This one is for my business owner pals and anyone who has the capacity to take extended time off. I know that not everybody can and I also am well aware that there I'm really fortunate to be able to do this. (Note, I'm not saying lucky) but I think it's important to inspire those who might like to, but don't feel it's doable for them.
This time last year, I was sitting at home looking at Lauren Currie https://www.instagram.com/_laurencurrie_/ and Alice Benham https://www.instagram.com/alice_benham/ talking about taking August off. The idea came into my head and then I let it go. 'They have bigger followings/bigger businesses/make more money than me' I decided and thought no more of it.
Fast forward to September last year and I was lying on the beach in Magalluf thinking 'I could work form here'. My friend pointed out an apartment right behind me that her friend owned. Next thing I know I had paid a deposit and my 3 week holiday (I wanted longer but there was no availability) was born. I then took the week before off in the UK to get organised and see people before I flew out.
Covid kept rearing its ugly head and I genuinely didn't know if I would get away, but I saved 5% of every invoice, power hour or sale in my holiday fund anyway as I secretly hoped it would happen.
As things opened up, airport chaos was all the media was talking about plus spiralling costs. This combined with the constant voice in my head saying 'Who am I to go on a long holiday' gave me constant fear and I was scared to tell people I was going.
What were you worried about?
Well, all of the above. Plus money. Would people forget me when I was away? Would I come back to no clients? How would I cope with having no income while I was away?...As it happened I signed a client for my one to one programme the week before I went. I also created a video course, finished a contract and sold a Power Hour. While I was away, I also started to get bookings through for work from August onwards which meant I knew I had work to come back to.
How much planning did you do?
A fair bit, I scheduled lots of LinkedIn and Insta posts before I went away so that I would still be visible. I also left my diary open on some days so that clients could book straight in and I planned the video course to be ready before I went. It sold slowly as I knew it would with the time of year, but sales did trickle in while I was lying on my lounger (THE DREAM).
How much work did you do?
21 hours all in over the 3 weeks. I planned this to coincide with days I had no one out visiting me and had time by the pool before and after so it never felt like a hardship and let me keep going.
How did it go?
I LOVED it. More than I could ever have imagined. I had my brother and my gbf out as well as some solo time in between and at either end. I have friends over there but I didn't see them as much as usual because of Covid. The time with friends and family was amazing but I didn't realise how much I needed the down time until I stopped. I did meals out on my own, went for cocktails, listened to loads of podcasts and read 8 books. Not having to rush, be on or work to a schedule suited me perfectly.
Did I switch off?
YES. Absolutely. I did check in on LinkedIn and write/reply to posts and also checked emails but it was sitting in the sun on the balcony so not stressful in any way.
Would you do it again?
Yes. I'm booked up for 4 weeks next year at the same time. July is quiet for me so this was a perfect time to do it and now that I know it works, it's even better. I've come back to so many enquiries, a new client signed up to my one to one programme and have MASSES of training work in the diary so I know it won't make my business burn down!
How much did it cost?
Just under 3K all in for flights, accomodation, clothes, a few toiletries and all spends. I ate out every night bar 2 and didn't scrimp on anything. The accomodation was really cheap last year when I booked as no one was travelling, less so next year!
Top Tips for taking an extended break
My wifi wasn't always great and I had to use a mobile hotspot for zooms so check the mobile situation out for any countries you'll be visiting before you go. Some companies let you 'Roam like at home' but some are back to expensive calls now we are out of the EU.
Let everyone know well in advance, block your diary and get it in your head that it's happening. Get an out of office set up and tell any regular suppliers/clients how to get hold of you. I always had my phone/calendar with me so used that for future bookings.
Only offer dates that work for you out to clients if you choose to work some of the time, otherwise you'll get no down time and take no break.
Plan your social in advance. I wish I'd done more of this but did put a post out while I was away that got over 44,000 views so that helped with visibility and made sure I was still seen. https://www.shieldapp.ai/ will let you see which LinkedIn posts performed well so you can reuse them.
Pack as light as you can to save on costs. I took an old case out that I left so I only had to pay for it one way. My apartment had a washing machine and I was in beachwear all day, then got ready for meals out at night. I'd MUCH rather spend the money on a lovely meal than give it to an airline for the privilege of carrying/losing my case. In case luggage does go AWOL I stick flip flops, a bikini and some undies in my laptop bag then at least I can sunbathe waiting for it to turn up. (Priorities!)
I hope this helps someone to see that they can do the same. This is a more personal post for me, I'll be back with career tips next week!