People who are self-employed are often reluctant to take vacations. Typical fears are that they’ll be leaving their clients in the lurch, or worse, that their clients will take their business elsewhere while they’re vacationing. Some business owners might worry that they’ll miss the daily routine, or be concerned that they might miss a new business opportunity while they’re away. And of course, there’s always the unfortunate fact that when self-employed people don’t work, they also don’t make money.
There are ways to handle all these concerns, but first I’d like to talk about why divorce services business owners (or any type of business owner) should definitely take vacations.
We live in a society that seems to put a higher value on workaholics than on those who choose to take their earned vacations. Even when Americans do take a vacation, only 14% take more than one week at a time.
But we need vacations! We all need a break once in a while from the high-energy efforts and stress that are part of our businesses. If we don’t take some time to pay attention to ourselves and our families, we will suffer burn-out and our businesses will suffer. Here are some important reasons why small business owners need to take vacations.
- Vacations reduce stress and cure burn-out.
- Annual vacations cut the risk of heart attacks – by 30% for men, and by 50% for women.
- Vacations are the antidote for depression. According to a Wisconsin Medical Journal report, women who take two or more vacations per year are less likely to be depressed, tired, or unhappy with their marriage.
- A study published in the Journal of Applied Research in Quality of Life showed that even the planning of a vacation increased happiness for two months.
- Plenty of rest and leisure time strengthen the immune system and build resiliency.
- Time off from work can open people up to new perspectives, creativity, and inspiration. In fact, many people come up with some of their best ideas and business strategies while on vacation.
- When people return to work after a vacation, they often feel greater energy and clarity of thinking. Performance increases with quicker reaction times.
- 34% of professionals report that they are more productive after a vacation, and 53% of people say they come back feeling more connected with their family.
There are some things you can do to prepare for your vacation to minimize concerns about being away from work. First, try to get as much done ahead of time as you can. Make a list of everything that needs to be done, including tasks that you know will come up the first few days you are back at work, and dive into getting done as many as you can. Then you can enjoy your vacation by not stressing about what’s waiting for you on your desk when you return.
Let your clients know that you will be gone, and when you will be unavailable. You might consider hiring a virtual assistant to respond to emails and to check your phone messages for any urgent calls. They can route only the most urgent matters to you, if you wish. Just be sure to do a test run with your virtual assistant before you leave on vacation.
While on vacation, try to turn off you cell phone, ipad, and laptop so you can truly rest. The brain can’t settle down and become refreshed when engaged with all these tech gadgets. If you must so some work during your vacation, try to limit it to a specific time each day and set a time limit. Or you might make yourself available for limited hours on a few certain days, and then make all the other days tech-free.
If concerned about the lack of income during a vacation, see if you can build paid time off into your professional fees. Or plan your annual business budget to include revenue to pay for the vacation as well as the cost of not earning money while away. If you combine some vacation days with business travel, some of those travel expenses may be deductible. Check the IRS publications for details.
I encourage everyone in the Divorce With Dignity Network to take vacations to make sure they don’t suffer from chronic stress and burn-out. Since we are dealing with clients who are undergoing stressful times, it is even more important that we as divorce facilitators model a calm and peaceful presence. When we take the time to rest and recharge, we can be at our best for our clients. Ultimately, our business, our clients, and we ourselves benefit – a win-win-win situation!
For more information about the Divorce With Dignity Network, and how we can benefit legal professionals who would like to own their own divorce legal services business but not have to do it all alone, come take a tour of our website!
The author of this blog is not an attorney and the information contained in these blogs should not be considered legal advice. The information provided here is based on the experience of the author and some of her clients whose actual names are not mentioned. Do not hesitate to seek the advice of an attorney if you have any legal questions.