Business owners are the worst culprits for over working – especially if they are sole traders. They are the business, so if they stop working, everything grinds to a halt.
Whilst running a small business can be very rewarding, it seems that taking a holiday is rarely one of those rewards. The thought of spending time away from your business can be a daunting prospect, but it’s so important to take regular breaks for your general health and wellbeing, not to mention your productivity and motivation!
So we have two choices – we go on holiday, but half our mind is on the business, (especially when we can check emails on our phone by the pool!) or we don’t go away at all and ultimately drive ourselves to exhaustion.
But what if there was a third option…what if there was such a thing as a business sitter? Someone who could take care of the basics, like:
- Keeping your social media accounts active
- Responding to customer queries by email
- Creating your monthly newsletter
- Ensuring that your blog posts go out on time
- Managing your emails so that you don’t have a ridiculous inbox on your return
These might seem like simple things, and they may not be the be-all and end-all when it comes to the success of your business, but they are just enough to ensure that your customers feel looked after and that nothing important slips through the net. With someone managing these tasks in your absence, you are more likely to relax and enjoy quality time with your loved ones, instead of constantly going off to make calls and check emails.
So, does this “business sitter” really exist? Yes! They’re called virtual assistants and they could be the perfect solution to your holiday dilemma. As self-employed contractors, not only do they personally understand the importance of keeping a business running but they can also be hired as and when you need them, making them ideal for holiday cover.
Deciding that you are going to take a break is a good first step. Enlisting the help of a VA is an even better step. However putting the structures in place so that everything runs smoothly and you can truly switch off on holiday requires a little forward planning.
Here’s a brief step-by-step guide on how to prepare:
- Make a list of your daily business tasks
- Prioritise which are the most important to maintain while you’re away
- Determine which tasks can be managed by a VA in your absence
- As you undertake the tasks in the few weeks leading up to your holiday, keep a note of the steps you take to complete them so that you can pass on these procedures to your assistant
- Remember that your VA is new to the company – look out all the company information that you can so that they can get to know your business
- Think about your current projects and clients and make a list of potential issues or queries that might come up and how to deal with them
- Create a set of criteria that would determine an “emergency” (in business terms!) and provide your VA with your personal contact details so that they can get hold of you if that situation arises
Follow these steps and your business-sitting experience should go off without a hitch! And who knows, maybe you’ll like it so much that you’ll want to work with a VA all the time…? 😉