The endless weeks of prep are coming to an end, your mobile calendar-countdown app has finally reached single figures, and you’re already debating whether your suitcase is big enough – all this means one thing; it’s vacation time!
It’s an exciting time, but when you’re a business owner it can actually be quite stressful, too. In fact, I’ve heard of some business owners avoiding vacations altogether because it will “just cause too much stress”.
It’s understandable. But why should you avoid holidays just because you’re a business owner. Running a company is super stressful, so some R&R is a must.
So, this article is going to show you all of the essential planning you need to do ahead of your vacation, to ensure you can fully enjoy your time away. And if you haven’t had a break in years because you fall into the – “I haven’t got the time” or “it will cause more stress” category – then read this article, get your plan set and go book that much needed holiday.
Only read on if you feel you deserve a holiday…
First of all – let’s plan ahead.
Ok, so the first thing we need to do is put a plan in place. Write down your vacation date and wrap it with a big felt tip circle. This is the date we need to plan towards. D-Day, if you will.
You then need to segment the remaining weeks. Write down the date of the last day where you will accept appointments. This will then help you when booking in sessions etc. for the upcoming weeks.
Next, I want you to add a date on when you will officially start letting clients and subscribers know that you’re going on vacation. You will then be able to structure your marketing content towards this date, which we will cover later in the article.
The goal here is to segment all of your tasks into the weeks you have remaining, ensuring that you aren’t spending the last few days before your holiday pulling your hair out and hoping that you had more time.
This is one of the main issues that I’m going to help you banish from your holiday – the stressful situation during the days before. Not only will this ruin your mood before you’ve even stepped on the plane, it could make you forget some crucial factors that need addressing before you leave.
Once you have segmented your weeks, I want you to add a few more tasks to your calendar…
Pre-write & Schedule Your Optimized Blog Posts
Blogging is the cornerstone of your website boosting your SEO ranking and driving new traffic to your website. I’ve always recommended blogging at least once a week and this shouldn’t stop just because you’re on holiday.
But before you look at your screen in both shock and disgust, I’m not expecting you to write an article while tanning by the pool – quite the opposite, in fact. I want you to schedule one or two blogs during your vacation.
Write these articles during the weeks before and, rather than publishing them, schedule them for dates while you’re away.
This way, you will be releasing fresh new content on your blog while you’re sunning it up on vacation!
Reduce Inbox Anxiety
One of the biggest fears we have a business owners, going on holiday, is the aftermath on our return. The stress when coming back from vacation is enough to actually make many business owners avoid taking a break altogether. But, this shouldn’t be the case.
One of the ways to reduce your anxiety, of returning back to working life, is by tackling your emails beforehand. With a little pre-vacation planning, you can reduce this anxiety and provide better communication with your coworkers and clients.
Add an ‘Out of office’
Once you’ve cleaned up your inbox, I want you to go ahead and add an ‘Out of Office’ reply to your emails. This will then send out an automatic reply to anybody emailing you while you’re away, stating that you’re not at your emails and will reply when you’re back.
Not only does this give people emailing you some peace of mind, when you haven’t replied in a couple of days – it will also help reduce and mid-holiday stress of you looking through your emails every day. That’s not what this holiday is for, right?!
Schedule Newsletters while you’re away
Both MailChimp and Active Campaign allow you to schedule email campaigns for a date in the future. This feature is a great way to keep your email marketing schedule intact while continuing to deliver value to your customers. MailChimp has a video tutorial to walk you through this process. Active Campaign has instructions available on their site as well.
Pre-schedule Your Social Networking
Social media is a huge part of your digital marketing, but I don’t want you to spend the majority of your vacation with your head in your phone tweeting and posting on Instagram. Remember, this holiday is for you to get a break away from all of that.
But that doesn’t mean leaving your social media channels to look like a graveyard for the time you’re away. There is actually a neat way of scheduling posts so it looks like you’re posting content just like normal.
By now most of you know that I recommend HootSuite as the best solution for scheduling social media posts. So, check it out. However, be careful not to post anything that requires a quick turn-around time to respond on your part. If you are running a contest on your social networks where a follower is dependent upon your reaction to redeem an offer you may be left with some unhappy campers.
Keep the primary social network pre-scheduling safe and consistent so that your absence goes without notice.
Ensure Access to Data from Your Mobile
As much as I bang on about avoiding business matters while on holiday, I understand that it’s realistically not possible to do this throughout. You may find yourself with a spare hour while winding down at the night to check your social media or any emails that have come in. Plus, let’s be honest…life throws us many curveballs and you may need to address an issue while on holiday regarding a client. Hopefully this doesn’t happen but it’s best to be safe – so, ensure that you have access to data on your phone while away.
Most hotels now offer WiFi, but don’t forget to let your network provider know you’re going away so they can tell you how to use your phone data while away.
It will save a lot of stress in the long run.
Notify Your Clients.
As I mentioned earlier, create a date in your plan when you will start notifying clients of your break. You can do this when face to face, but I also recommend sending out an email reminding them that you’re away.
If you have a private Facebook group for clients, be sure to let them know in there, too.
Enjoy Your Vacation.
It’s a scary thought to let go and truly check-out while on vacation. Many of you will have horror stories running around your head on how things will collapse while you’re away. But breathe, this won’t happen with the right planning.
Take the time to put everything I’ve mentioned in place and you will be able to enjoy the stress-free holiday that you deserve!