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I’m a HUGE proponent of traveling—it’s always been something I’ve been passionate about! When I became a full-time business owner, I knew that traveling would be a big part of my business. Being able to take time off when I wanted was and is so important to me. Since starting my business I have learned how to prepare for vacations and I want to share how you can do the same in your business.

Clocking In with Haylee Gaffin is produced and brought to you by Gaffin Creative, a podcast production company for creative entrepreneurs. Learn more about our services at Gaffincreative.com, plus you’ll also find resources, show notes, and more for the Clocking In Podcast.

Planning Vacations In My Business

I love exploring new and old places. I always find it funny when Steven, my husband, and I find a place we love and we go back to it time and time again. But we still love going to new places.

For example, for five years in a row, we went to Jamaica once a year because we loved it that much. Then anytime we get Universal Annual Passes, we plan our travel around going as many times as we can that year. But we decided last year to start heading to new places and exploring as much as we could.

Since I decided to take my business full-time, I’d say that Steven and I try to plan 5 or 6 vacations a year. They’re not always a full week, but we do love to plan these and explore! It builds wonderful memories for us, and we’ve never traveled and regretted it.

In addition, I usually travel for work 2 or 3 times a year, which means that I am planning for my travel in my business pretty often and pretty far in advance.

Right now, I’m working around 30 hours a week on client work, then an additional 5 or 10 on internal work. I’d say I’m pretty happy in this setup, but one day I’d love to scale a little more and help oversee the client work with the support of my team—baby steps though. Right now I have a smaller-scale team of three part-time contractors, who I’ve been blessed with. Those team members have started taking on more responsibility and even allowed me to prepare for vacations a little differently than I have in the past, but I’ll get into that.

Today, I want to share the baby steps you can take to plan your travel as a business owner.

1. Build Your Business with the Flexibility to Take Time Off Work

At the beginning of my business, this was difficult for me. The business I was building was based on weekly podcast episodes. I wasn’t requiring my clients to stick to turnaround times or deadlines, so someone could be sending me the assets for their podcast that went live on Friday on Wednesday. So I was working on putting out many of my client’s content on a time crunch. That is not happening anymore in my business. I need a little more flexibility in my business.

This wasn’t my clients’ fault, I had not established the boundaries in my business yet. When you set your business up to where you have more flexibility, it takes a lot of pressure off of you. For me, that included building deadlines and making sure my clients were working far enough ahead with me.

2. Mark it on Your Calendar

This is probably the easiest step you can do. Go into your calendar, look at your free weeks, and see if there are times you can. take off. What I like to do is look at my calendar and compare it with my husband’s. Whatever weeks that we both are free I block on my calendar and write something like ‘vacation?’ From there, we plan to be off work and prepare my team.

3. Find Support Where Needed

Over the last two years, I mostly worked ahead when I wanted to go on vacations, but in the last few months, I’ve played around with handing things over to team members instead. 

So, instead of me working 80 hours the week before I go on vacation, I’m trying to still only work 40 hours. If that means that I’m cutting thing out and hadning them over to team members for internal work, that’s what’s happening. I could even hand over client work over to team members that are trained to do it. I want to make sure that I’m still producing quality work for my clients. Rushing and working an 80 hour week is not gonna do that forever.

This has been one of the more valuable lessons that I’ve learned this year. As I prepare for vacations or time off in teh future, I am planning to do that more. Thankfully, I can trust my team members with that work. They have proven time and time again that they can do that work well.

4. Notify Your Clients of Any Disruptions

The best way I have found to do this with my clients is to send them all an email detailing the dates I will be out of office and the projects that need to be delivered to me by what date. I do this at least a full month before I go out of town.

The only time that hasn’t worked is when my email glitched and my client never received that information. I worked around it and everything was fine. Stuff happens.

You’re going to want to consider the disruptions this could cause them. If I came to a client and told them I was leaving that week and needed their next two weeks of episodes that would be awful for them. I can’t do that to them because they don’t do that to me.

If you have clients that batch and work ahead, your leaving might not impact them at all. I just give them the information and tell them that based on their batching schedule they will be fine.

Another part of this is making sure that they are informed, I remind my clients a couple times that I’m leaving so there is no miscommuniation. Then I shoot them an email right before I go out of town as a final reminder.

5. Set Boundaries on Your Vacations

Just because you’re a business owner doesn’t mean you owe your life to that business or your clients in your time off. I do think you owe your clients the courtesy of giving them notice to prepare if it will disrupt their workflow like I just mentioned, but we all deserve time off.

And if you’re still in a corporate job, I believe the same there. I wasn’t always this way, but treat vacations like you’re going to be without service. You deserve this time off, take the time off.

And, consider this when your clients are goin on vacations. Respect their boundaries as well!

I really hope that this episode inspired you to take a little time off work, find balance, and explore more, even if it’s in your own backyard. 

Remember, don’t let vacations wear you out like they did at one point in my business. Taking time off work shouldn’t stress you out. But if you’re not quite there in your business, know that it’s okay if there are some hiccups along the way!

Catch the Show Notes:

Baby Steps to Take To Plan Your Travel (4:10)

1 Build your business with the flexibility to take time off work. (4:15)

2 Mark it on your calendar. (5:05)

3 Find support where needed (6:04)

4 Notify your clients of any disruptions. (7:20)

5 Set boundaries on your vacations (10:20)

Review the Transcript:

I’m a HUGE proponent of traveling—it’s always been something I’ve been passionate about! When I worked in the corporate world, I always asked for more vacation time over more money when I was offered a job. So when I became a full-time business owner, I knew that traveling would be a big part of my business in being able to take time off when I wanted to. Now, I want to share how you can prepare your business.

_

I’m really excited about this episode, because as much as I love what I do, I also really love investing into time with my family and friends and going on vacation. You may be listening to this episode thinking, well I only travel once a year… that’s fine. You can also just take time off work while at home and treat that as your own vacation.

Today’s content might feel a little different than most episodes and that’s because this month we’re focusing on business and entrepreneurship and finding balance in it. 

For me, I love exploring new and old places. I always find it funny when  steven and I find a place we love, we go back to it time and time again, but we still love going to new places. For example, for five years in a row, we went to Jamaica once a year because we loved it that much. Then anytime we get Universal Annual Passes, we plan our travel around going as many times as we can that year.

But we decided last year to start heading to new places and exploring as much as we could.

Since I decided to take my business full-time, I’d say that Steven and I try to plan 5 or 6 vacations a year. They’re not always a full week, but we do love plan these and explore! It builds wonderful memories for us, and we’ve never traveled and regretted it.

In addition, I usually travel for work 2 or 3 times a year, which means that I am planning for my travel in my business pretty often and pretty far in advance.

Right now, I’m working around 30 hours a week on client work, then an additional 5 or 10 on internal work. I’d say I’m pretty happy in this setup, but one day I’d love to scale a little more and help oversee the client work with the support of my team—baby steps though. Right now I have a smaller scale team of three part time contractors, who I’ve been blessed with. Those teammembers have started taking on more responsibility and even allowed me to prepare for vacations a little differently than I have in the past, but I’ll get into that.

Today, I want to share baby steps you can take to plan your travel as a business owner.

1 Build your business with the flexibility to take time off work.

2 Mark it on your calendar.

No matter how far ahead of time you need to plan your trips, make sure you’re marking it down.

3 Find support where needed

Over the last two years, I mostly worked ahead when I wanted to go on vacations, but in the last few months I’ve played around with handing things over to team members instead. 

4 Notify your clients of any disruptions.

5 Set boundaries on your vacations. Just because you’re a business owner doesn’t mean you owe your life to that business or your clients in your time off. I will be diving into boundaries next week in regards to your business as a whole, but I do think you owe your clients the courtesy of giving them notice to prepare if it will disrupt their workflow like I just mentioned, but we all deserve time off. And if you’re still in a corporate job, I believe the same there. I wasn’t always this way, but treat vacations like you’re going to be without service.

I really hope that this episode inspired you to take a little time off work, find balance, and explore more, even if it’s in your own backyard. 

Remember, don’t let vacations wear you out as I did at one point in my business—taking time off work shouldn’t stress you out, but if you’re not quite there in your business, know that it’s okay if there are some hiccups along the way!

See you in next week’s episode!