Can we REALLY turn this off? Will power is tough for entrepreneurs. Let me tell you this annoying inner struggle I just went through…

In September I said yesssss Amanda you are DOING THIS! In December, you’re taking two weeks off. You’ll check in occasionally for emails but heavy and intense WORK work (blogging, newsletters, social media and marketing content, etc) you will put on hold for two weeks. So I’m having this little brainstorm with myself and it’s going well…but within ten minutes of me saying yes, two weeks! I can do it! I’ve already convinced myself to cut that in half because two weeks may be too much.

So okay. We will roll with one week. I can take off a week in the winter, right? I can have a winter vacation or small winter break…right? Then the anxiety sets in. Maybe one full week is too much. Maybe I should do five days, just so I’m not gone TOO long.

This is an entrepreneurial thing for sure. Talking ourselves out of down time. Talking ourselves out of stepping away and ALWAYS coming up with excuses. This is all fear driven. What if, what if, what if. 

What if I take a week off and that inquiry books someone else? 
What if I miss out on being able to make money for my family?
What if someone is disappointed in me for not stepping back into the office to return their email right away?
What if I look irresponsible by taking a vacation?
What if I let someone down?

If I lived this way, I’d be exhausted. I used to live there, in the shackles of being a business owner who only lived to serve others and had nothing to do with self care, personal time, vacation, days off…I used to be a workaholic. I will say I am DEFINITELY an inspired business owner and I LOVE what I do…super ambitious, biiiiig dreamer, but not a workaholic anymore.

If you choose work 100% of the time, you are not good to your family or friends.
You are not good to yourself. You have time for nothing else.
You might even resent what you once loved. 

THAT IS NOT GOOD!!! If you get to a point where you feel frustrated with that dream job you chased so hard…it’s time to really step back and see what’s going on. Did you fall out of love with your craft…or do you never get a break to the point where you are just surviving it and not enjoying it any more?

I settled on a two week period of being “off” but with some stipulations…so that I felt like I wasn’t 100% stepping away but enough to feel rested and not behind and not stuck on my computer the entire break my heart needed so badly after a wild year. Here’s my PLAN for being “off for two weeks” and I’m not going to say when these dates are because our team feels confident that we can run seamlessly during this break 🙂 It won’t look like this little mama has stepped away…and that was the goal:

Disclaimer – am doing this with help and with a team. I know that’s not the case for everyone! The good news is that so much of this CAN apply to someone who is working solo and then you can just schedule MINIMUM check-ins (maybe once daily?) and not spend all day in and out checking notifications.

Social Media Planning:

Instagram – I have at least ONE Instagram post to go live every single weekday until January 31st using Planoly. The only maintenance I’ll be doing is hitting “post now” and pasting the pre-written caption (because it can’t post it for you automatically, any program that does that is NOT recommended because it’s not safe!) and logging right back off. My social media manager will Voxer me to communicate about questions asked via DM and comments and ask what I want her to say back and we’ll keep up with correspondence that way, and using Voxer to do that takes me seconds to answer, SO minimal!

Facebook – The only thing we have planned for Facebook is the prescheduled blog posts to go live usually around 7 or 8am, about three times a week until January 31. This is something that CAN post automatically so I can completely walk away from that and have Mike pop in to check and answer comments once a day only three times a week – SUPER easy.

Blogging:

WordPress – WordPress is such a breeze. I have three blog posts scheduled to go live three times a week until January 31. I don’t have to do ANYthing with this, except check comments occasionally which Mike will do one time a week.

Emails: 

HIVER – Is an amazing program that allows Mike, Lisa and I to seamlessly send notifications back and forth and assign emails to each other accordingly. It also allows you to schedule your email responses (aka keep your emails within OFFICE hours…so I can answer at 9pm but schedule to send to recipient at 8am the following morning, like Boomerang for Gmail but this comes with Hiver) and also we have templates built right in with the click of a button right near the “send” button. There’s a “notes” bar we chat on to the right of each email to communicate what needs to be said, done, etc. SO EASY. I will check in on emails once every morning and make sure I’m only answering those that NEED my attention.

Auto responder – Oh the debate. Some people get really worked up about whether or not auto responders are okay but let me tell you something. Since we’ve put one up with crucial info for the emailer to know right away, it’s been SO much more smooth of a process for us and I don’t regret having one up one bit! Especially if you’re getting ready to take a break or ARE on break, these are very necessary so people understand there may be more of a delay than usual. You are human. You are ALLOWED to take a break.

Newsletters:

MailChimp – We have newsletters scheduled to go out a few times over the course of the next month and a half, and they’re additionally prescheduled. Not one more button click required…how crazy is that?!

***Are you seeing a trend here? AUTOMATION. PRESCHEDULING. PREPARING CONTENT AHEAD OF TIME. When you put the work in ahead of time…you are given freedom to step away later. From there, the only responsibility that generally sits in front of you is the correspondence, messages and comments. I’m so fortunate to have people to help me with my inboxes (it’s an investment, but worth it for us!) but sometimes my specific attention is needed for certain things, and I’ll spend my “off” time ONLY on those things and keep it as brief as possible. For someone who is always “there” and present and hustling…it will feel like SUCH a gift! I guarantee I’ll come back MORE refreshed to pop back into my business than ever before!

xoxo,

Want to keep up with an Outer Banks mama of three sweet (and oh so wild!) little girls shooting weddings & small business photography while making time for the things that matter most? Click on the links below and let’s connect!
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Posted by:amandahedgepeth

Hey there! We're a husband and wife team who has the honor to document inspiring wedding days for the most cheerful couples around. We have three daughters lovingly referred to as the mermaid mafia and we love nothing more than salty beach days, laughing as much as possible and living the simple, good life.

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