On the Eighteenth Day of Christmas…

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On the eighteenth day of Christmas

Hooray – it’s nearly Christmas – well in fact this time next week it is!

Did you just groan?

Hmmm?

If you did, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Many business owners find themselves ridiculously busy at this time of year – customers demanding things be ready for the new year, trying to finish up those messy jobs still outstanding – like the world is going to end on December 24 – crazy huh; and it’s the same thing every year at this time of the year too!

You might even have team members taking leave. Do you remember when you were an employee? You put in a form and took leave and generally didn’t think about work again until the night before you were due to go back. It was all gloriously simple.

A study by online by our favourite accounting software – Xero – found that almost 60% of Australian small business owners haven’t taken a break for more than a year and nearly a quarter haven’t had a holiday in more than 2 years.

‘But I CAN’T take a break, I’m self-employed.’

I hear you say. And I know how busy life is as a small business owner too as I have been one now for over 27 years.

Time off is important.

However, research has shown that time off is necessary for your body and brain to recharge. Otherwise you could go down a path you probably don’t want to go down – burnout, depression, etc.

And neither of those conditions are going to make life better for you or your loved ones, nor bring you the joy that you first had when you started your business. So, let’s avoid them happening by making sure you take a break.

It doesn’t have to be a looooooong break. We’re not talking a couple of months – although if you really wanted to you could put things in place to manage that. But for now, let’s start small.

Could you do two weeks? We are and try to do this every year. It’s Christmas and unless you run a shop, or an essential service, chances are, it will be pretty quiet between the day before Christmas Eve and New Year. That’s 10 days right there. See how easy this is? One of those days is like the last real working day of the year – everyone will be at parties. 4 of those are weekend days and 3 are public holidays. So really, it’s only 2 days that you’re M.I.A. from the business.

You can take those two days. The world will not end. And let’s face it, you’re a small business owner, you’ll more than make up for that time over the couple of months.

So how do you do that if you’re self-employed?

Well, it takes a bit of planning, but it can be done.

You might consider the following;

  • Calling all your customers a month or so in advance and tell them that you’re taking 2 weeks off at Christmas. Checking what they’re likely to need over that time and taking care of it earlier.
  • Doing a deal with a friendly competitor. When you’re on leave, they look after your clients and vice versa when they’re on leave – this can work well if you have a good relationship with them.

Got you thinking, haven’t I!!

‘But my phone will ring.’

Yes, it might. But in order for you to have a real break, you actually have to log-off – and that means no emails or answering the phone.

Unless you’re an on-call surgeon, or something similar, no-one will die if you don’t answer you phone.

‘But it could be that big job.’

Yes, it might be. Chances are it won’t be. But okay – I’ll go there. What if, someone else looked after your phone and your diary. Then IF it rang, they could book that customer in at your first available time slot – after your break.

Now to do that you need to either hire a temp to look after your office whilst you’re on leave – your daughter, niece, etc won’t do – too close and they might bother you.

Or, you could set up a professional, virtual receptionist to look after your phone, so that no calls go unanswered, bookings can be taken and if anything really, really urgent is required someone can get in touch with you.

‘Oh, umm. When you put it that way, I guess I could take a break – I hear you think out loud’!

You’re welcome. And you’ll return back to work refreshed, revitalised and ready to go again.

If you’d like to know more about how a Virtual Receptionist might work for your business, so you can take the real break you need to start 2021 refreshed and ready to go, we can put you in touch with the agency that handles this very thing!

Have a great day!

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