What’s Stopping You From Taking a Vacation While You’re Self-Employed? Absolutely Nothing.
It’s August, and you’re headed to the oceanfront for vacation, sipping a smoothie, a beach towel slung around your neck. You’re on the boardwalk, smiling at the people who pass by. It’s sunny, breezy; you couldn’t ask for a more pleasant day on the shore.
But then you feel the familiar buzzing in your pocket, and even without glancing at your phone, you know it’s work. A client needs you, right now, and stress and worry overtake you like clouds interrupting the blue skies you’re walking under. All too suddenly, it’s back to the daily grind, vacation or no.
Top 3 Self-Employed Vacation Myths
This situation is all too familiar for those of us who own small businesses, for a number of reasons. It’s difficult to manage taking time off when you’re self-employed, but it isn’t impossible. There are, however, several beliefs that seem to suggest you can’t take a vacation if you own your own business. Let’s take a minute to dispel those thoughts and expose them for what they are … mere myths.
Myth 1: “If you run a business while on vacation, you’re not really on vacation.”
When planning a vacation, you might be tempted to think this means you should be doing ZERO work while you’re out of town. This isn’t the case, though– folks from all professions do work from the road, and if you own and run your own business, it’s likely you’ll need to intervene a little, too.
The key to this is simple in theory, but tricky to put into practice:
- Set aside a couple of minutes (or an hour or two– whichever is more realistic) just to check in each day.
- Be specific about what it is you intend to accomplish, so as not to fall into the wormhole of work.
- Don’t go overboard– you don’t get any prizes for knocking out more tasks at the expense of your vacation time!
- Once you get that daily check-in out of the way, it’s back to all the fun and relaxation that goes along with a vacation, guilt and worry- free.
Myth 2: “Trying to unplug when you’re self-employed is unrealistic.”
In this digital age, we are all increasingly attuned to our devices: every beep, chirp, ring, or buzz can get us to stop whatever we’re doing and reroute our attention. Obviously, there are benefits to being able to connect to people with such ease, whether personally or professionally. But it can also be distracting and disruptive when you’re trying to get away from it all.
Indeed, the answer lies in the problem here: to “get away from it all,” you need to physically separate yourself from “it”:
- Your cell phone
- iPad, or
- Whatever device you usually use for work
Sometimes, the vacation does this for you– hiking where there is no cell service, for example, or hanging out in the ocean can give you opportunities to unplug without this absence feeling forced.
Depending on your vacation destination, though, you may have internet connectivity at all times. It’s ultimately up to you to disengage from your device and allow yourself the time to have a stress-free vacation.
Again, this is much easier said than done, especially if you are an entrepreneur and are accustomed to working ‘round the clock– but the payoff is so worth it.
Speaking of “payoff”…
Myth 3: “Taking time off when you’re self-employed is an indulgence you can’t afford.”
Once again, this is about setting realistic limits for yourself regarding what you expect to get out of your vacation time. These can be financial or concept-oriented expectations, and may require a little research:
- How do you get the most bang for your buck out of your time off?
- Have you saved a little money for travel expenses, or looked into self-employed travel reimbursement opportunities?
- Have you considered combining work with pleasure by pursuing a vacation business opportunity, such as a professional development conference in Maui or a small-business convention in Key West?
These are all ways to save money or make the most of taking time off while you’re self-employed– and these types of opportunities provide the kind of networking and PR experience that you and your business can definitely afford.
You Can Take Your Vacation
Ultimately, you CAN take that vacation– even if you *feel* like you can’t. Taking time off when you’re self-employed isn’t easy, and it will definitely involve some compromise and sacrifice on your part. All you need is to:
- Save your money,
- Work a little while you’re on the road, and
- Limit the amount of time you’re on your mobile device
Following these guidelines you can have just as great a vacation as a traditional CEO. So, go out soak up those last summer rays– you’ve earned it.
[bctt tweet=”Unplugging is sometimes the best thing you can do for your business” username=”YourAlterEgos”]