Both of us had a minor moment of panic last year after finding out each of us were pregnant because that meant that we would need to take at least a month away from our businesses to take care of our new little babes and ourselves. We ended up taking more than a month off, and we know that it can feel scary to prepare your business for any time away – even if it’s just a couple of days.
However, it’s super important that you know how to prepare your business for some leave time because it can benefit you in so many ways to have even one day a week where you aren’t totally focused on work. So in today’s episode, we’re going to be sharing about how you can prepare your business and your clients for those times when you just need some time off!
If you’ve been running your business for a few years, chances are you’ve had to (or chosen to) take a few days off here and there for a short period of time. Kory here! In the past I’ve taken anywhere from a 4-day weekend to a couple of weeks off for short vacations from my business. When you’re only taking a few days off, there aren’t as many things to worry about, but you still have to prepare your business. Here’s how:
Know how long you want to be off
This is an obvious one, but you need to know exactly when you’ll be returning for work. This makes it much easier to plan ahead in terms of to do’s and booking future projects. It’s also important to know when you’re coming back to work so you can let any current clients know when they can expect you to get back to work on their project.
Let people know in advance
Regardless of whether you have current clients or are trying to book projects, it’s a good idea to let people know when you know you have a vacation coming up. I like to add an extra line to my email signature at least 2-3 weeks before my scheduled time off so every email someone gets from me has a reminder that I’ll be off and when they can expect to hear from me again.
Give yourself a buffer when you come back
If you’ve never taken more than a weekend off from your business, let me tell you now that you’ll be so grateful to your past self if you give yourself an extra day “off” to catch up on work. Instead of planning on starting client work the day you get back, consider a 1-day buffer so you can clean out your inbox, reset, and get ready to go.
Long Vacations + Maternity Leave
So, we know that lots of people are curious how the heck we planned to take so much time off from our businesses, especially considering we have our own businesses, plus one together, plus this podcast. Krista had a lot more to think about her terms of her business because she has a more strict schedule, and I can be pretty laid back, so we’ll both share how we prepared individually.
How Kory Prepared
Create an autoresponder + add a note to email signature
Just like I would do for a short vacation, after I decided how long exactly I would be off I started to update all points of contact to include a reminder of when I’d be off. That included my email signature and my Contact page. I also created an autoresponder, but I ended up not using it (go figure ;).
Update website to reflect gap in schedule
I didn’t want people reaching out to me while I was on leave expecting that I’d be able to get their project done within a month (it happened anyway), so I updated a few pages on my website to reflect when I was booking projects. I made sure to include a line on my Services page that I wouldn’t be available for the last few months of 2017. I also included a note about this on my Contact page on my website since I outline my schedule availability there.
Writing + recording tons of content
The main thing I had to do was prepare lots of content to go live while I would be off for Coded Creative and this podcast. I know that’s pretty self-explanatory, but I essentially just wrote to get further ahead with Coded Creative. For the podcast, we recorded quite a bit of content in advance, and I worked to get through the end of my maternity leave scheduled to go live. I wasn’t worried about my own website because I’m pretty laid back on how often I publish new content on my blog.
My husband was set to be deployed during part of my maternity leave, so I had some personal things to take care of as well. I cooked and froze a ton of meals to make things easier on myself, which I actually recommend doing regardless of whether your spouse will be MIA. I also looked into grocery delivery services, planned to visit family to get a little extra help, and also made sure I could get anything done myself that we’re both normally involved with.
How Krista prepared
Krista did all of the same things I did except for preparing for a deployment. However, her preparation for time off looked a little differently because she was focused on handing things off to her team and making sure she was automating passive income products.
The first decision she made when it came to content was that she would cut her content down to posting every other week, which is what we’re both responsible for with Coded Creative, and what we were originally doing for this podcast. So, that meant she only needed to write 2 pieces of content per week to get far enough ahead, which was no big deal because it’s what she was already used to.
Preparing her clients
Krista cut off scheduled client work a month before her due date (after lots of my urging her to do so ;), and she planned to only take smaller projects as they came in. Similar to me, she updated her Services pages to reflect her availability as after her maternity leave was over. In addition, she also let clients know 4 months ahead of time that she’d be gone but had work covered for them.
Preparing her team
For Krista, this was the most overwhelming step. She had a lot of things she needed to get ready and she had a tricky time planning since both me and her virtual assistant were due two months before her, so that meant she needed her VA to be trained before she went on maternity leave and Krista couldn’t rely on me for some things I’d normally step in to help with.
Creating a playbook on Google sites was a huge help to making sure everything kept running smoothly while Krista was on her maternity leave. It outlined everything from who her team members are to processes for onboarding clients, scheduling posts, and doing maintenance projects.
Making Passive income
She doesn’t claim to be an expert here and didn’t make crazy money while she was away, but it was important to try to make some income passively since Krista was taking a huge cut in income during her months off. She took care of getting a few funnels wrapped up and tied them to opt-ins on her site. She also scheduled Facebook ads to run December – March to get new people in the funnels and retarget people who didn’t opt-in or purchase.
You may not be preparing for a maternity leave anytime soon, but everything we shared above can be really helpful if you plan to take anything a month or longer off from your business for whatever reason.
- Go through the show notes for this episode and create your plan for what things you would need to get done for both long and short vacations so you can be prepared, even if something comes up last minute