As a small business owner, you may never take vacation. It can be hard, if not impossible, to shut down your business, even if just for a few days. If you can and are willing, great! There is nothing better than changing your scenery and routine to give you a refreshed perspective, energy, and rest.
If you cannot, consider taking what we call a Workcation. Travel somewhere, do work that cannot wait, and have fun otherwise. Here are some tips for taking a work-cation.
Figure out what cannot wait, what can wait, and what can be delegated
Maybe you want to keep up with email while you are traveling but drafting content for marketing can wait. Maybe you want to have sales calls but everything else can wait. Maybe you will only take emergency calls.
Before you book your trip, determine what you will need to do yourself while traveling, what can wait until you return, and what you can have someone else do. Make sure it is clear to your team and your clients who is doing what and what your availability will be.
What you want to do while traveling will also be a factor.
Are you visiting family and thus will have a lot of downtime?
Are you on a tour and with little say over your schedule?
Are you winging it with friends?
What time zone will you be in?
Plan the work, work the plan.
Work for a couple hours in the morning while everyone is still getting ready for the day, then head out. Or work during down time on your tour or in the evening after everyone is in for the night.
Remember though, you have put a lot off or already delegated it, so you are only doing the bare minimum to keep the business going while enjoying your time off.
Tools for traveling abroad.
Running your business while traveling internationally can get quite expensive. Here are some tools for running your business while minimizing costs.
- VPN: VPN lets you log in as if you were still in the U.S. If you use a service like Google Voice, your calls are free (from your computer).
- Phone: Thankfully, many international places offer lots of WiFi which I recommend you use as much as possible. Also, carriers offer an international plan where you can use a small amount of data for a flat rate and lowers the cost of text messages. You can also use apps like WhatsApp, Skype, or FaceTime/iMessage for iPhones to communicate with your team and others for free while on WiFi. *I strongly recommend turning Cellular Data off. This will prevent accidentally using data instead of WiFi, which will get expensive very quickly.
- Most electronics automatically adjust the volts for charging, but be sure to check to be safe. Items like electric toothbrushes, hair dryers, shavers, etc. do not. You can get an adapter to convert the plug but will need a transformer for items that do not automatically convert.
Here are some examples:
Sometimes, I go to Europe to visit family. During the day, I hang out with my family. While the kids are napping or at school, I may sit down for an hour or two and work at the computer. I leave my calendar open for people to schedule calls with me, but limit it to two hours each day. Those two hours are in the evening when everyone has gone to bed, but it is still the workday in the U.S. So I only work a few hours per day, but am able to keep the business going. Because I go anywhere from two to six weeks at a time, it is important to keep working. If I were to go for less than two weeks, I likely just take the time off.
A few years ago, my one employee at the time and I went to New Orleans for a few days. We would work for a couple hours in the morning and then head out to explore or visit networking groups. We were able to enjoy the city while also keeping our business going.
With some planning, you can enjoy time off without hurting your business! Now, where is your next work-cation going to be?