One of the best things about being your own boss means you have flexibility over your schedule. You can take time off if you need to, or sleep in a bit later knowing you can make up the work during the evening.
As long as you get your work done, and your clients are happy, you can work as much or as little as you like. This sense of freedom and control is even more evident when you run an on-the-go-online business, like I do. As long as I have a laptop/iPad and a good internet connection there are no limits. This is where implementing frequent work-holidays can come in very handy, especially if you need some extra inspiration. And embracing technology is the way to go.
What is a work-holiday or work-vacation?
The term was made popular by Noah Kagan of AppSumo, who has perfected the art of travelling all all over the world without ever taking a holiday from work. Basically it is a work and holiday all wrapped up into one. He has built a mobile business, by creating software, that allows him and his team to see the world, visit family and friends, all while balancing their work alongside having fun. Part of his days are spent working and the other part is spent enjoying the surroundings and social events.
How to prepare a work-holiday?
Although it sounds easy enough, after testing out a few work-holidays myself, it can still be difficult to balance your life with family, friends and doing the touristy thing, while running a business. Unexpected things come up, fires need to be put out and clients demand your full attention.
Here are five steps to prepare for and get the most out of your work-holiday:
1. Establish clear boundaries with friends and family.
Most of my work-holidays consist of visiting family members or friends who are spread across the country. The very first thing I do before committing to a trip is explain my intentions to everyone. Communication is key! Of course there will be days set aside for sightseeing and exploring, but then there will be days (or full afternoons) dedicated to getting work done.
It’s important to establish clear boundaries (with yourself and your friends) before heading on a work-holiday, so they know there will be times you have to be productive. This also keeps everyone from being annoyed or offended if you aren't able to give them your full attention on any given day.
2. Create a work-life system with your team or employees.
Just as your friends and family should know what’s up in advance, your team members need to know the importance of balancing work and life — which is one of the main advantages to going on a work-holiday. You’re able to work hard and play hard, and should encourage your employees or contractors to do the same.
I wrote about putting systems in place on last week's newsletter. Put systems in place now so they know how to handle client emergencies if you’re unable to respond. Create clear guidelines on how projects should be handled and the chain of command that needs to be followed in certain situations.
Let them know what times of the day you’ll be available, and share your calendar so they understand where you’ll be at certain times. This is especially important when you’re out to lunch with friends, or in a location without internet access. If you equip your team properly, they will be able to handle any situation that arises — giving you peace of mind.
3. Work and plan ahead with your goal in mind.
Another great thing about going on a work-holiday is that you don’t have to plan too far ahead to make the trip happen. Most of the time business owners have to schedule out their trips far in advance so they can prep the team and clients, but a working vacation allows you to have more flexibility while only planning a few weeks in advance.
How many hours a day will you be able to work while on your trip? Will you only work in the early morning or late evenings, while taking the middle of the day to do touristy stuff?
When I prep for a work-holiday, I always act as if I’m on the vacation several weeks prior so I can work out the kinks. It takes time to carve out a new schedule successfully, so work ahead with your goal of going on a workcation in mind. Determine your best work-life schedule and practice it a few weeks before your trip.
4. Do research in advance to prepare for setbacks.
Not everything will go as planned. Sometimes personal issues will take priority over your work (as they should) and you’ll be forced to change up your schedule.
There may be an event you just don’t want to miss with your friends, but that means you’ll have to miss a client deadline in the process. Or maybe you expected really good internet, and then a huge lightning storm rolled in and blew out everything.
You can — and should — do research in advance to prepare for any emergencies and changes that pop up. But you also have to know that being away from your home office, and the consistent schedule, allows for a lot more problems. Take them in stride and be flexible with yourself and your business.
How do you take your business on holiday?
Working while on holiday is possible, if you know what steps to make it happen. Your business can provide the freedom you’ve been looking for to travel more, see friends and family, and go on adventures, if you implement these simple steps.
Set realistic boundaries with yourself, your team and everyone you come into contact with. This will enable you to successfully take your business on holiday, so you can recharge, get refreshed and find new inspiration.
Getting more out of your small business usually comes down to four things:
This newsletter is continuously bringing to you helpful tips, tools and resources to assist you in your every day activities, and in helping you to grow your small business efficiently. Part of that growing is that you as the business owner or entrepreneur is required to free up time to focus on your business.
Spending less time working in your business and more time working on your business is a well-known recipe for success. But when you are running a small business, you can be so busy doing the doing, there never seems to be time to look at how the doing is done. This week we'll look at how we can handle the first item above, so here are few quick tips to help you get started.
Find out exactly what you do
For a day or a week, record everything you do, as you do it. If you need to - hire a student or ask someone to follow you around and record it for you. It may sound odd but that it is all about getting things done without any excuses. Make a note of every call you take, every email you read, every conversation you have - the lot.
For each activity note the time it took and have some columns to tick with headings like, planned activity or unplanned activity, productive or unproductive, completed or needs a revisit, manual task that has an automatic option - you get the idea?
Look for opportunities
Once you've recorded what you do, here are some simple time saving tips that could help you spot opportunities to stop doing some things, do some things differently or start something new.
So take action and start the ball rolling. Chances are one or two straightforward opportunities to free up a little time will quickly appear. Make them happen as soon as possible and make sure you use the extra free time to investigate more ways to save time.
By repeating this process you'll soon be able to set aside a regular block of time for working on your business, rather than in it. After that, further time savings can be used to get more doing done and lift the productivity of your business.
Save time with online services like Internet Banking
With more and more banks now offering online services you can make use of that for both of your personal and business banking activities. If you are not sure what online services your bank is currently offering - make time to visit your bank and discuss this with them. By taking advantage of your bank online service is an easy business tool that can free up your time so you can focus on your business. Here is how:
Your competitor in business may not be who you think it is...
When asked who we think our competitor in business is, we naturally start to think about the other businesses who offer a similar product or service for a similar price point and who are targeting the same market as us. I disagree.
I think the biggest competitor entrepreneurs will face in their business is fear and self-doubt. The biggest competitor will be that internal dialogue which is silent and deadly and which, if we let it, can talk us out of hustling, making that extra phone call, sending that next email and essentially doing whatever it is that we need to do to keep our business going and our dreams alive. Our biggest competitor is that voice, built on fear and self-doubt that will talk us out of following our dreams and into going back to our “old job”, the safe option and the “security” of that regular pay check.
Self-doubt is a sign of one's weakness and I think we all have moments of it. It reminds me that, to be an entrepreneur, you need to be mentally and emotionally tough but also courageous enough to admit when you are vulnerable and brave enough to seek out someone who can help you through. We all have moments of self-doubt and dealing with it alone is tough and sometimes not enough. It reminds me why I wanted to start the Entrepreneurs Network and be a part of other Network in the first place, to find like-minded people, who I can share with and talk to about things that are going on and who will understand what I'm talking about.
Here are my top 5 tips to overcoming fear and self-doubt in business:
Tackling fear and self-doubt is going to be a regular occurrence in business so make sure you have some strategies in place to help you through. This reminds me why our Entrepreneurs Network is so important. It’s important because we have to build a platform where we can provide our members and guests with a community of women, men, young just like them, who they can turn to when the fear and self-doubt become too much for them to deal with alone.
Each woman, man and young involved in our network, be it member, guest, founder, speaker or a hero is here to support all entrepreneurs and to ensure they don’t give up on themselves or their dreams. The world needs more women, men and young like us who are following their dreams and we are here to support them to do it.
So thank you to everyone who is reading this because you are a part of an awesome Entrepreneurs Network and each of us, in our own small way, is contributing to this collective effort which is hopefully going to help all of Tonga and millions of entrepreneurs worldwide. The network is important, it's necessary and it's going to change the game!
There are many answers to this question; but the primarily reason to why small businesses experience problems is because of their failure to put in place effective systems and controls such as:
So, why do entrepreneurs neglect systems and controls?
We are still human and sometimes we make mistakes, but the best thing about making those mistakes is that we should see it as an opportunity to improve the way we do things. It should also be seen as lessons to learn from so that we'll try to avoid making the same mistakes over again. Entrepreneurs overlook the fact that an error in one area of the company has an impact throughout the whole organisation. There are four basic types of systems and controls for the business;
The photo below is an example of the Interconnections between the four basic types of system and controls in business.
As per the photo above and the one below - you can clearly see the interconnections of each one and how each one of them could contribute to your whole organisation's problems if one or more is overlooked and poorly managed.
So what will a Good Control System establish?
But what are you going to do about it now that you have this information - how would you help your organisation to achieve your goals? One of the most important component to any organisation's success is it's people (human resources). If you are not getting the results you have been working for - you need to slow down and asses your current situation. As owners and entrepreneurs of small businesses - your business needs to be regularly evaluated and likewise to the people in it to ensure that their interest aligns with your company core values, therefore they are helping you to drive your company mission by effectively contributing to achieving your goals. Without that - you will find that the cost to operate your business will continue to rise and the return on that investment you will find it to go South. So developing an effective and strong management/leadership in your organisation is crucial to your success.
But I hear a lot of owners saying... "we don't need one, we are doing fine - why do we need strong management and leadership skills and team?".
By doing so, you will learn that the skills and abilities that started the company are not necessary the same skills and abilities required to grow the business to the next level. You may need people who can help the business grow. These are professionals with experience in the core functions of the business; finance, marketing, and operations. These people must share the company's core values to establish trust and good working ethics and relationship. A business coach/mentor could also help you tackle those issues.
So make sure to reach out and Schedule for your free consultation today if you find yourself in these situations and needing help [click here]
Even the best sportsman and team in the world - they still need a coach in order for them to remain at the top and the best at their game.
An Entrepreneur as a tight robe walker