It wasn’t just the cost of a holiday I had to factor, but loss of earnings too – because at that time, it was very much hours in for money out in my business.
As I’m now into my third year in business though, I actively plan time out and holidays, and have found a way to take a work-free holiday whilst running a business and without feeling guilty, stressed out or losing out on income.
Here are the seven steps I took, in hope that it helps you find the time (and money) to take some well-deserved time out this year:
1. Give yourself the same holiday allowance as an employee
I actually mapped my holiday time against my fiancé Tim’s, found out how many days holiday he gets a year and gave myself the same amount. It turned out to be 25 days, not including bank holidays.
2. Schedule time off at the start of the year
With my 25 days (plus bank holidays) in hand, I sat down with my calendar at the start of the year and planned out the majority of my time off – marking it as ‘DAY OFF’ or ‘HOLIDAY’ and clearing the space so nothing else could be scheduled in on those days. Most of it was at the same time as Tim’s of course, but I kept a few days for me to go away with friends and do some business retreats.
3. Work out your ‘day rate’
One of the problems business owners have (especially when they are just starting out) is that they figure out an income goal for the year, or maybe even the month, but they don’t work out how much that equates to daily, and so don’t really know what they should be filling their days with. Then, if they take a holiday, they see their income drop or feel the lack of it. So, once I’d taken holiday, bank holidays and weekends out of the equation, I knew I had x number of working days left to earn my money. I then divided my yearly income goal by that number to get my daily income goal. That was so enlightening for me because I could then work out how many clients I needed to have as a minimum to make that money.
4. Get help to cover the holiday
If you were to go away whilst an employee, you’d likely have a colleague or someone to cover you right? Well, there’s no reason you can’t do the same. When I went to Madeira in April this year, I had a VA (virtual assistant) schedule and check my newsletter and blog went out. It didn’t cost much but it was piece of mind that it was done and looked after. Depending on how your business works, you might need more help than a VA for an hour or two, but you deserve to get support and holiday cover. Just build it into your income goals (see point 3 above).
5. Create ways to make passive income
Passive income is money that you make without having to put hours in. So products, courses, programs, eBooks etc. are all types of passive income. Once you’ve done the hard work creating it, and setting up a sales funnel and marketing, you keep getting paid every time someone purchases it. I’ve started to incorporate passive income products, like a social media strategy e-course, to create ongoing income. The more I do this, the more I’m able to make money, even when I take time out.
And, every business can make a passive income product. If you were to do a talk or workshop on a topic, that could become a passive income product.
6. Let go of guilt
A lot of issues that business owners’ have with holiday is they just feel so guilty being away from the business. It’s ok, and it’s completely normal, but if you want some well-earned rest and time to relax and recoup you need to find a way to release that guilt. For me, talking to my business buddies about the guilt of leaving my business was enough to shift it so I didn’t feel bad and could completely enjoy the time away.
7. Don’t take any work-stuff away
This is a biggie, which is why I’m ending on it:
DO NOT TAKE YOUR LAPTOP ON HOLIDAY WITH YOU!!!
If you’re going away with someone else, or the family, they’ll resent you for it. And, you will not enjoy your holiday knowing you ‘just have to check your email’ or ‘take a client call’. Leave it at home, and deal with it when you get back.
And, if that’s really too hard, I suggest taking some time to think about why you can’t leave it for a few days or a week… you didn’t go into business to spend every hour of every day working. I’m pretty sure you did it for control and freedom of your life and free time. That means, taking free time and enjoying it!