How to Plan Ahead for Breaks 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 or side-hustle 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 will help to keep fuelling you on through those busy times as well.
Here's how to plan ahead for a holiday or break from your creative business
This is most important so I'm putting it up-front. Let your customers know in advance that you're going away. Make sure you are really clear with your customers on what dates they need to order from you by to get their order before you go away and also when people will be receiving orders that you take while your away or when you're back.
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-woman band and all of your products are made/ designed and shipped by you. This helps add to the message that when people are buying from you they're buying quality, directly from the maker. This can also serve as a timely reminder for anyone who might be thinking about buying on of your products but hasn't got around to it yet, particularly if they're looking for a gift.
Here are a few places you might want to mention your last order dates:
- Email newsletter
- Website banner
- Product pages
- Order confirmation email
- Your social channels: Instagram (posts and stories), Twitter, Facebook
- In an email to any wholesale contacts
- On any external websites where you sell your work
Stock up! Make sure that you have plenty of stock to cover any rush of orders once you put your message out there that you're taking some time off. In addition you'll also want to build up enough stock so that when you come back you're not playing catch up with orders. Knowing that you're got plenty of stock waiting for you back at home will also help you de-stress and switch off while you're on holiday.
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 a lot of your work is wedding related then summer might be your busy time and by the time October rolls around you'll be in need of a good long break.
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 taking a break? 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.
However you decide to handle these, you need to have good communication with you audience to let them know how you'll be responding to emails and make it really clear when people will get a repose from you.
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 creative.
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 maker/ designer and so taking breaks 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 to make life easier for yourself when you get back? You might want to make sure you're booked up ahead of time with a couple of commissions, you might want to have a couple of new products to launch. Think about what you'll be doing when you get back from your break and make a 3-month plan for when you're back.
Even if you want to ease yourself in gently when you're back, it's good to have a plan to direct your focus and help you switch off while you're taking a break from your business.
[OVER TO YOU]
- If you haven't got a break scheduled in, get one in the diary now. It doesn't need to be a 3-month trip to Thailand, even giving yourself a day off to explore your local area can be a great way to feed your creativity and give yourself a break
- Action the points above - by preparing for a break from your business you'll be much more likely to switch off if you're feeling organised before you go
- Enjoy your break and make the most of that relaxation time.