Designing a business that suits your lifestyle is a favorite topic because for many mompreneurs, it just makes sense. Why build a business that is the equivalent of the 9 to 5 job you were hoping to avoid? That kind of defeats the whole purpose of starting a business in the first place.
The same goes for stressing over your summer schedule. Why bother wondering if the day camps and string of play dates is enough to tackle the mountain of work you’ve signed yourself up for over the school break? Unless your business needs you there year-round, consider taking some type of summer sabbatical.
There are two types of entrepreneurial sabbaticals: 1) the modified work week where you ditch a lot of your deadlines and commitments to focus on key projects or clients during a shortened work week or 2) a complete business shutdown where many elements of the business are put on hold or autopilot for the summer months.
The modified approach is ideal for solopreneurs and consultants who can control where and when they work, but have ongoing client commitments that can’t be put on hold until the fall. It’s also a good way to test to see if you and your business are ready to take the summer off completely.
Whether you plan on taking a 2 month break from business or compressing your schedule down to 1 or 2 mornings a week, there are a number of things you need to prepare before closing up shop for the summer:
#1: Ready Key Commitments — Let your clients/customers know that you are planning on taking the summer off well in advance and give them the option to stock up on product or push projects that you are working on ahead or behind in their schedule. The important thing is giving them enough advance notice so if need-be, you can finish all the essential stuff before going on break.
#2: Prepare Your Personal Finances — Estimate how much you need to save to pay both your business and personal bills over the business break (plus a month of buffer to cover your costs into the fall until the money starts flowing again). If you know you plan on taking the summers off, simply set money aside each month so you have enough saved.
#3: Put Marketing on Autopilot — Don’t go completely dark on the marketing front or people will start to wonder if you have gone out of business (and make other arrangements). The easiest way to maintain your marketing is to preschedule a number of blog posts, newsletters and social media announcements.
#4: Pick Your Summer Projects — Give yourself a few summer sabbatical projects to tackle so you don’t lose your mind and default back into work mode. Choose projects that tend to get put on hold because you are busy with work like reading that stack of novels you have on your nightstand or reorganizing the clutter chaos in the basement.
#5: Set Your Out of Office Announcement — Decide how often and when you plan on checking in, what date you will be returning to work and how you may be reached in an emergency (if at all) and detail those summer rules in your out of office announcement. If you work with a virtual assistant, it’s a good idea to include their contact details in your email.
#6: Map Out Your Back to Business Plan — Create a Back to Business strategy to get things moving and shaking again in the fall. This may include holding a sale, attending a number of networking events, doing prospect outreach or scheduling strategy sessions with existing clients who you will need to reconnect with in the fall.