How to Take Time Away (Without the Stress)
How to Take Time Away (Without the Stress)

How to Take Time Away (Without the Stress)

If you’re a business owner, taking time away from work can feel really challenging. And if you’re a service provider with regular deliverables for your clients, it might feel impossible.

That’s not the case, especially with some careful planning and a good amount of communication with your clients. I’ve done it several times, once taking two full weeks away with only one short day where I checked in to make sure there weren’t any fires (there weren’t). And I’m getting ready to do it again, leaving my laptop over 5,000 miles away.

This week on the podcast, I’m sharing what I’ve done to prepare to be completely away from my service-based business for 11 days…without stressing out about it. Now, this is what works for me and it may not be what works for you. But it’s worth listening to and grabbing some tidbits you can incorporate into your next vacation planning session!

Mentioned in This Episode Podcast


Welcome to episode 248 of The Content Experiment Podcast, a podcast for service-driven business owners who know that content is important but there’s so much more to marketing and business growth.

Here we talk about showing up for your audience in a way that they want to hear, in a way that’s sustainable for you. This might mean publishing a weekly podcast or blog, but it also means paying attention to your email list, leveraging other people’s audiences, building relationships, and getting over the limiting mindsets that often hit when we’re reaching for the next level in our business.

I’m Abby Herman, fractional marketing officer, content strategist and podcast manager for business owners who want to make their marketing feel easier and more streamlined so they can get back to serving their clients and making those sales. I’ll show you how OR do it for you, while you do business in a way that works for you–I can help by supporting you through building and implementing a content and marketing strategy, taking care of the podcast management for you, or giving you the tools and resources to take this on yourself.

As the summer wraps up here in the U.S., I’m actually in the final stages of prepping for a much-needed vacation. My kiddo isn’t a kiddo anymore–she recently turned 21 and is finishing off her last year of college–so I don’t have to worry about planning vacations around a school calendar.

Instead, I get to plan around a milestone birthday of mine in a few weeks.

If you’ve been listening to the podcast this year, you know that I’ve actually done quite a bit of traveling this year. But I haven’t actually taken any time away from working. I’ve been working through all of my travels.

But in a few weeks, I’m putting away my laptop and taking a big trip that I’ve been saving for for a few years and planning for for the last few months. My plan is to log out of all my work apps and tools and check out.

As a service provider, this isn’t easy to do. If I’m not working with clients, I’m not earning revenue. And that’s a problem, for me and for my bank account.

I’ve shared about this topic before, back in episode 161, at the end of 2021, and WAY back in episode 19 too. So it’s been a while and my team, my clients, and my processes have changed a bit since then so I thought I’d re-share how I’ve prepped for this vacation. Especially since I will be overseas and likely out of wifi range for much of it.

First, I started out by letting my clients know that I’ll be away. I have a few new clients who I started working with in the last few months. During the discovery call phase, I let them know about the vacation plans so they wouldn’t be caught off guard. And about three months before my vacation, I sent an email to all my current clients to let them know about my plans.

In that email, I shared the dates I’d be away, my plan for coverage of their content while I was away, and what I would need from my clients so I could prep for this. My goal is for this to not impact any of my clients’ businesses or my deliverables.

I originally planned to bring on some writing support while I was gone but several of my clients are really far ahead on their video and podcast recordings so I decided I didn’t need to subcontract anything. Instead, I’m processing (creating the content and getting it ready to load) everything that’s ready to make room for some of the last-minute content that I know will land on my plate in the days before I leave. One of my clients has a launch a few days after I return so all the content and admin work for that will be done before I leave.

It’s been a lot of up-front work and I’ve put in some extra hours, a few weekends and late evenings, but I’m setting myself up to even be a week or so ahead when I return so that I don’t feel stressed out and the pressure of deadlines right after vacation. That’s never fun.

I have administrative support in my business, my assistant, Maddy, who does all the behind the scenes loading and scheduling of our client content. She’s been with me for almost three years and has a really good handle on what needs to be done. But she’s also not available all day, every day. So I’ve hired a former client and good friend of mine, Lindsay, to be Maddy’s back-up and to be available during the hours that Maddy is not.

Lindsay has hosted her own podcasts, knows my style well, and is incredibly responsive. Plus I know she’s resourceful enough to find a solution should a problem arise, though I don’t anticipate any problems. We’ve decided on a check-in schedule for her to do some quality control while I’m away and an hourly rate should she need to step in for anything. I honestly think that we’ve created the best possible plan.

Aside from that, it’s just been a few reminders to clients of the dates I’ll be away and everyone has been incredibly understanding. For the clients who are behind on their recordings, which means I can’t do my work, we’ve been working on some creative solutions: finding content to repurpose in the event their new content isn’t ready in time. It’s a great solution with no disruption to their visibility.

I have a few clients who I support in other areas of visibility and marketing, where we have some specific benchmarks we want to reach each week. Since I’ll be away, I won’t be able to reach those benchmarks. So, instead, I’ll be reaching them and then some in the weeks leading up to my vacation. The goal is no disruption of service, so I plan to work ahead here, too.

As far as my own business goes, I admittedly procrastinated my own podcast and content and I’m still finishing it up, but before I leave I will have content ready to publish through the end of my vacation.

In fairness, I admit I’ve really let my own content and visibility slide over the last few months. As I’ve shifted into doing more fractional marketing officer work, I haven’t been as diligent at keeping my own platforms up-to-date. I’ll share more about that in two weeks on episode 250. But I do know how important it is for my own thought leadership, brand awareness, and marketing in general. So my plan is to make sure that I stay visible even as I’m wandering the hillsides of the Alps.

On previous vacations I’ve taken, I’ve always brought along a little bit of work or a notebook so I could brainstorm ideas while I have open space in my calendar and my head. But I have no plans to do that this time. I plan to be completely unplugged from work and simply enjoy my time with my guy as I celebrate a milestone birthday.

I’d be lying if I said that turning off my email, slack messages, Voxer, and so on is going to be easy for me. It won’t. But we all deserve a little bit of rest and relaxation from time to time. It allows us to come back fresh and ready to tackle some big business plans.

So that’s really it: Communicating with clients well in advance, sending reminders, having a plan in place in the event I don’t receive content in time for it to be processed, working ahead to meet benchmarks. It’s not easy because it’s taken extra time, but it is pretty simple.

What will YOU do to take time away from your business?

If you found value in what you learned here today, be sure to share it on social media. Take a screenshot of the episode on your phone and share it over on Instagram stories. Tag me at thecontentexperiment. Or head over to LinkedIn and connect with me. Be sure to tell me you found me on the podcast when you send the connection invite! The more you share this podcast with others, the more we can get it into the hands of more business owners, just like you, who need to hear the message that they are not alone.

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