When is the last time you took a vacation?
A real vacation.
One where you weren’t working most of the time or stressed about your business. For a lot of entrepreneurs, it has been a while. I took a three-month vacation to Italy with my wife and kids a few years ago and it ended up transforming my business.
It also transformed my life.
My business grew in a way that I had previously prevented when I was consistently around.
Just preparing for the trip changed how I operated in my business. The first two weeks of vacation were bumpy, but you’ll see not only how it turned out, but how you can use some of the same pieces to create more freedom in your life, equity in your business and cash flow that doesn’t come from your direct actions.
So just how can a vacation better your business?
Well, it begins with the problem that too many businesses face, the inability for their owner to take time off.
Can’t Let Go
When you start a business it takes time, money, and even hustle. The passion spent may be the most expensive capital you put in because you may have wrapped your identity in the success of your business. There’s a saying that goes “you love what you serve”. If that was ever true, it’s true for entrepreneurs and their businesses. We get protective of our creations and even identify as our business at times.
This leads to many of us playing the renaissance-role of trying to do every job and making every decision about everything in the company. You have employees, maybe even really good ones, but you will always be the hero who swoops into every difficult situation, even minor ones, to “save the day”.
A one-person show isn’t scalable or sustainable. The growth of your business can only go so far before being stunted by your overbearing love for it. We have to learn to let go in the right areas, so that our business can grow healthy and ultimately into the wealthy companies we all dreamed they would one day be.
Entrepreneurs don’t take many (if any) vacations simply because they are afraid to leave their business alone—even for a little bit.
Preparing to Leave
Schedule a vacation—today!
Don’t meander or hesitate, just begin planning now to leave. This will force you to make changes around your business that will make it stronger and able to handle any challenges that arise whether you are present or not.
I spent 18 months planning my three months away to Italy.
In that time, I realized how easily I got sucked into the daily operations or business logistics. This prevented me from writing, creating or speaking to the degree I wanted. It also prevented me from relaxing, as the stress was always running in the background. I was like a “helicopter parent” preventing any mistakes or issues by being involved in most everything.
You may be in a similar situation. You can begin preparing your business for your vacation now by delegating, empowering and learning to step back. This can happen the moment you schedule more than two weeks away. This means you won’t be on the phone, email or any system tracking workflow or productivity.
The learned behavior of relying too much on you is likely your doing.
People want to make the business owner happy, to do things perfectly and ultimately may be afraid of doing something without your permission. This limits growth and creates an unhealthy reliance on you the owner- preventing your team from feeling ownership over their role, any project and always looking for your sage advice as issues arise.
The first few weeks my team wasn’t doing much in the form of sales. Then the marketing and sales team started communicating and created an amazing financial blueprint program that created a consistent stream of appointments for the sales team. After I was away for thirty days, a whole new program was implemented, producing results and all without my involvement.
This reminded me of when I would share the stage with my business partner Les. I never quite developed my skills and creativity until I was able to do this without his interruptions or worrying about how he would say it. With a greater sense of autonomy, I was able to grow as a speaker and my team was able to own an aspect of the business that allowed us to scale.
Create Roles—Not Tasks
If you want real freedom to take a break, do things most people only consider at retirement or find time to do more of what you love in your business the key is how you delegate.
There’s a myth out there that says “If you don’t want something done right, then have other people do it”. But that’s only true if you don’t have the right people on your team or they don’t have the right clarity around what their role is and what the desired outcome should be.
Entrepreneurs that avoid burn out don’t delegate tasks, instead they create roles. A delegated task is like a boomerang; It keeps coming back to you.
You want to create a role that someone can permanently fill. The person you give that role to owns it, along with all the responsibilities and future tasks that come with it. This permanently frees you up and keeps you from having the stress that comes from micromanagement.
Roles are about productivity, not about if someone does or handles something just like you would. You empower people to run their roles as if it was their own business.
Some important points to take note…
- A task is a one-time action. One and done.
- A role is more process and project oriented. It’s full of recurring jobs.
- Roles generate the task. The one who runs the role delegates. NOT YOU.
This is the only way to truly scale.
Creating roles is how you reclaim time with your family.
It’s how you get your life back and enjoy your money!
It is how you take a real vacation.
You Are Not Your Business
Many entrepreneurs see themselves as their business. This can be a toxic mentality and can create volatility in life. Feeling happiness and sadness based on the function of business is dangerous. Business can always improve because it is a series of imperfections and is evolving through technology, insights and customer feedback.
Things don’t always go according to play- if you are there or if you are not.
If you have the right team they can come up with solutions, handle customer service and take care of customers. If you see your business as a vehicle to create and express value rather than who you are, you can find more peace and calm. By allowing others that work with you to be part of the solution you create a new level of freedom.
Better Than Before
There were a few unexpected benefits of taking my trip with my family. I was able to connect with my wife and kids in a way that wasn’t possible at home. There were no interruptions, which allowed for daily swimming, great extended meals and playing cards frequently.
I also came home seeing how easily I was dragged into other people’s drama that was robbing me of enjoyment. Plus, I was able to see my team take another step in performance without my involvement.
My organization evolved.
Taking extended time off will require more vision and less personal execution. It will be about being a leader more than a manager. This will unveil if you have the right team, processes and empowerment so you can find time to rejuvenate and relax.
In just under three-months of my time away, I did five half-days of calls. I did some early morning writing by choice and had one issue arise that required my attention, which made it difficult to enjoy Rome for 24 hours. Overall, it was tough seeing sluggish sales, but now I have even more freedom as I head to Italy with my parents and siblings for another trip. I won’t be checking email, but will be writing on the flight over.
What life do you want to create? What things are you putting off that you could enjoy along the way? What would have to happen for your business to support you, not just you supporting your business?
A vacation could be just what you’re looking for to begin living the life you always dreamed of.