Authored by Melissa Haddad on April 01 2019
Having recently returned from vacation myself, I have a clear understanding of what it truly takes for a business owner to go away on vacation and be completely offline to relax, recharge and even reconnect with family members...having a Virtual Assistant that you can trust and rely upon to do whatever it takes to keep your business running.
I encourage my clients, other business owners and entrepreneurs, to take vacation and all have and left me absolutely in charge with running their business with little to no need to bother them while they were away. This is something that has evolved over time and takes trust on their part to be able to do…once done, it only gets better and easier from there. Here are 5 tips to have a stress-free vacation.
- Get a Virtual Assistant. If you don’t already have a Virtual Assistant you will want to get one, regardless of going on vacation or not. However, if you have been on the fence about retaining a VA, then you may want to start the process to get one once you are starting to plan a vacation. To be able to ensure your VA understands your business and the way you like things to be done, you need months, not weeks, to prepare. You want your VA to be able to anticipate possible issues or be able to troubleshoot situations as they come up, and you have to trust that they can be left alone so you never regret your decision to go away.
- Make a list for your VA. Whether your VA is new to your business or has been with you for a time and you need her/him to fill in for you while you are on vacation, you want to make sure that they know all aspects of the tasks you want done for you. Start by noting what your daily routine is and how you manage your time doing various tasks on any given day. Continue to note FAQs that you encounter from you clients or prospects. If you don’t already have a process written down, then either record it for your VA to transcribe or write something out. You can then make a list of the things that your VA can learn and do while you are on vacation and possibly even beyond…remember if it’s a task you don’t have to do then it’s likely eating up your time anyways. It could be answering calls and inquiries, answering emails, scheduling appointments for when you return. You will have to decide if you will be making this a working vacation, therefore limiting email and messaging access, or a ‘completely offline and unreachable’ vacation.
- Notify clients of vacation dates. Depending on how you run your business and how you structure your client work, you can start to casually inform during conversations with your clients of your plans to go away at least 3 months in advance. This will allow them to consider what they have coming up and anything they need you to start doing now. As you start getting closer to the vacation date, you will have to be very clear and ensure they have it noted in an email or calendar to prepare them. Be prepared to remind your clients consistently as you want them to be absolutely sure things are taken care of before you go. Plus, you will need to reinforce what your VA will be working on and monitoring on your behalf, and what they will not.
- Proofread and setup autoresponders, scripts and out-of-office notifications. If you or your VA uses scripted emails or autoresponders to send emails or information to your clients or prospects, make sure you both proofread everything before setting them. Also, ensure your voicemail and call forwarding is setup and test everything before you leave so you know that there will be no technical hiccups while you are gone.
- Let go. If you haven’t already done so, you will need to give your Virtual Assistant an update of where you are with everything and what the possible outcomes may be for various clients. You may also want to provide your VA with possible scenarios and how to respond to each. Then. Let. Go. Have confidence in your VA to handle things and relax. You deserve it!
Going away on vacation should be a perk or reward for being self-employed, and in my opinion is needed more often than being in the corporate world as we tend not to always “shut off” after 5pm. The only way for you to have a vacation that is both relaxing and enjoyable is to remove yourself completely from work and to do that you need to bring in help that you can trust. This is a process just like any other, so to be successful you will need more than bringing someone in for a week of training to cover you, or it may not allow you to disconnect and relax enough to have a stress-free vacation.