While I was reviewing my 2020, I recognized an interesting pattern.
Every time I took a break from my business, I made a lot more the following month.
My first thought was to chalk it up to pent-up demand after I had been away but there was a bump in revenue whether I took a few days off or a whole month. It was a surprising realization because I had taken time off as part of my commitment to self-care (and to not lose my mind during this unbelievably hard year), not to benefit my business. But the more I thought about it, the more I understood why taking more time off was making me more money and I’m sharing my takeaways with you in the hope that it will inspire you to take mini or major sabbaticals from your business.
1. Understand your role as the CEO
For most of us, when we started our business, we had to do everything. As you grow and hire more team members, your job increasingly becomes not to do but to think. The main thing on which small businesses can compete with larger ones is our ability to be agile; our ability to see opportunities and take advantage of them with a nimbleness that is impossible for larger organizations.
When we are constantly head down in our business, we often don’t see these opportunities. Taking breaks from our business gives our brains a rest from the minutiae so we can think at a higher level. In 2019, I took a few days in the middle of the work week, to stay at a yurt in Eastern Ontario with no wifi or running water (which was NOT my comfort zone). Away from the constant demands of my business and family, I was able to easily make decisions that I had been wrestling with for months. The clarity from that mini-retreat helped me decide to move more of my business online ahead of Covid-19; a decision that paid off in a big way during the pandemic when I doubled my 2019 revenue, even as I took more time off.
2. Congratulations, you’re the bottleneck!
Time away from the business, especially a break of two weeks or more, will test your team’s ability to run the business without your constant presence. We’re usually worried about leaving our baby in someone else’s hands but what usually happens is that we realize that we are the person standing in the way of business growth.
Your team will either show you that they’ve got this and you can celebrate having a profitable business that works without you. Or, more likely if you haven’t taken major time off before, you’ll learn where you need to create systems, train and delegate more so that more of the things that have to happen in your business can happen without you.
I’m here to tell you that if you are paying people to work in your business but everything still needs to come through you, you are wasting money and time and you’re not going to grow.
3. Take care of the golden goose
We’ve all heard of the story of the goose that lay the golden eggs who came to an untimely end due to a short-sighted farmer. Yet, we do the same thing in our businesses. You’re the golden goose and you are killing your ability to make gold when you allow yourself to become burnout.
I can always tell when I’m approaching burnout when things that would normally excite me become a chore. I take that as a red-lights flashing sirens-blaring sign that I need to take a break now. For you it might show up as self-sabotage or excessive fatigue. Whenever you feel this coming on, you have to stop, regardless of what’s on your plate. But it’s even better to plan your breaks in advance so that you never get to this point.
Regular breaks will keep you motivated and sharp which can only lead to good things!
I was so apprehensive when I took a whole month off in the summer of 2020 but it was one of the best things I ever did for my business. If you’d like to take more regular breaks or even a major sabbatical from your business, I’d love to have a chat about how harnessing the law can help you do this.
If you’re reading this and thinking “That sounds great! But there is no way I could do this in real life…” or you’re thinking “I’m a solopreneur, this doesn’t apply to me…” Stay tuned to the blog as I will be setting out practical steps on how to plan your breaks!
To your growth,