While in theory you are not limited by the traditional four weeks a year, many soloists struggle to take anything like that length of annual leave from their business.
We all know the restorative benefits of scheduling holidays and taking time out from your business, not to mention the detrimental effect of never switching off. So here are some strategies to help you have the holidays that you need and deserve!
1. Plan ahead of time
I love the idea of spontaneous holidays but have never mastered the art of taking them. Therefore planning is essential to ensure holidays happen.
When scheduling holidays, look at the next 12 months and block out periods of time to take off. This may correspond to school holidays, long weekends, seasons or an event you wish to attend.
I have a yearly planner on my wall that has several sections blocked out in bright colours representing confirmed or tentative holiday plans.
2. Know your naturally quiet times
Does your business have periods which are naturally quieter than others? This is an ideal time for scheduling holidays without it disrupting the flow of business.
In my business, January is always a quiet month as clients are often taking a long holiday. Regular clients often take a break from coaching sessions and new clients often wait until February to make contact. All of this makes January a great month for me to take a holiday.
3. Put it in the budget
Many soloists resist taking any substantial time away due to the financial impact. Like many soloists, when I go on holidays I earn very little as most of my income is generated from coaching hours. If ‘time equals money’ for you, the solution is to budget for holidays ahead of time.
When I sit down each year to create financial targets I automatically deduct four to six weeks for holidays. This means I have to increase my earning in the other months to ensure I meet my financial goals.
Planning this ahead of time takes away the sense of financial pressure when I go on holidays.
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4. Pre-book flights or accommodation
There is nothing like actually booking a part of your holiday to make it real. If you need the extra accountability to ensure you take that holiday, this strategy may work wonderfully for you.
I have flights booked to go to Hamilton Island in June. No excuses now … I will be getting on that plane!
5. Create systems and structures that support your business in your absence
What systems, structures or support will you need for your business while you are away? Identify these in advance and take time to make the necessary arrangements. This is where a procedures manual can be a life saver.
Once you’ve written procedures that relate specifically to how to get your business ready for your absence, you can follow the same steps next time you go away.
In my business, I make arrangements like:
- Ensuring my clients have advance warning of my leave dates.
- Pre-writing weekly newsletters and programming them to send automatically.
- Having a VA available to respond to all enquiries received by phone, email or through my website.
- Ensuring all invoices are paid ahead of time.
You work hard in your business. You deserve to take great holidays every year! If scheduling holidays is something you have struggled with previously, commit to making 2008 the year you start taking holidays.
See you on Hamilton Island, perhaps?