how to take time off from your business this summer

Are you taking time off from your business this summer? Or do you feel like you can’t afford to, and that you should keep working? These 5 tips will help you to really take time off from your business this summer–without the guilt or pressure.

(this post is an updated version of my Christmas-post, which you can read here)

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If you’re anything like me, you started your own business because you genuinely love doing what do you. I love writing blogposts, working with clients and creating valuable content for my newsletter subscribers. The list of projects I want to tackle is long and inspiring.

I also started my business because I craved more flexibility: I wanted more opportunities to set my own working hours, to take walks in the middle of the day, to start my working days with a cup of tea and a novel.

But my enthusiasm for my business sometimes makes it hard to switch off. And, being an ambitious person, I always have a list of things that I’d like to get done and improve.

I see this with a lot of small business owners. You might love running your business, but also struggle to take time off.

You might feel the pressure to work a lot because you feel that this is the only way to make your business a (financial) success. And then there’s the pressure of making every minute count as you try to combine a business with a family, or another job. Not to mention that summer also means that your children might be at home more frequently and that childcare is hard to come by.

In need of more help setting boundaries that feel good in your business? 

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Five tips to help you time take off from your business this summer

How to take time off from your business this summer.

#1 Discover what you need

That voice in your head that tells you that you can’t take time off? That’s fear speaking.

It might be deeply rooted fear, perhaps you’ve experienced financial scarcity in the past. Or you’ve been raised having to always pay attention to money, learning that money is unpredictable.

This fear tells us that we can’t take our eyes off the ball for even one second, or things will fall apart. It tells us that if we’re not on social media, we will lose all of our clients and customers. Our fear wants us to believe that if we don’t immediately reply to our email people will not want to buy from us.

Fear, of course, is a bad guide in this instance. You are running your business, and you get to run it in a way that works for you.

Some questions to consider or journal on:
  • how would it feel to take time off this summer? What are you feeling other than fear?
  • what do you need this summer? If you could do anything you’d like, what would you be doing?
  • how does your body feel? How do you feel emotionally and mentally right now?
  • what do you need in order to take care of your body and your mind?

# 2 Make a plan

Switching off properly is not going to happen if you wing it. If you wait until there’s no work to be done and no projects to develop, you will never ever take a break. Trust me.

So: take a moment to look at what you need to do in order to take that break.

Some questions to consider or journal on:

For a product-based business:

  • when is the last day that you’ll be shipping orders?
  • from that day, count back to the date you’ll be last accepting orders. Do you need to take into account making time, or make a difference between bespoke orders and regular orders?
  • how much time do you need for all the admin around making and shipping? Give yourself ample time to do the admin, pack orders + get to the post office.

For a service-based business:

  • when is the last day that you’ll be meeting with clients?
  • what kind of admin do you need to do after client calls? Factor that in.
  • what other tasks do you want to do or schedule before your break? When will you be writing and scheduling a newsletter for instance, or scheduling Pinterest pins?

I also really love this episode of Josephine Brooks’ podcast about planning for time off if you’d like some more inspiration.

#3: Add a buffer

The number one reason why I never feel stressed the last days before I take a break is because I include a generous buffer in my plans.

Once you’ve made your plan take another look. Did you add a buffer? Often things don’t go to plan, so make sure that you have an extra day or so to finish up any last things.

You might get more orders for products than expected (yay!), so you need to add a buffer for that. Or, your last client meetings might lead to more follow-up work than you’d expected. Take that into account.

And, if you don’t end up using your buffer, you’ll get to take your break a day early (bonus!).

#4 Communicate

Now that you’ve made your plan for taking time off from your business this summer, communicate it.

Some places to communicate that you’re taking time off:
  • on your website: on your shop-page if you’re running a product-based business (last day of orders + last day of shipping), with a banner on your homepage, on your contact page.
  • on social media: create a post on Instagram or Facebook announcing your break and when you’ll be back. As an added bonus you’ll also be inspiring other people to take a break too 🙂
  • in your out-of-office reply: set up an out-of-office reply for your email specifying that you’ll be taking a break from your business and when you’ll be back. If you’re running a product based service, you can also mention here when orders made in your absence will be processed and shipped.
  • in your newsletter: in your last newsletter before your break, announce it. If you’re scheduling a newsletter to go out during your break, mention when you’ll be back.
  • for additional accountability: tell your friends, business buddies and family that you’ll be taking a break.

If you need another nudge to really stay off email and social media during your break, take them off your phone, tablet or laptop.

Remember: your business needs to serve you, not the other way around.

I know many of us are scared that seeing that you’re away will scar clients and customers off. The reality is, though, that people often don’t mind when you’re away: as long as they know when you’ll be away and when you’re returning.

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#5 Plan your return

Before you really take time off from your business and change into your flip flops and summer hat, take a moment to think about your return.

If you expect that you’ll need some time to process your email, don’t schedule a client call on the first morning back to work.

If you think you’ll need to catch up on orders, don’t plan a big launch in your first week back.

I love starting my first day back to work after a break gently. One of my favourite ways of doing so is planning a task I really enjoy that also connects me to the core of my business. For me that core is supporting people. So, after my summer break I’ll be spending my first day back brainstorming new ideas for my next downloadable guide.

I hope these strategies help you to really time some time off from your business this summer. If you need some extra inspiration, I’d recommend Kelsey Mech’s recent podcast episode on reclaiming rest.

Remember: your business needs to serve you, not the other way around.

Have a lovely summer, filled with joy + quiet.

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