If you’re on my e-mail list or follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I was away for the past almost three weeks for a cross country road trip. Crazy, right?! From my home state of New Jersey, we drove through 24 states all in under three weeks. This past Monday was my first official day back at work and my trip seems like a total blur. I can’t believe it actually happened. All I can say is it was AH-MAZING!
We’ve had this trip planned for a few months, so I was able to prep myself and my business for the time I was going to be away. I was nervous I was going to be having to work a ton while on the road. While I’ve seen others do it and succeed, I’m not sure it’s for me. Working from home is one thing. Working while on the road without a stable Internet connection is a whole nother ball game.
Like many small business owners or solo-entrepreneurs, our vacations may not always fit the actual criteria of vacations. We’re still checking up on social media and replying to e-mails, so we’re not as in vacation-mode as we want to be. I was determined to not let this be the case for this vacation. Because let’s be real, this is once in a lifetime opportunity. I wanted to experience it!
Could my business stop completely and still succeed without me present? Not fully. I’m not sure if any business could. But it could survive by me only checking in here and there and coming up with a pre-vacation plan. So that’s exactly what I did.
1. Plan Out Your Content
I’m not talking about actually writing out your blog posts just yet. I’m talking about digging out your planner or pulling up your Google Calendar and figuring out what KIND of content you are going to post and when. I planned in advance the topics of my own posts and e-mails.
2. Reach Out to Others
This was the perfect time to get some fellow bloggers and business owners to guest post on my blog. So a few weeks prior to my vacation, I put a call out on some of the Facebook and Slack groups that I’m in and received a wonderful response. You may have caught Kathryn’s post about Facebook ads or Krista’s post on how to make sales using Pinterest. I’m really excited for the rest of the guest posts to go up later on!
3. Make a Master To-Do List
I know what I have to do, but if I don’t write it down sometimes I forget to actually do it! Having a master to-do list keeps me on track. I not only make sure I get what I need to do done, but I also make sure I get it done in a timely manner. I swear by my to-do list and planner. (Side note: I bought a sticker machine to make my own planner stickers months ago and I have yet to make my own stickers. I’m thinking of doing that soon!)
4. Batch, Schedule and Automate
These three words are what SAVED me. Something I started to do after I publish a new blog post was create pre-written content to automatically share on social media. This works wonders for Twitter. I also started to keep a library of edited photos I could share on Instagram. There are certain things in my business I now have systems for so I no longer have to post “live” for everything. I do the same for my social media clients as well. Planning out my content (and my clients content) helps so much when I get to this stage. Serious game changer.
During the Vacation Plan
1. E-mail Autoresponder
Because I know I would be checking my e-mail from time to time to make sure all my planning and scheduling was running smoothly, if there was an e-mail I was able to respond, I would. Hey, when you’re driving through the middle of nowhere (and let me tell you there were times when we were really in the middle of the nowhere), responding to a few e-mails isn’t the worse thing in the world. But because there are some areas where I would get no service for hours on end and because I wouldn’t be constantly checking my e-mail, I wanted people to know that I did in fact receive their e-mail and that I would respond if need be while on vacation in a timely fashion, but non-urgent e-mails would have to wait until I get back. People, this works!
2. Set Aside Time
Usually in the morning while getting ready in whatever hotel we were in was when I would have access to wi-fi and have a little down time to scroll through social media and any personal or client posts. I’d spend probably about half an hour in the morning doing this before my boyfriend woke up (if possible). Again, when I wasn’t driving I would check in sometimes on social media to see what people were up to and to post myself. (For our road trip, we paired up with Budget USA and took over their Instagram for our entire vacation.)
1. Back to the Master To-Do List
I have posts, guest posts, course, e-mails and webinars all in the head right now and it’s time to get them into action. I also have my own personal work to keep on top of as well as my client work. So the weekend before I came back to work, I made master to-do list and then used my planner. A bit like I did prior to my vacation. I also looked at my planner to figure what days I would which tasks. Rather than just following one insanely long list, I broke it down to make it more manageable.
2. Give Yourself A Break
Yes, I just got back from vacation, but that doesn’t mean my vacation didn’t take a lot out of me. Between driving through the middle of the night, sleeping in our car some nights and the time zone changes, we were both exhausted and in need of a salad (way too much fast food). So if I’m crashing in the middle of the day, I allow myself to take a 20 minute nap and come back refreshed. That may mean I have work a slightly longer day, but I’ll be much more productive if I take that quick nap than if I didn’t.
I was thrilled to work with Budget USA for this trip and to actually be able to take a once in a lifetime trip like this, but I’m happy to back and up and running my business again. I can’t wait to share all the new things I have planned for you guys! In the meantime, if you’re planning a vacation this summer and are worried about leaving your business behind, take some of my tips into account and use my social media content planner method (hint: this actually works for more than just social media since it’s totally customizable!). Don’t let your business keep you from taking a vacation and don’t let your vacation keep you from running your business.