Can I Ever Take a Break?
As I'm writing this I'm prepping for my upcoming 2 week delayed Honeymoon to Antiqua. Almost every fiber of my being is looking forward to this trip. And when I say "almost" it's because there's a little tiny part of me that is scared to shut off my phone and close my computer for 10 whole days. How will people remember I exist if I'm not showing up in their newsfeed or popping up in their inbox for almost 2 weeks!? I'm nervous that by stepping away from my computer, the world will continue to go on without me. I'll be missing out on major potential clients and taking a huge step back on any progress I've made.
I'm sure many small business owners feel the way I do before leaving for a trip. You're so ingrained in your day-to-day activities that are keeping your business alive and thriving, that the idea of putting them on hold for a little while seems terrifying. Here's the secret I learned though: The world will continue to go on without you, and that's ok!
Listen, I always teach the importance of consistency. You have to stay on top of new content to stay relevant. But I also understand that we all need a break sometimes. We all need a few moments to rest and recharge. Countless studies have shown the benefits of vacations that range from physical health to mental health to creative capabilities. The statistics are there. Taking a vacation is necessary to keep us sane and excited about running our business. The question now becomes: How can you, as a business owner, take those much needed days off without sabotaging your whole digital strategy?
1. Schedule, schedule, schedule. This day in age you can schedule everything from your blog posts, to your Facebook posts, to your email campaigns. Utilize any in-platform options you can or look into a program like Hootesuite that can schedule out your posts on multiple platforms all at once. The bonus? Hootesuite offers FREE 30 day trials. Sign up and schedule posts before you leave and then cancel when you get back (unless you want to keep it of course!) for no additional marketing costs. Writing blogs and content all at once for a couple of weeks can be time consuming (trust me, I'm knee deep in it right now) but the payoff will come when you're not trying to find WiFi at your resort to get that Facebook post up.
2. Find something fun to write about. Not every social media post has to be about something serious and educational or completely related to your business. When trying to schedule 2 weeks worth of posts, you're brain is quickly going to become overwhelmed trying to think up topics. Not to mention, chances are the content scheduled at the end of your vacation is going to be old news by the time it goes out to your audience. And that's OK! For the time you're away mix in some informative articles with something fun, lighthearted or inspirational. Search around for funny memes or quotes that can add a little levity to your page and save the timely stuff for when you get back.
3. Find a moderator. Once our posts are up and scheduled, we often forget about the moderation that goes into social media. Your pages will be working while you're away collecting likes, comments and questions. It's important not leave your audience hanging. Find a trusted co-worker, employee or even friend that owes you a favor. Either give them your logins or their own access to your accounts and ask them to check in on them once per day. Give them specific instructions on how you would like them to reply to different types of comments and let them know it's OK if they don't know the answer to someone's questions. Have them reply or private message the individual that you are out of the office but will respond promptly when you return.
4. Allow yourself time to check in. We all know completely unplugging is not going to happen. You wouldn't be a successful entrepreneur if you were fine with just walking away from your business for an extended period of time. Allow yourself some time to check in to make sure everything is running smoothly. Schedule in 30 minutes every other day (or every day if you need more reassurance) where you can check your social media and email. I find early morning before heading to breakfast works for me. I pull up my alarm on my phone and schedule it ring at a set time. I then use this time to put out any small fires, respond to emails and check my voicemails. I try to keep that time short (30 minutes is usually good) and let people know that I received their questions or inquiry and will respond in full when I return. This allows me to more successfully enjoy the rest of my day knowing everything is good on the home front.