Can You Take a Real Vacation From Your Home Business?

I just got back home from a long road trip to see my dad and grandma, southern California to Washington state, about 2600 miles of driving overall in one very full car. The kids were incredibly grateful for their iPad and DVD player, and while they didn’t pay enough attention to some really lovely scenery, I did appreciate that the kids were occupied enough to not demand a lot of stops. It was a good vacation, with very minimal internet access, as grandma doesn’t have an internet connection and my cell phone does not have an unlimited data plan, by choice. We use Ting, and my bill for two smartphones was only about $20 last month – obviously we use them very little, but that’s why Ting makes sense for us. And yes, of course that’s my referral link.

It was a nice vacation, much needed. I checked in with my business very little – maybe 5 minutes each evening to make sure no crisis had developed while I was having fun. It’s hard leaving things completely along even when on vacation. But there are ways to get completely away if you choose to, and take a vacation completely away from your home business.

Option 1: Have Someone Else Keep an Eye on Things

The best way to feel okay about leaving your business alone for a time is to have someone else watch over things for you. I’ve had one of my sisters do this for me sometimes, basically just making sure the site doesn’t totally vanish due to major problems, and maybe keep an eye on blog comments. For home businesses that don’t require daily work, this is a possibility.

But if you want someone really handling things, you may want to hire a virtual assistant. You can set things up for a virtual assistant to be able to approve or delete blog comments, and maybe even forward potentially important emails while you’re on vacation.

If you have interactions with customers, a virtual assistant may be a necessity. Going on vacation doesn’t mean your business has to stop completely – just think about what kinds of things may happen while you’re gone and how it needs to be handled.

Hiring someone to handle things while you’re gone takes planning, but if the income you earn is enough to make it worthwhile, it’s far better than closing up shop just because you’re not home. You have to pick the right person, and that means you should try them out while you’re still home. You don’t want to have to worry about how things are going while you’re on vacation because you don’t know if the assistant you hired really understands the needs of your business. Take some time beforehand and make sure they know what you expect of them.

Of course, it’s smart to have someone to delegate basic tasks to all the time, not just when you’re on vacation. But if you haven’t hired any help before, this is a good reason to get started and to find out if it works for you. Having someone else do the basic work while you do the things only you can do can be a huge help in growing your home business. Make a list of the jobs you need done, and which emergencies may demand your attention even on vacation, so your assistant knows when to contact you.

Option 2: Shut Down For a While

Some people do shut down their businesses so they can take a vacation. This will have an impact on your income, of course, and may discourage some customers, but there are times when it’s the right decision.

Option 3: Just Go, And Don’t Worry

If your business can run mostly on autopilot, you may be able to just go on vacation and not worry about hiring an assistant or shutting down. I’ve done that. It’s not my favorite solution, as I can’t help but wonder how things are going, but since most weeks there aren’t problems that demand my attention, I can get away with it and know it probably won’t be an issue. Certainly, if a crisis develops and you don’t know about it, a small problem may turn huge, but most of the time it really won’t be an issue if your business can be left on autopilot.

This is close to what I did this vacation, except as I said above, I did check on things a little bit. I could have left it all alone, however, and there wouldn’t have been any problems… this time.

Oh, and if you’re visiting Portland, OR, and you love books, don’t miss Powell’s City of Books. Their website is nice enough, but really doesn’t compare to walking into the building and browsing their selection. It’s just worth the visit.