Learning how to be an entrepreneur who enjoys weekends off, has the occasional holiday breaks, and still be on top of things is important when you run a business. Finding the balance between work and play is key, but it’s not often easy.
Most of us choose to be in business because we had some kind of dream, a vision to address a problem that needed solving and act on our entrepreneur ideas, and we wanted to “be your own boss”. Somewhere in there, we thought about the freedoms that becoming an entrepreneur can bring – owning your own time and using it as you wish.
No one starts their own business to create a trap of never-ending work for themselves.
For many entrepreneurs, this becomes a very real struggle.
Before you know it, you’re working long evening and weekend hours, and you can’t even remember the last time you took a holiday!
Friends, there is another way. You’re not doing this to be in a state of exhaustion and overwhelm! Becoming an entrepreneur should entail so much more. If weekends off and stress-free holidays sound appealing, read on to see how other entrepreneurs are managing them.
How to be an entrepreneur who takes weekends off and plans holidays:
- Learn how to disconnect
- Systemize your business
- Manage yourself out
- Manage expectations
How to be an entrepreneur who can disconnect
Learning how to be an entrepreneur who balances work and play is sometimes difficult. If you experience anxiety at the thought of stepping away and taking a break from your business, you’re not alone. On Deck conducted a survey of small business owners and found that only nine percent of those surveyed planned on taking a full two-week break. Of small business owners who were planning a break, sixty-seven percent planned on checking in with work! Overall, we’re not unplugging at all, and this can be a problem.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” — Anne Lamott
Science tells us we all need a break, and who are we to argue? Here are benefits of disconnecting from work that studies have confirmed:
- Your body gets to relax and recover. We need that recovery time in order to stay at the top of the game.
- Your brain processes and embeds new information when you give it the chance to relax.
- Relaxation and daydreaming helps your brain to be more creative and better-solve problems.
- Vacations improve your mood. Imagine how that can impact your dealings with clients or team members!
- Stepping away helps to change your perspective. This can be very useful for broadening your views and helping you to think of new solutions.
Overall, disconnecting and taking a break is about both your ability to perform well at work, and your overall health and wellbeing. The exhaustion you feel after endless long hours of work can pile up, until you reach a chronically fatigued state. Becoming an entrepreneur who values rest will ultimately be beneficial to your business in the long run.
Systemizing the business
If you want to be your own boss, you need to have a system in your business whether you plan to take a break or not. Systemizing your business is really about having a continuity plan. One reason entrepreneurs struggle to step away is their worry that things are going to cave in. You need a plan for continuity, and this is where systemizing becomes very important.
If you were to write a “how to be an entrepreneur” playbook, creating robust business systems should be somewhere close to chapter one. It’s not sustainable to rely on your own steam in perpetuity - as the saying goes, “you can’t pour from an empty cup!”
We always suggest that creating good systems is a key step to take before you decide to hire a virtual assistant, and the same can be said for sustainably building any sort of team. Systems keep everyone in the loop and accountable. They reduce time spent on back-and-forth communication and provide your team members with clarity and resources.
They also give you time to do whatever else you’d like, including taking a holiday! The Virtual Hub client, Maria Golding says of systemizing:
“Now I feel more organised. The systems The Virtual Hub uses has helped me understand what is required as a business owner, and how to function to get the best results. Having these systems in place has given me so much more confidence.
"I feel more motivated to get up each day and ‘do the work’. Having my own personal VA means I’m accountable to her, and we get to share in the problem solving and excitement of the business together. It feels less lonely and I’m sure I work harder because of now having a ‘team’.”
Manage yourself out
Want to know how to be an entrepreneur who can let go? One of the most important considerations when you devise business systems is to find ways to “manage yourself out.” Anything that hinges on you doing something or being present makes it all the more difficult for you to unplug.
Realistically, there are few tasks which can’t be either automated or delegated, so take careful stock of whatever it is that you think you need to hang onto. We often hang on out of fear, but that fear can often prove to be misplaced.
While systemizing can be considered to be creating a continuity plan, another anxiety-inducing thought that prevents many entrepreneurs from taking a break is “what if there is an emergency?”
An emergency plan definitely should be a part of your planning to take a holiday. It often doesn’t need to be anything complicated; consider anything that can go wrong which you definitely need to be involved with, and be clear about defining those things on a document.
What steps are your team, or your virtual assistant to take? It can be as simple as: “here’s my mobile number. If anything like this happens, please call me.” Make sure you are also clear about issues that your team can manage themselves - give them steps for doing so. You don’t want your phone ringing unless it’s really urgent!
VA’s and other team members are often quite capable of managing things that come up, while helping you to “follow your dreams.”
“A VA is vital. Life is busy enough. I’d encourage any woman with a dream to get a VA to support her in making that dream a reality. This is what my VA does for me. I am living my dreams.” — Donna Wild
“I’m international so I have family all over the world and I travel a lot for work as well. And so one of the things that’s been super helpful for me is enabling me to do that and still have my business run in the background. So previously, everything would stop if I was, you know, not at my computer doing whatever it is I needed to be doing. Whereas now, that my VA has taken on all of those processes, and I can be on the other side of the world teaching a workshop or whatever it is, and she’s still making things tick over as if I’m still there. So, that is hugely hugely liberating.” — Elle Kealy
Another vital part of learning how to be an entrepreneur who takes weekends off and plans holidays is to manage expectations. Many entrepreneurs who find themselves unable to take time off have set themselves up to be that way.
They’ve trained clients to always come to them or inserted themselves in every part of the process in their business, so that team members are always coming to them too.
Let’s say your clients are used to dealing with you personally - make sure you transition them to another first point of contact early on or at least give them notice that you’re going to be unavailable.
Within your team, it’s about having those processes that take you out of the equation and being firm about them being stuck to unless there is an emergency.
“So fantastic not to have to answer any support emails and know that they are being handled courteously and professionally. Plus all the little glitches in the website are taken care of - huge time waster for me now taken off my hands. Jeffrey is already an amazing asset to our business and I'm not sure how I coped without him.”
— Karen Rudkin-Moody, Co-Founder, Ryan Moody Fishing and Hooked on Hinchenbrook Charters (The Virtual Hub client).
Final thoughts: how to be an entrepreneur who takes breaks
What is entrepreneurship if it ties you to endless work? Most of us did not start businesses only to end up working a JOB, yet many entrepreneurs struggle to get weekends off, or a decent holiday.
We need downtime for the sake of our physical and mental health, and our overall ability to perform well in our businesses. You can’t keep running on empty and expect things to go well! You won’t quash your entrepreneurial spirit if you take a day’s break or two.
Fortunately, it is entirely possible to know how to be an entrepreneur who can step away and take a much-needed break. Our clients at The Virtual Hub are doing so, and are setting themselves up by having good systems in place while managing expectations with clients and team members.
Think of the possibilities – what will you do with a holiday?