One night a couple of weeks ago I had a dream about a bus. It was one of those old, red busses with since-long broken AC and questionable safety that runs the suburban lines here in Stockholm, and I was driving it. It was the weekend of the Babes in Boyland workshop, and everyone else was taking the train home. But not me, no. For some unfathomable reason I decided to drive home. And not in a car but in a bus.
(This is probably a good time to point out that I don’t even have a driver’s license. Yet I embarked on this reckless bus trip, and nearly killed a couple of old ladies in my foolish attempt.)
At one point when I was desperately trying to navigate this massive vehicle through a narrow passage inside the public library (don’t ask) I remember thinking ”WHY didn’t I just take the train home like everybody else?! Why did I decide to drive not a car but a freckin BUS??”.
This dream is a pretty accurate analogy of how I feel in my business most days.
Like an impostor. Signing up for one doomed mission after the other.
Or like Leo DiCaprio in Catch me if you can.
– You did graduate from law school, right?
– And you know how to fly a plane?
– How hard can it be? 😉
3 years ago I threw myself into a business where there’s no paved roads and barely any how-to’s. Yet somehow, though I lack driver’s license/certificate from superior forces, I’m learning how to run this business. And I dare say I’m beginning to get pretty good at it.
It’s about time I treat myself to a proper vacation. But hoooow??
(Ps! Curious about what a workday can look like for me? Check out this “One photo per hour”-post!)
When you are running solo in your business, no one is doing the work but you. If you are not pulling the wheels, your business is not moving forward. This can be incredibly hard to accept, and even more difficult to let go of and go on vacation.
Though with a little preparation, it’s not impossible!
As a solopreneur, I suspect that you love what you do, and might not even want to get away from work.
But as with every work, it’s important even for bloggers and solopreneurs to disconnect from time to time, to reflect on what’s been and get mentally prepared for the next round. We all know that creating some distance to a project or problem helps us see it in a different light when we come back to it. Some truly valuable insights can come from that.
First of all – Stop glorifying work!
And start seeing what value vacation can have for your business. Justifying your vacation by assigning it a purpose that is beneficial for your business can be especially helpful for those of us who have a hard time seeing the point of “doing nothing”.
I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely wired towards the “achievers’ mindset”. I have a hard time doing something that is not productive or that doesn’t bring me forward somehow. As much as I wished I could enjoy lazy days in the hammock, I have to trick myself to relax into it by telling myself that it’s useful for my productivity/creativity/mind clarity.
So what value does a vacation bring to your business?
I see my upcoming vacation as a chance to process all the changes I’ve been going through this spring, to evaluate my work projects and methods and think about how I wanna move forward.
I expect this break to give me new perspectives and a greater mind clarity that will help guide me & my business in the right direction. In the everyday chaos of deadlines and meetings, I sometimes have a hard time listening to my gut properly. And in this type of “lifestyle business”, following your intuition is crucial, in order to make your work purposeful and sustainable. Otherwise, solo businesses can be a fast track towards burn-out.
Make a game plan! Here’s how I’ve laid out my strategy:
1. Production race
Spend a week, or at least a couple of days, creating content. For me this means testing recipes, photographing them, editing photos and write blog posts. I post one recipe a week so during my production race I will create, shoot and schedule 5 recipes. I also have 2 personal blog posts planned that I’m gonna write.
2. Prepare social media updates
Upload images on your phone and pre-write captions for social media updates, to promote the blog posts you’ve scheduled. Set reminders on your phone for when they’re gonna go live so you know when to publish that instagram or facebook post. Prepare as much as possible! So you basically just have to hit publish when it’s time for your content to go live.
3. Prepare revivals of old content
Write a list of old, relevant content that can be pushed for again during the summer. Upload images on your phone, ready to go live on Instagram whenever you feel like you haven’t checked in for a while.
Give yourself some credit for having created all that awesome content in the past. You don’t always have to spit out new, top-notch content all the time.
4. Create an email auto-reply
To let people know that you are out of office and will be back so and so date. That way you don’t have to stress about not responding. People will understand. You can of course also leave your phone number for urgent requests, but I wouldn’t recommend it as you can be sure people will call you if you do.
The “good enough” approach
If you still wanna blog/instagram real-time during your vacation, let it be a natural reflection of what you’re up to. Keep your camera close to capture everyday moments. Adopt the ”good enough” mindset. The ”postcard” type of posts are definitely enough.
I will limit my real-time blogging to one or two postcard-posts from my trip to America in July/August (!!), but I will still update instagram during my vacation. Albeit with a much more laissez faire-attitude.
Though it’s tempting to see your vacation as a business conference to plan your entire editorial calendar for the rest of the year, try to save the autumn planning for the first week back in business. The evaluative process during your vacation should be effortless, like a tape running in the background while you’re busy eating ice cream or running through fields or whatever you do when you’re let loose 😉
Whenever a work related thought or a realization pop into your head, you can write it down somewhere and revisit it when you’re back from vacation.
It might feel like you’re not actively processing anything unless you’re not sitting down writing a report on it. But I promise you that this background processing will do its work, and you’ll be surprised by how clear you are on your direction when you’re back.
What about the money?
Naturally, your business is not gonna bring in any money while you’re away (unless you’ve managed to get a spin on passive income. In that case – congrats and respect!🤘). So ideally you need to bring in a little extra during some months to cover for this loss of income. But I feel like this is how it works anyway for most freelancers. For me, summer is low-season so I wouldn’t have much work anyway. On the other hand, April-June and November-December is high-season, so during these months I earn more than I need and can hence save up for vacation.
If you’re on a tight budget, at least give yourself a couple of weeks stay-home vacation to wind down, see friends, hang out in parks, read or whatever you like to do. For me, vacation doesn’t necessary mean travel. Mostly I just stay in town or go to my family’s country-house an hour away. It’s only this year that I happened to have a long trip to America planned.
What are your thoughts on vacation as a blogger/solopreneur? I would love to hear about your plans, strategies and struggles!
I hope you found this post helpful and inspiring! Let me know if you like it by hitting the heart button at the top or bottom of the post, or by leaving a comment <3
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