When you love what you do enough to be an entrepreneur, it’s hard to take a break. Last week my family took a 10-day road trip from New York to the Midwest to visit our friends & family in Wisconsin, Minnesota & Iowa. I admit it: it was really hard for me to turn off the business part of my brain.
((Another confession: I didn’t turn off business entirely — I still responded to client inquiries, because sometimes when you’re spending a week with your in-laws, it can be a necessary solace to escape for an hour or two …But I did replace my business podcasts with celebrity interviews. I read an entire novel: my favorite, The Count of Monte Cristo. I left my computer unopened for days at a time, preferring to race cars and watch Toy Story with my son.))
It was difficult but totally worth it, because I came back refreshed & invigorated in a way that I haven’t felt in months. And it made me realize that taking time off is something that I should be doing more frequently.
After all, one of the perks of running your own business is that you get to control your schedule. In theory, it’s awesome—you can make an appointment for somebody to come service your furnace or pop over to the adorable but awkwardly-timed preschool play. If your sick body is rebelling, you can take a nap and no one is the wiser (unless you out yourself on your blog or Facebook feed).
But … and it’s a big but: you never really get a break. Unless you choose to take one.
As an entrepreneur, you never really get a break. Unless you *choose* to take one.And most people don’t. More than half of Americans don’t take their paid vacation time, which if you think about it is crazy. But as entrepreneurs, we don’t get get paid time off. Taking time off means not getting making money.
And still, you can and should take a break. It’s OK to take time off. Really. I give you permission.
The thing is we all need a break to recover from a cold or take care of a family member or just to recharge.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but taking time off can make our businesses stronger. We get our creative juices flowing. We’re more likely to come up with great ideas if we take a break.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but time off makes businesses stronger. Our creative juices flowMaybe you’re saying, “I have so many ideas I can’t do them all!” Yeah, I’ve been there. I’m great at getting an idea and turning it into something right away, but not every idea serves my business, not every plan leads me in the right direction. When I’ve stopped trying to keep everything moving forward at top speed, I’ve found greater clarity about which idea to pursue. That clarity comes in or after the pauses we take.
Taking a break also gives us more energy to do client work and helps us avoid burnout. What would happen if next time you have a major launch or wrap up a big project for a client, you took the next day off? If your first response is, “No way,” “I can’t because … ,” or a feeling of anxiety at the thought, take a breath and think about it. Why couldn’t you?
“Take a break, come away with us for the summer. Let’s go Upstate!” – Hamilton … and his inability to take a break essentially ruined his chances at the presidency. Just sayin’.But, what about my clients? What if somebody wants to hire me? What if I miss out? I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: FOMO is not a good guiding business practice. Your business can’t run itself, but it is possible to keep things going when you take a break. Automation, outsourcing, and communication are your friends here.
Communicate with your clients to let them know what to expect. Outsource tasks to a VA or other support. I have people helping me with copywriting and social media, which frees me up to do more client work—and if I take a break, I can delegate and keep showing up.
And automation lets people keep buying from you—even when you aren’t working. Set up your systems. Test them. Trust them.
I can help you set up the business systems that let your business keep humming while you take time off. I think all entrepreneurs should build in systems so that when life happens, they’re ready. But the truth is, you are the only one who can decide to let those systems do their work. You are the only one who say, “I’m not coming in today.”Even if you love what you do, deep down, you know there are other things you want to do. Things just for you. Things not related to your business. Take some time off and do them. Or do nothing. Unplug. Drive halfway across the country to visit family. Catch up with a friend. Chill.
When’s the last time you took a day off from your business? Go schedule one now. It’s OK to take time off. Really, I promise it is.