I recently took a much needed holiday, it was the first I’d taken in nearly 2 years and the first major amount of time off since I formed Flavourfy in 2014. The holiday itself was 3.5 weeks – we had a great time visiting my wife’s brother, just south of Sydney in Australia – but with jet lag when we got back it was actually more like taking a month off.
I’ll confess to having been a little nervous of the prospect of taking the time off, what with running my own business and being a sole trader. I worked my ass off in the week leading to going away to get as much done so I didn’t have to work too much whilst I was away.
In the end it was unnecessary worry as, apart from regular checking on email, I only needed to take a couple of half days out of the holiday to catch up and do some urgent bits of work, and here I am, still in business. In fact, taking the time off was a good thing for my business, and here’s why:
It’s often easy, particularly when you’re running your own business to just keep going, pushing hard, working long hours, when in fact it is probably better to take some time off. After all if you’re tired and run down, you’re probably not performing at your peak, so taking some time off gives you a break that’s probably good for everyone. It’s also the reason that I’ve decided (except in emergencies or rapidly approaching deadlines) I’m stopping working on the weekend, to give me a couple of days to recover and be fighting fit for business first thing Monday – to be fighting fit to do a better job next week.
As well as taking some downtime, taking a holiday has made me realise that sometimes it’s good to step back from your business to reflect on how it’s going. Sometimes you get so caught up in the intensity of running your own business, meeting customer expectations, worrying about where the next customer is coming from, you don’t get time to think about how to develop your business, or come up with business ideas. I actually found that I was ready to come back to work towards the end of the holiday because I was so excited about some of the ideas and thoughts I’d had about driving my business forward – I’m not sure, I would have had this direction and the new ideas if I’d not taken the time to think about my business.
Finally, I realised that actually your business can survive. The relationships you have built, the agreements with customers. etc. are all intact when you get back. You’re not having to start from scratch again. And whilst I was lucky that I was able to get a load of work done before I left which didn’t require much input whilst away, I also know that the Internet was always available for me to get things done whilst i was away if needed.
So my advice to one man bands, sole traders and those too worried to take a break from business – it is possible to take some time off and still have an intact business when you get back. In fact it will probably help you and your business if you do take a break from time to time!