Around here, we summer hard. We take every opportunity to take a break, go out of town, or simply explore anything that comes to mind. This summer my parents were coming into town, I had the opportunity to join my husband on a work trip to Europe, we celebrated his birthday in Vegas, and will go home to Hawaii to pick up the kids at the end of the summer. This summer I will take a total of 6 weeks off from work. Yes, that’s a lot of time off…but that’s fine. I run my own business and I have the opportunity to build it around my life and family…not the other way around. Here are some things that I did to prepare my business for my extended break.
When I’m actually in town, my office hours during the summer decrease dramatically. They go from me working from 8:00-3:30, Monday through Friday, to 9:00-1:00 Tuesday through Thursday…sometimes even less if I don’t have any appointments that day. I make sure that these new hours are defined for clients in my email signature and on my inquiry webpage so that I set clear expectations.
I send a direct email out to my contracted clients informing them of my office hour changes and my out of town dates. In this email I will notify them of how this may or may not impact their project (usually it doesn’t because I make sure to schedule accordingly leading up to my vacation/break). Clients will never mind that you’re taking time off when they know what to expect. Here is a newsletter email that I sent out to clients prior to this summer.
About two months prior to the summer break, I took every opportunity to work on scheduling blogs and social media through my favorite scheduling platform, Planoly. I had a come to Jesus talk with myself about what was “good enough” and it definitely wasn’t posting every day…so I scheduled posts 3 times a week through the end of the summer so that I wouldn’t have to worry about content. (Don’t worry, you can post less than this too!)
Prior to checking out of the office for my vacation, I took the time to check on each of my clients in Dubsado to make sure their automated workflows were set correctly. I rely heavily on Dubsado to keep my business going, both when I’m in the office and when I’m out of the office. It ensures that I’m educating my clients and setting expectations…all without me having to touch anything. Even though I’m not in the office, my clients are still being well taken care of.
The day before I leave to go out of town I make sure to set my vacation responder in my gmail account. In this email I make sure to tell people that I’m out of the office & when they should be expecting to hear back from me. I also include links to ways that they can find out more about me and my work. Sometimes I choose to leave out the details of where I am, but other times I want clients to know that I’m enjoying my family too (you’d love some of the responses I get back from clients with well wishes!).
Here’s an example of the recent vacation responder I posted before going out of town:
I am currently out of the office working with a client in Colorado for the next few days.
If you are a client and we are currently working on a contracted project together, I will make sure to respond within 24-48 business hours. I will respond to all other emails and inquiries when I return to the office on Monday, July 18th.
Here are the digital tools that I use frequently in my business: take a look at this blog on my favorite computer-based business tools, and this blog on how I automate my inquiry process, and how I balance my life with digital tools.