How to disconnect without shutting down your business

Whether you are looking to do something similar, or simply want a week-long staycation without stressing over client work, it is possible to do without shutting your business down completely. If you provide a service, this ensures your clients are cared for + you continue to make money while disconnecting.

Step 1 – give your clients advance warning

I struggle with sending “yet another email” to anyone’s inbox that isn’t mission critical. But giving your clients notice of when you’ll be unavailable isn’t a nuisance, it’s necessary.
Typically I send out this warning email 4-6 weeks before my trip. I let them know when I’ll be gone + when I’ll return. That way they can plan any tasks they need help with before I go, or after if they are ok with the timing.
Bonus of taking a vacation: it seems to spark some urgency in clients who may not have sent projects your way lately + remind them of how much they love working with you.
After that email, I’ll change my email signature to include a reminder of my upcoming trip. This isn’t a fool-proof method because some email clients hide signatures to streamline content. But it doesn’t hurt to keep reminding your clients what’s going to happen + when.
If you use an autoresponder/out of office email message regularly (to tell folks what to expect in terms of turnaround time, for example) it’s smart to add your reminder to that message as well.

Step 2 – get your backup team in place

Once your clients know to plan around your getaway, it’s time to find help for those that don’t plan OR any urgent situations that may come up while you’re gone.
If you don’t have any team members or employees, the best way to ensure your clients are cared for is to reach out to a peer for help. For the first handful of my vacations, I asked my favorite WordPress support team to cover client requests in my absence.
It’s even better if you work out a deal where your peer bills you directly so that your clients don’t need to sign new contracts or work through any minimums they might have.
For example, my backup team tracks their time + sends me a bill for the minimum retainer they have. If each client was billed individually, they’d likely have to buy a much larger retainer than they’d need for my small break. your clients will feel loved + your backup still gets paid for the work they put in — win-win.

Step 3 – let everyone know the details

Once you have your backup in place, set your vacation out-of-office to include the steps for your clients to take. (Or you can give them each a direct email beforehand + use your out-of-office for folks that you aren’t currently working with.)
You’ll also want to fill in your backup on any open projects, your core client list + any access they might need. My backup team gets access to all of my passwords so that clients aren’t sending them work requests + scrambling to track down passwords to share as well.
Before you panic about sharing all of your client passwords with your peers, take a deep breath + check out 1Password for teams. I’m not an affiliate at all, I simply love this tool so much. All of your passwords are stored securely + you add/remove users as needed. The best part is that you can set user permissions to be able to see the actual passwords or not. (I’d recommend not to keep your client’s data absolutely protected.)

Step 4 – sit back + relax

That’s it, time to enjoy your break cause it is so well deserved. Enjoy!

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