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  • Writer's pictureKayla Droog Consulting

Systems to take time off from your business

I have a confession to make: I’m bad at taking time off.


I feel like there’s always work I should be doing.


I still check my email notifications on a day off. 


But I’m working on all of this! The truth is, I have systems in place to keep my business running even when I’m away. I just have to get used to trusting those systems.


Want to learn how to create your own systems to take time off? Watch the video below:




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Do your systems let you take time off?


Do your systems actually allow you to take time off? 


If you own your own business, I'm sure you spend time dreaming about being able to take some time off and vacations, but it often seems like it is difficult if not impossible to actually fully step away and not be there to babysit and maintain your business while you're taking time off. But that's not exactly true.


 As entrepreneurs, we are also entitled to time off and vacations just like everyone else. And I want to make sure that you actually get yours! 

Here are some systems that you can put in place to keep your business running even when you have to step away. 


Now, I know that it is standard procedure whether you are self-employed or not to set some sort of out of office message or update your email signature if you're going to be taking time off. But I mean systems that go beyond that. Systems that actually keep your business running without you. 


Here are some things that you could consider putting in place. And remember, the goal is so that you can actually fully unplug and step away and that your business does not grind to a halt without you. 



An automated leads process


One of the first things to make sure that you have in place is an automated leads process. What I mean by this is that you have a system in place that allows leads to reach out to you if they are interested in working with you and get an automated response. 


This could look like filling out a form on your website and then maybe they receive answers to frequently ask questions, a link to book a call with you, or information about your pricing and packages. 


Basically, it should answer a lot of the basic questions that they might initially have when they are approaching you so that you do not have to manually answer these questions and it also gives them next steps to move forward even when you are not available. 


This is something that is great to have in your business at all times, but it's especially great when you are away, because it means that new leads still get information and next steps without relying on you, so you're not necessarily going to lose new leads just from being away on vacation. 


Automated follow-ups


Building on from automating your leads process, you can also do some automation with your follow-ups. Now, it's difficult to fully automate following up with leads, because the software is not necessarily going to know if they have responded or not or if they have booked an appointment or not. 


But when you are away you could create some sort of generic follow-up message such as, "If you haven't booked your appointment yet, here's the link to do so. I'll be in touch after this date." 


Where automated follow-ups are much more useful is with your current clients. If you have a set process that you take your clients through, you can automate follow-ups and check-ins at certain points in the process so that they happen without you. This is something that would continue to happen while you're away. 


For example, checking in at at a certain point in your client's journey to make sure things are still going well or to offer them a link to book a call with you if they have something they need to discuss. 


These things can all be automated so, again, those sorts of touch points would continue to happen even while you're away. 


Online scheduling


I already touched on this a little bit, but having online scheduling set up so that leads and clients just need to click a button on your website or click a link in an email to book an appointment with you is amazing. 


Again, this is something you should have set up all the time, but it's really valuable for when you're away, because then appointments can keep getting scheduled, you don't have to worry about it, and you can control your schedule for when you're away and what you want to happen when you get back. 



Recurring billing


Now, one of the things we all want to happen when we are away is for money to keep coming in on autopilot, right? 


If you are a service-based business owner and you have clients who are billed at the same rate each month, I would definitely recommend setting up invoices to be recurring so that you don't even have to worry about it. The invoices are just getting sent out when they're supposed to without you having to do anything. 


It's a little bit trickier if your invoices vary in amount or if it's not just a month-to-month sort of service. But if you know that payments are going to be coming up as due when you're away and you know what those amounts are, there are softwares that will allow you to schedule those invoices in advance so that they send at the right time. 


If this is not possible, you could either send the invoice early before you leave and adjust the due date, or let your client know that you will be billing them when you get back.


If you are concerned about billing for new leads coming into your business while you're away and you don't need to talk to them first before they can book your services, you could consider having some sort of quote or proposal on your website that people can access and they can pick and choose what services they want and book them even without talking to you. 


This is something that could be on your website all the time, or just while you’re away.


Again, this may not work depending on the type of business that you have. But it is an option if you want people to still be able to book your packages even when you're not available to communicate with them. 


Schedule your content


I also highly recommend preparing and scheduling all of your content for the time that you're going to be away. This would be social media, your blog, your YouTube channel - whatever sort of content you do. 


Get that planned and scheduled out as much as you can so that, again, it just happens on autopilot without you while you're gone and you don't have that gap in your online presence. 


Prep your projects


This is less of a system and more of a best practice, but I would definitely recommend looking at all of your projects and all of the tasks and things you have on the go and plan ahead. 


What do you need to get done before you leave? What are you going to tackle when you get back? The goal is to create as little lag as possible in those projects and that they can keep running smoothly as well. 



What about things that can’t be automated?


You may have things in your business that legitimately cannot run without a human's input. 


If you're really worried about that lag time while you're away and those things not being done, that's when I would recommend getting some support. 


You may not need that kind of support all the time. It is possible to just hire somebody to help for that period that you're going to be away, so that may be something that you want to consider. 


If that is the case, I would definitely recommend creating video instructions, documents, standard operating procedures - everything that someone is going to need to know so that they can step in and do those activities. 


I would also keep their task list as simple as possible. Really only the things that HAVE to be done, especially if this is a person who is not familiar with your business. Try to keep it as simple and streamlined as possible. 


If it can be things like, "Go into this program and check here. If this person hasn't done this thing, send them this email." Those sorts of tasks are pretty easy for someone to pick up, even if they don't know your business. 


But complex things like responding to emails and having to deal with complex questions from leads and clients may not be possible for someone who's not really familiar with your business. If you're going to hire someone just for a vacation period, be realistic about what they're able to do and pick up just for that short amount of time. 


Also make sure that they have as many instructions as possible, especially if they're not going to be able to get in touch with you while you're away. 


I hope this has helped you understand some of the automations and systems that you can put in place to help keep your business running without you, so that you can finally take that vacation you've been dreaming about! 


I hope that you can step away from the office without having to check your phone for your new emails every 5 minutes, and you can actually get some rest and relaxation. 


If you have any questions about what systems you might need so you can take a vacation or how exactly to set up some of these automations, please let me know down in the comments or feel free to reach out.


ABOUT

Kayla Droog Consulting supports heart-centered small business owners with the back-end systems setup and updates they don't have time to do, so they can focus on serving their clients and growing their businesses!

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