar for the week you're going to be away and think, “What do I need to prepare in advance so that I can be away and things will be taken care of?” Then pass it off to your VA.
Second: Give your team or team member power.
That power means they have access to documents they need, or logins to websites, access to software. By giving them access they have the power to get into things and do things. Then you can very easily on the fly say:
Because not only do they need to do what’s normally done, but also tasks that pop up - that you didn't know they were going to happen. Can you imagine asking, “Can you go and share that document?”
While I was away, I actually had one of my VAs create a new contract because we have a certain contract that we do for our virtual assistants, but we were hiring a bookkeeper from the Philippines to support our clients. We needed a new contract made. So I asked, “Can you just go into the old contract, edit that out, I'll look it over, then we'll send it out?”
Now, could I have done that? Yes, I could have done that, but did I want to leave the pool? No. How did I know that needed to be done? Because my team and I have a couple of apps that I can use on my phone, so it's super simple for me to just look, see the message, and give them a reply. Or to go into our project management tool and give them some feedback on something or just quickly look at something.
The last piece about giving them power is actually giving them the ability to do some decision-making. For instance, we were doing some hiring, and I said,
Now, this isn't something you can just do on the fly. You might want to start training in advance of your vacation to know you can pass it off. It's great in your business to keep looking at what you have, and what you have to do, what's on your plate as a CEO and ask yourself, “Where can I pass more of this work off and give more power to my VA or my team so that there's less for me to do and I can step up into higher impact tasks?”
Third: Have systems and processes in place.
This is crucial if you’re going to take any time off or if you just don't want to micromanage people. Having some systems and processes allows there to be some consistency in your business. Also, it really helps your VAs to know they're on track without having to ask you.
For example, for us, this was in our newsletters. We have a specific system that happens, a process we follow in preparing it and sending it out. Our podcast also has a very specific system with lots of different processes in it. Along with our content creation system.
The beauty of this is we just roll through the system every week or every time we do something. My team now can say to me, “Hey, are we doing XYZ like we did last time?” I answer, “Yep!” Or they'll say, “Hey, can we refine our system and do this additional step?” I respond, “That's perfect.” So I know there's consistency in their output.
While I'm on vacation, I don't want to worry, “Are they going to do this right?” I know that since we have already put in systems and processes, they're just going to follow them. It's going to be so amazing to see the results.
Even if you're not going on vacation, you need to have these things so that you can start stepping away from certain projects, tasks, departments, or parts of your business.
So ask yourself, when was the last time you took a vacation from your business? Not just a vacation in life, but a vacation from your business? On a scale of one to ten, how confident are you that you could completely step away from your business? Ten being “I could completely step away” and one being “not at all”.
If you’re an eight out of ten that you can step away from my business for a week, what is stopping you from the ten? Is it because you still need to check your email? Or you still need to oversee certain parts of your business or you're just afraid?
Then what would be the difference? Is it the three things I mentioned? Is it doing tasks in advance so that you can look things over and give approval? Maybe it’s to give more power through logins, access, decision-making to your team. Or is it the last piece around systems and processes? Maybe you can't leave because you don't have those dialed in.
Now if you want to do this on your own, go for it. I did it on my own in the beginning, and then brought on team members and hired them with the assistance of a program.
Or I can just hire them for you. If you want to be involved in a program we call Virtual Assistant Made Easy where we hire a VA for you, share our systems and processes so you can get things off your plate, then message my team at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know you're wanting to hire a VA. Want more info about it? Then attend the event, “Go from Overwhelm to Ease with the Help of a VA” on Feb 10th from 10am-12pm PT.
We will help you bring one onto your team or into your business so you can have that vacation without worrying. You’ll be able to step away from your business so that when you get back, you're refreshed, you’re ready, you've tapped back into the vision and into yourself, and you just feel ready to go again.
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