vacation, business

Sharpen Your Ax – Your Business Will Thank You For It Later

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It’s 6 AM and your mind is already filled with the tasks for the day. You work through business strategies and ideas and even have a mental discussion with an unruly staff member. You munch your breakfast in silence as you think through marketing strategies and before you know it, you’re on your way to work.

This may be your own business, but face it, you’ve never worked harder in your life! There is simply no way in the foreseeable future you can even dream of going on vacation. Is there?

Are You Achieving Your Self-Employment Goals?

You left your steady 9-to-5 to pursue your own thing. You want that extra time to spend with your family and have more room to go away on holidays or mini breaks. The only problem is, you’re working longer hours now than ever before and the thought of leaving your business for even a few short hours gives you the heebie-jeebies. This could be because you went in without a clear goal in mind, and the only goal was to “make it work”. Here are a few examples of goals that should be mapped out in your office, within easy reach.

  • Have x amount of clients at x rate.
  • Break even by this date.
  • Spend 8 hours or less, Monday to Friday. Saturdays and Sundays are for fun excursions and exploring.
  • Take a week off work every x months.
  • Make x per day within the next x months.

See how this works? If you’re just going in blindly every day, you’re not creating the space you need to do all the things you want to do. Once you have the main goal, you can break them down into small chunks. For instance, if you need to make x amount of money and you only want to work a certain amount of hours, you will understand your rates a little better. This will allow you to attract the right kind of client at the right rate.

Do You Trust Your Staff?

For many business owners, the thought of leaving their staff alone with the clients has them on speed dial to a cardiac specialist in minutes. I’m talking to the business owners who physically don’t have to be there for operations to continue. If this is you, you either don’t have the right staff OR you’re not the right owner. Yes, it’s as simple as that. There is nothing worse for a staff member who knows what they’re doing to have an owner lurk over their shoulders every 5 minutes. The other end of the spectrum is not providing sufficient training for your staff to allow them to keep the boat afloat when you’re not there. It just creates stress on both ends.

  • Step back and learn to trust your staff.
  • Put measures in place to ensure your processes have no loopholes.
  • If you’re worried about theft, cameras are great. Also, streamlined processes work well here as well. It’s not 100% foolproof, but it’s better than sitting there policing your staff all day.
  • Train your staff properly. Not just the technical side of things but also how to give good customer service, how to handle conflict, and proper etiquette for answering the phone or emails. This really goes a long way.

You Run a One-Person Show

Yep, like me, you don’t get paid when you don’t work. This is where savings really go a long way. Also, it’s important to let your clients know that you won’t be around for a period of time and that any urgent projects need to be taken care of before a certain date.

  • Calculate how much earnings you may miss out during that period and set it aside. This means your holiday costs you double, but heck, it’s worth it.
  • Work in some extra hours to make up for those lost days.
  • If you have urgent projects that need attention and you’re taking your work with you, try not to spend more than an hour a day. Also, if your family enjoys sleeping in during vacations, you can wake up an hour before everyone and get some work done. Make sure the venue has coverage, though! If not, rather send the work to a colleague in the industry. Yes, you may lose the client but you will build a good relationship with that colleague.

What worked well for me was that I did the calculation and managed to work in quite a few hours extra before I went on holiday. An extra hour a day goes a long way.

Learn To Let Go

It’s tough and face it, as a business owner you suffer severe FOMO, but don’t let it get you down. Take a deep breath, make those plans and work for it. Going away will give you a clear indication of whether your business is heading in the right direction. If you cannot afford to steal away for a few days, you’re heading down a slippery slope of overworking. Before you know it, you’ll long for that 9-to-5er again.

So learn to let go and learn to love and enjoy your business.

  • Set those goals
  • Work those hours
  • Make those plans

Let your business work for you!

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