When is the Last Time You Took a Guilt-Free Break from Your Business?

Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu in Peru, where I’ll be this month. Image courtesty of Shutterstock.

I Need a Vacation!

Is “I need a vacation” something you say often? When is the last time you actually took a break? From 2005 to 2008 I traveled to about 60 countries on 5 continents. I had a small business, felt freedom like never before, and I was happy and fulfilled most of the time. I didn’t think life could get much better.

In 2008, one of my major goals was to focus on building a successful company and growing this blog. To really focus I decided to put my globetrotting on hold indefinitely and for the last two years I have been committed to building a world class company with a great team.

I am extremely happy with the growth of our company, the projects we’re developing (the last one is nominated for an Emmy!), and the people I get to work with like my awesome business partner. But something has been missing. I fell into a trap that 97% of entrepreneurs do: Work, work, and work without taking a vacation.

Last year ended on a high note and was a year of rapid growth. This year started off well too but by the beginning of February the voice in my head telling me to take a break just couldn’t be ignored any longer. That prompted this tweet on February 15th:

Travel Tweet

Responses started coming in with some really great suggestions:

travel tweets

I was thinking Peru but there were other places on my list too. Then I got this tweet from the Aranwa Hotel in Sacred Valley, along the Incan trail en route to Machu Picchu:

Aranwa Hotel on Twitter

That decided it and I contacted Aranwa immediately. I love the power of social media! So as I write this I’m getting ready to go to the airport to fly to Peru.

Take a Guilt-Free Break from Your Business

To be honest, I have a bit of anxiety around leaving my daily routine like I used to do so easily. My business partner and I have systems in place so that we can work on our business, not in our business. I trust these systems to take care of everything while I’m away! This is the key to drastically reducing the number of entrepreneurs who don’t take vacation.

These are some tips and tools I have for you so that you can take a guilt-free break from your business and relax, knowing that things can run smoothly without you:

Outsource your weaknesses

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses yet most entrepreneurs wear too many hats rather than focusing on the tasks that play to their strengths. It is important to learn how to delegate and work with a team who can compensate for your weaknesses. A virtual team is ideal and you can find contractors for hire on Elance, oDesk, and PeoplePerHour.com.

Get a virtual assistant

A VA can take care of the tedious things that you don’t have time to do or don’t enjoy doing on a day-to-day basis. Once you’ve trained a VA, they become a huge asset to your business and allow you peace of mind when you’re away. You can find a VA using the same websites I mentioned in the previous section.

Get your head in the clouds

Cloud computing has changed the way we work and run a business. Leaving a brick and mortar store or physical office leaves you with more to worry about than a completely virtual business but all businesses can take advantage of internet based tools and software to run more efficiently. It’s easier than ever before to have peace of mind knowing that if you are required to solve a problem or deal with an emergency you can do so from pretty much anywhere.

For more tips and tools that will ensure you can take a vacation without having to worry about your business, read the awesome article “10 Online Tools and Tips for the Budding Entrepreneur” on Mashable that I was featured in alongside other Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) members.

Next time you say “I need a vacation,” plan on doing something about it. As hardworking women entrepreneurs, we all need to take vacations once in awhile for our overall health, well being, and sanity. I look forward to sharing my experience in Peru and at Aranwa with you over the next few weeks!

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8 thoughts on “When is the Last Time You Took a Guilt-Free Break from Your Business?

  1. Natalie, traveling is something I yearn for, too. The only problem is that I’m a crazy workaholic as well. Right now I’m working on a few ways to let them both exist in the same space. Enjoy your trip!

  2. Totally needed to get away and it was amazing. We all need a break sometimes and I guarantee you will be more productive coming back to your work with a clear mind.

  3. Natalie, if you have been to 60 countries, you do not need to ask where to go, you will find someplace else! I have travelled much, not 60 countries, but now love, love, love Rio. Just returned from 8 days in Mexico and made online sales laying in the sun. At home, I work until 1 or 2 am, get up at 8:30, pray, meditate, workout and work on my business. BUT, I love, love, love to go to Parisian cafe’s, Dutch flea markets, Spanish placas, parks in Buenos Aires, Italian meals outside all day. I have NO problem travelling and relaxing and it is research for my designs. I have a big problem coming home and having to work double time for a week to catch up. Thanks for telling these people to go on vacation. It is absolutely mandatory for sanity, old ideas to leave and new ideas to flow in, and they will! And after tonight, I am all caught up, whew!

    http://www.pippihepburn.etsy.com
    http://www.pippihepburn.com

    1. I haven’t been to Rio yet, have to add that to the list. And doesn’t it feel nice to make sales while you’re away?! Good for you Pippi! Love the bags on your site too 🙂

  4. Hey Natalie

    I’ve found that with an online business especially – given the 24/7 nature of it – getting away from the computer can be hard as it always seems like there is something you can do.

    And if you’re still looking for a new place to visit, New Zealand is a great place if you haven’t been there. I lived there for 4 years and loved it.

    Carl

  5. Don’t know how I missed this post but I hope you had a wonderful time Natalie! It is so hard sometimes to go on vacation and leave business behind. Something that I’ve done to help is to find a way to tie it to business but limit my ability to “work” while I travel. For example, it took my husband and I to our 10 year (dating, not marriage) anniversary to finally motivate and splurge on a trip to Argentina and Chile. But even then I couldn’t justify going without doing something work related while I was there (I’m a photographer). So for me it was contacting a photo editor and pitching a shoot in Mendoza. We were only in Mendoza for a few days but it let me 1. justify the trip to myself and 2. get some great photos. I didn’t pick up my camera the rest of the trip (if I have the camera I am working, period) so I could get the adventure/rest/experience we were hoping for. 

    Kate Benson

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