As small, independent shop owners, it can be incredibly difficult to step away from our businesses.
For some of us, we’re the only ones running our businesses. Others have small teams, but we still have to prepare our team and anticipate problems that could come up before we take time off.
Shopkeepers, though, are some of the hardest workers I know. We deserve time to recharge, and we deserve to disconnect from our work during our hard-earned time off!
Here are five ways to set yourself up for a stress-free, independent vacation.
Set Appropriate Tech Boundaries by Deleting Store-Specific Apps
As I prepped for my most recent family vacation, I took out my phone and deleted all of the apps that connected me to my store.
I deleted any app that would make me feel like I needed to respond immediately. That included the Facebook business app, our store’s phone call forwarding app (we use OpenPhone), our webchat app (Podium), and more.
Deleting these apps can cause some anxiety, mainly because we want to make sure our customers are taken care of (I’ll address that in the next few steps to take!).
I can say from experience, though, that not getting any notifications from those business apps is so relaxing during a vacation.
Use System Boundaries to Give Yourself Mental Space
I am a big advocate for systems and processes for store owners. They help shopkeepers run smoother, more profitable, and less time-consuming businesses!
There are three central systems boundaries that I use when I go on vacation:
Set Up Your Autoresponder
With this simple system set up, every email you receive gets an automatic response with your custom message.
You can put something like, “I’m out of the store until X date, but if you need immediate assistance, please call the store at X number. Otherwise, I’ll respond to you as soon as I am back. Thank you for your patience, and have a great week!”
That way, whoever is emailing you knows when they can expect to hear from you—or knows what to do if they need to talk to someone ASAP.
Hand Off Your Social Media or Schedule it in Advance
My sister and co-owner, Karen, isn’t a big fan of handling our social media accounts, but our customers love it when she does! One week of handing off your social media to your business partner, a trusted employee, or your virtual assistant isn’t going to make or break your business.
In fact, you could even choose not to post at all during your vacation. That might feel like a big step, but I promise your store will survive.
Or, you could pre-schedule a few posts so that it is entirely off of your plate. Just be sure to ask a team member to engage with commenters on your auto-posts.
Block Off Your Calendar/Appointment Booking Software
This may not apply to everyone with a retail business, but if your clients can book calls or appointments with you, be sure to block your calendar for your vacation. This protects your time and avoids any awkward conversations about rescheduling.
Ask For or Get Extra Help for Your Business
Some of you might say that I have an unfair advantage because my sister is my business partner. But I honestly know that if I didn’t have her, I would have someone else in place.
A store manager can be the perfect person to take care of your store while you’re away. If you only have one or two employees, though, they might not be quite ready for that responsibility. Now is the time to start training them so you can confidently take the vacation you deserve without worry.
Plan and Prepare Well in Advance of Your Time Off
We have to plan for and prepare in advance for vacations. And I don’t just mean in the day or two before you leave—often, it’s a two-week process to fully prepare a store for time away.
I wish I could be a carefree teenager again and jet off to a tropical beach without any prep work. Unfortunately, we have to engage our adult brains a little. I usually spend the two weeks before vacation with a slightly longer to-do list so I can fully disconnect during my time off.
Set Aside an Extra Day When You Get Home to Decompress
I’ve learned that I need at least one full day to recover and decompress after vacation. You know that joke about needing a vacation from your vacation? That’s me. I need it.
As an introvert, I need some extra time to rest, be alone, do laundry, and get the house together. Because of this, my husband and I try to plan our vacations so that we get home on a Saturday evening. That way, Sunday is for decompression and catching up at home, and on Monday, I’m back to work.
That extra time is the perfect gift to give yourself after a wonderful, relaxing, and disconnected vacation.
I chose this entrepreneurial path, and I genuinely love it. But I’ve learned that the best way for me to enjoy our vacations is to plan, prepare, and set boundaries. I am so glad to be my own boss and the boss of my vacation time, too.
- Ep. 49: How to Get Unaddicted to Your Phone
- Ep. 43: Should a Retail Store Owner Hire a Virtual Assistant?
- Ep. 56: The Retail CEO Challenge: Systems & Processes
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- [05:18] Set Appropriate Tech Boundaries by Deleting Store-Specific Apps
- [07:49] Use System Boundaries to Give Yourself Mental Space
- [12:49] Ask For or Get Extra Help for Your Business
- [14:01] Plan and Prepare Well in Advance of Your Time Off
- [15:12] Set Aside an Extra Day When You Get Home to Decompress