Small Business Owners Need Time Off Too

self employed vacationBeing self-employed or a small business owner sounds great starting out: vacation and days off whenever you want to, being your own boss, setting your own hours. This lasts about as long as it takes to open the doors to your business, and then the reality sets in.

Between making payroll, keeping clients happy, and the never-ending stream of emergencies only you can handle, just arranging time away can turn your dream into a nightmare.

If you feel like you’re burning your candle at ends it doesn’t have, now is the time to plan your escape!


R & R – Tips for Making It Happen

1) Make a firm schedule, and make sure your employees have a clearly defined procedure for what to do, and not, in your absence. If you are self-employed, tell your contractors you’ll be away from the office and unavailable for work until you return. Once you’ve made your schedule, stick to it. Taking a few days off is a good way to find out just how capable your employees actually are, and shows you trust them.

2) Unplug the computer and leave the cell phone somewhere else. This is especially hard for people who rely on computers and phones as their lifelines, but if you see more of your computer than your loved ones, it’s past time to take a break. If you absolutely must monitor a sensitive situation, check your messages and email once a day just in case, but don’t reply unless it’s unavoidable. Constantly checking in to make sure everything is running smoothly can come off as micromanaging your employees, causing resentment.

3) Delegate authority. If your employees know what you expect from them, they will rise to the challenge. This has the added benefit of allowing you to find out how various people perform in your absence, allowing you to make staff adjustments and other decisions. Be sure to name the person in charge and that the other staff is clear on who’s calling the shots.

4) Ask “what if” questions. These can help you plan for any scenario that may arise while you’re away, minimizing the chances your employees may need to reach you. If you are self-employed, this can help you formulate a checklist and ensure that you don’t leave any loose ends when you’re away.

5) Leave the office at the office. Remember when you’re taking a vacation that you’ve earned the time away. Fretting over what may be happening without you there to oversee every detail can actually cause more stress than being there. This takes time away from your vacation and can create tension and anxiety for you and your family.

Even if you’re fulfilling your dreams as a small business owner, you’re working to live, not the other way around. Once you leave the office for your vacation, you’re on your own time. If you’ve created a solid plan and itinerary you can stick to, you’ll come back from your vacation refreshed and ready to get to work!

About the Author

Justin Tierney is a entrepreneur and adjunct business professor who contributes frequently to business and education resources.  Check out more of his expert advice at Masters in Business Degree Guide.