How can a small business owner take a work-free summer holiday?
Everyone deserves a holiday. Do you feel that taking time off is almost impossible? It might have become unnatural. Do you find it hard to step away from the email inbox, to switch off, to remove yourself from the clutches of your beloved business?
Taking time off is possible, whether it’s led by parent guilt, or the need to have a bit of a break to remind yourself who you were before you set up your business, some quality time with your partner or to tackle that bucket list before you get too old for it!
We all need time away from work and business. How many great ideas do you have in the shower, at night in bed or in a waiting room when you’re away from your desk, laptop or your phone, when you can get a little bit of clarity? Do you remember the last time you travelled when it wasn’t for business?
Summer is the perfect time to take a break:
Other people are on holiday (clients/customers, suppliers).
People expect you to be on holiday and they accept it.
The next recognised break is Christmas, so get in there now as it’s a long stretch until then from September!
As an entrepreneur/business owner, one of the perks is that you manage your own diary, your own schedule, and after all you are your own boss. The hours can be long but rewarding, you’re often working outside of the nine till five, but you also need to take some time off. You don’t have to fill in a holiday request form anymore!
Whether to spend it with family, just have a bit of downtime, make the time to open your mind up to new opportunities and ideas from networking to training days, attending events or even reading up on what’s going on in the world and your industry. Maybe you want to find the time to pursue your hobbies (remember those?). You might have a summer wedding or hen do to head away for a day or two.
So whether you’re thinking about taking a two week holiday abroad we just want to have the occasional long weekends over the summer, you might like to take some time out for yourself to write your book, start another business project, have some admin and planning time, that is entirely possible.
We are all busy people, with suppliers, demanding schedules and clients. But like everything in business it is about prioritising, so even just taking a day off can mean juggling a few things around.
There are tasks that you can pass onto someone else, you can delegate, you can share. Bringing a virtual assistant on board offers a great deal of flexibility in terms of the help and commitment you need, being spread across days, weeks, the month, requesting specific time to take care of ad-hoc projects, clients or admin activities so that you can do something different.
Maybe you need to be away from the day to day running of your business for half a day a week, or a whole day, still be thinking about your business but doing it in an undisturbed setting where you can get a strategic focus.
A Virtual Assistant (VA) can help with a multitude of tasks, there are of course many different types of virtual assistants so it really depends what the skill set is that you’re looking for. Ideally you want somebody who can cover some of your skills but they might be better than you are at some of the daily activities which lend well to their individual strengths. A VA might be faster at solving the problem, they might be quicker putting together a PowerPoint presentation, they might be able to free up your time by going to your inbox and cleansing it unsubscribing from all that junk that comes through that sits in your inbox making you think you’ve got a lot more emails to plough through than you really have.
These are some of the tasks that a VA like me could help you with:
Writing might not be your strength, but the ideas behind the might be, after all you know your clients and your product better than anyone else. Equally you may have been so close to your product or your service for so long that you have forgotten what it is that a new audience is looking for, the way that you communicate your message to that audience could be due a refresh, but you haven’t found time so you have been trotting out the same content or your website is a bit out of date.
There are many options for content creation whether you completely outsource it, you dictate to your services, blogs, case studies and record them for a VA to type up and edit into a suitable format for your website or an article, wherever you place your content. Even a VA uploading content onto the website can save you valuable time; finding a photo, editing a photo, adding the text, adding the tile, formatting the page, adding meta tags, even a simple events listing can take up time. Just logging in and out of your website CMS can be a memory jogger.
A VA can help you look at what’s trending in your industry do bit of competitor research, tidy up your current blog if it has got out of hand, come up with blog topics, and even an editorial calendar to add some structure and focus, A VA can look at those calendars with the days of the year and celebrations that might be relevant to your industry, what events are taking place, and identify opportunities which you might have otherwise missed. The only time you need to free up is to approve and read it and make you read it and send it back. Think of all that time you can say potentially 3 hours on blog writing, looking for imagery, and posting in just a week alone.
Summer is a great time for this behind-the-scenes work particularly planning getting your ducks in a row for the last half of the year.
Newsletters & email marketing
You might have a schedule, you might be sticking to it, or you might not. If you have people signing up on your website to receive a newsletter you want to be able to deliver them a newsletter, and make it a good one so that they don’t unsubscribe. So a VA can save you time and help you to keep these potential warm. Anything from re-purposing existing content, sharing current content such as a video or creating content which will engage your customer. Nurturing those relationships, making those touchpoints (13 isn’t it before you might get a purchase?) reminding and reinforcing your messaging.
We know it takes time to put together a professional template; find the imagery, having a look at what’s performing in previous newsletters, and what’s not, writing the content, checking the list, sending a test and making adjustments, maintaining the regularity of your newsletters.
Of course there is also the set up of automated campaigns that you might want to put in place, you might have a firm idea of what you want to say that actually executing it could be another story when it comes to changes to software login in and now the same old story. you might have all the concepts and all the ideas just there ready but you need somebody who can make the time for you by putting it all together for your approval and finally sending it out after some changes if they’re needed.
Social media marketing
This can be really time consuming if you want to keep your audience engaged. The experts say you should post 9 stories per day! That is a job in itself! Keep those posts regular to maintain your keep engagement level, without posting any old nonsense for the sake of it and switching your audience off.
Often our businesses are working across more than one social media channel so everything needs re-purposing, a simple task, but one that takes time. You could have a bank of great content there you just haven’t had the time to re-purpose it share it across social media, so it’s sitting there wasting away in its little treasure trove ready to be reused. A VA can just get cracking, putting together a content plan or posts ready for your approval and amends, saving you time on creating visuals, writing/re-purposing copy and scheduling, going as far as keeping an eye on your analytics and a bit of hashtag research.
You might have more than one inbox, chances are there’s a few things marked unread, flagged, colour coordinated etc. A lot of VAs offer inbox management, whether it’s prioritising emails while you’re away so you can get straight onto the urgent ones, taking care of the simple requests, the ‘what are your opening hours’ and so on, letting important people know you are away, reassuring them on your return you will respond, taking care of anything that will pass/be outdated or deleting the spam.
No one wants to return from a break to an inbox completely jam-packed full. Save yourself time and share that inbox with a virtual assistant, then you can switch off, enjoy your holiday and not be checking your inbox on the beach, in the bar, on the balcony, by the pool… no temptation to work!
Event scheduling and planning
You might be planning events that are occurring after the summer and have some things on your checklist that just need to be actioned and monitored while you’re away to make sure the progress and the momentum is continuing in your absence.
A VA can certainly give you back some time each week and each month and make your summer holiday a more enjoyable, relaxing experience.