How to Plan Ahead for a Break From Your Creative Business
I'm going to sound like a hairdresser here but, have you got any holidays planned this summer? And, if not, why not? Breaks from your business are really important, to make sure you don't burn out and to feed your creativity.
I'm also betting that one of the reasons why you started your business was so that you could have more flexibility and not have to ask permission to use your 25 days of holiday per-year? If that's the case, you can make sure you're staying true to that craving for more flexibility by making sure you are taking breaks and holidays away from your business.
Don't wait until your business is 'big enough' or 'more established' because by doing the things that encouraged you to start building your own business in the first place, you’re helping to fuel you on through those busy times as well.
But of course, taking a break from your business takes a degree of preparation to get you set up for a stress-free holiday. A holiday where you’re on your laptop everyday isn’t a holiday, but the good news is, you can get organised and plan ahead for a break from your business so that you can take the restful, relaxing today you deserve.
This is most important so I'm putting it up-front. Let your customers/ clients know in advance that you're going away. Make sure you’re really clear with your customers and clients about what date they need to email you or order from you by to get their order/ an email response before you go away and also let people know when you’ll be back. You could mention it in your email newsletter, your email signature, on social media, on your website homepage. There are lots of different ways you can communicate this to your audience and i’d definitely recommend sharing your message in at least a couple of different places.
You can also use this as a marketing opportunity by educating your audience about your business. You can make it clear that you're a one-person band and all of your products/ services are created and fulfilled by YOU. This can also serve as a timely reminder for anyone who’s been thinking about getting in touch with you about a product or service to do it asap before you’re off on holiday.
This might mean scheduling in a couple of blog posts for when you’ll be away and even for the first week you’re back. It might be getting ahead with making your physical products or getting your inbox down to zero so that it’s not too overwhelming when you get back.
Plan your time off for your quietest times
If you feel the rush at Christmas then August might be very quiet for your business and therefore a good time to take off. If Christmas is a quiet time for you but January February is crazy busy, then maybe November December could be a good time to get away from it all.
If there's generally a month in the year when you find things slow down, why not take the whole month off or at least have a 'taking it easy' month?
emails and social media
Will you be taking a complete break from social media and emails while you're away? Or will you just be slowing it down while you're away by only checking email twice a week and posting on social media 2 times a week?
There's no wrong or right answer here, social media and email can often be the biggest culprits for making us feel stressed and burned out so if you feel like you need to switch off entirely, you can take a break from email and social media - it's your business after all, you get to decide.
However you decide to handle these, let your audience know when you'll be responding to emails and set up an email auto response for the times you’re not checking emails.
Create an awesome out of office
For any email enquiries that you get while you're on holiday you'll want to send an auto-response. This again can be a great opportunity to spread the message that you're an independent business owner and perhaps point people in the direction of your blog while you’re away from your desk.
In your auto response you'll need to let people know when you'll be responding to emails. You could also explain that you're an independent business owner and so taking breaks from your business are important for fuelling your creativity so that you can keep sharing your creative work (and so you don't loose the plot)! Feel free to make your auto-response entertaining and funny. Remember that every touch point your audience has with your business reflects your band - and that includes your auto response.
What can you do now to make life easier for yourself when you get back? You might want to make sure you're booked up ahead of time with clients or commissions, you might want to have a couple of new products to launch when you get back. Think about what you'll be doing when you get back from your break and perhaps set yourself some goals you’re excited about and looking forward to getting to working on, to help you ease back into work when you return all sun-kissed and relaxed.
Without taking breaks from your business, partially off you’re side-hustling, you’re going to struggle to stay feeling creative and inspired. I learned the hard way that getting burned out and not looking after my mental health was a one way ticket to being forced to take a month out of my business, unplanned. Let me tell you, it’s always better to take a planned break from your business. I hope the pointers in this post help you see that it’s more than possible to take a much needed and well deserved break from your business.