Monday, June 30, 2008

Why Entrepreneurs Need Vacations Without Email or Voicemail

I just returned from a one-week vacation at the beach with my husband and family. A whole week of lazing on the beach, swimming, body surfing, eating in hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and generally having a good time. How many times did I check voicemail and email? I checked email once just to make sure there were no major issues developing without my knowledge.

Many entrepreneurs don’t take enough vacations. They proudly tell me that they’re just too busy to take time off. This always amazes me, I mean, isn’t freedom one of the reasons you started your own business? Those that do take vacations take their smart phones and laptops along with them to let interruptions ruin their serenity.

What has happened to Work Life Balance? Or is it just a myth? Don’t we want to enjoy our lives and live the good life?

Many business owners miss out on living the good life. They reach a point where immersing themselves in the business without taking time off leads to burn out, lack of creativity, and high stress.

We all need to regenerate and recharge our batteries – a vacation without work can do this for us.

Don’t make the excuse that nobody can do your job except you – this just means you don’t want to delegate and give up control.

Don’t make the excuse that you can’t afford to go on vacation because you’d have to pay someone to do your job while you’re gone - this just means you aren’t charging enough for your product or service.

Don’t make the excuse that responding to email and voicemail on vacation is just the way entrepreneurs work – this means you are too scared to create the boundaries you need to enjoy your life.

If you’re ready to take a vacation without interruptions, I’ve devised a list of suggestions to help you live the good life.

Rules of the Road – Take your vacations the restful way

1. Plan your vacation in advance and inform key people as the time draws near.

2. Set realistic expectations with your clients and vendors. Let them know that you are planning a vacation without interruptions so that they don’t expect you to answer their calls or emails while you are gone.

3. Send an “Out of Office” Email blind copy to all your current clients and vendors advising them that you will have limited access to voicemail and email and that you will respond to their questions when you return. Give them a contact in your company who can handle emergency situations, or delegate to a Virtual Assistant.

4. Create an Autoresponder that will automatically notify those who email you that you are out of the office.

5. Create a Voicemail message that advises callers that you are out of the office. Let them know that their message is important, but if it can wait you will talk to them when you return.

6. Leave your blackberry and laptop at home.

7. Create a detailed week by week “how to guide” for employees or virtual assistants on how to handle possible issues should they come up. You can reuse this guide each time you vacation.

Grow Your Business and Prosper!
Suzanne Muusers
Business Coach for Entrepreneurs & Financial Advisors
Scottsdale, Arizona

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