Ep #126: How to Take Vacation as a Female Entrepreneur
For women who run their own companies, taking a vacation can be a challenge. And FYI – going somewhere just so you’re not in your house, but still working, is not vacation. That’s just going on a trip. That’s virtual work. I’m talking about a real getaway from working!
What you’ll find in this episode:
- The elements that go into being able to take a vacation.
- The dream is the team. Do you have a team that supports you?
- Why a clear business model and clear business processes are crucial.
- Why we need job descriptions, clear goals and knowing what results we’re trying to achieve.
- The importance of developing your employees.
- The reason you must let go of “perfection.”
Featured on the Show and Other Notes:
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- Come connect with me on Instagram here or on Facebook here.
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Hey, I’m Kris Plachy, host of the Lead Your Team podcast. Running a million-dollar business is not easy. And whether you’re just getting started with building your team or you’ve been at this for a while, I’m going to bring you honest, specific, and clear practices you can use right now, today, to improve how well you lead your team. Let’s go ahead and get started.
Well, hello, lovelies. How are you? Thank you for tuning in today. I’m wondering if this podcast episode title caught your attention. I’m assuming it did.
How to take vacation. Seems so obvious, right? How do you take vacation? You just go on it. However, for women who run companies, I find that this is a challenge, taking a vacation. Now I want to be really clear about qualifying vacation because vacation for a lot of us is going somewhere so we’re not in our house, but we still work. That’s not vacation. That’s just virtual work. That’s leaving wherever you work from, but still working. Right? And so it’s not a real vacation.
And I’m recording this on the heels of having taken two weeks off. The first week, admittedly, I wasn’t 100% off. I did kind of check Slack and respond to some emails and did that kind of thing. But I knew that I would. And in fact, I had actually more intention of working. I was going to do some calls and my amazing Director of Operations, I asked her if she could cover that. And she said yes, and she did, because I was so immersed in my time that I really just was having a hard time kind of putting on my work hat.
The second week I took off, however, I was out. I took my family to Disneyland, which if you are a client, you know I talk about that a lot. If you aren’t a client, I love to go to Disneyland. Disneyland, not Disney World. No, we’re not going to have that argument. If you’re a Disney World fan, keep it. I love that you love it. I love Disneyland.
Anyway, my daughter and I arrived on Monday. My husband and son sort of joined as the week went along. And so we were there from Monday to Sunday, which is a long time, but it was so amazing. And what I did on this vacation is I took my mail app off my phone. I took my Slack app off my phone. I took Instagram and Facebook off my phone and my team. I had an out-of-office attendant that kicked out that said, “If you need me, text me,” with no phone number. So that really basically meant, “Only for people who know my number will you be able to reach me. Otherwise, you can go to my support email.” My team was in full support of this and they knew they could text me if there was a major, major problem, because I never want to leave people in the dark, but I also know that they would really qualify major, major problem, right? And of course there weren’t any because I have an amazing team.
So I really want to emphasize that was a big deal to me. I’ve had a business almost nine years, and it’s the first time in those nine years that I have taken that kind of time off and not had to reschedule all my clients so that I could take time off. I was able to run my business, have it function. We actually made money and all of my clients were supported while I wasn’t here. And that is magic. It’s just pure magic. And so I’ve had a lot of women come to me and that’s a goal of theirs, right? To be able to take vacation. And I think that even in our own mind, as entrepreneurs and founders, business owners, we have this hybrid version of vacation in our brain that is more like the one I said to you before, which is, “Well, yeah, I’m traveling, but I’m still available. I’m traveling, but I still check email. I’m traveling, but I still check in every day.”
That’s not vacation. Your brain doesn’t rest. And I came back. We had a quick team meeting yesterday and I told them I did not come up with one new idea. I didn’t write, I didn’t journal. I didn’t do anything for a week. I just was with my family and me and Pinterest. I will tell you that was my vice because I want to do some stuff to my house. I was having a great time with Pinterest. I was looking at all the things. Did you know they have some really beautiful new cabinet colors by the way? I’m just saying. Beautiful.
Anyway, so I want you to really think about your relationship with vacation. And do you believe it’s possible? Some of you take vacation and I do have some clients who do. I have some clients who take more vacation now that we’ve worked together, but there are elements that go into you being able to take a vacation. Okay? So I want to talk about what those are. And if you’ve been a podcast listener for some time, I don’t think a lot of this will surprise you, but I think it’s a good reminder.
So the reason that we can take vacations when we own a business is because we have built a team that can run the business no matter how large your business is, whether you run a million-dollar business or a $12 million business or a $100 million dollar business or more, right? It is always in the team. The dream is in the team. Just can’t say that enough. So if you don’t have a team that honors and supports you, okay, then what we need to do is evaluate who are these people? How did they get here? Why do they work for you, right? Why are they in your business? Are they delivering results? There’s this sort of process we have to go through, a little employee audit, a team audit.
But in order for a team to support you, you have to have a clear business model and you have to have clear business processes. So we have two elements that we always want to think about. Does the business know how to run and do the team members know how to run it? Okay? So these are the elements that help the business run. I run a coaching business. So these are the pieces and parts that support the operations of the day-to-day business. And then I have team members who have responsibility for different parts of those operations. Okay? And those team members are clear. And how do we know that team members are clear? We create job descriptions and make sure everybody has a role. We make sure people have clear goals. What are they working on? What are their outcomes? What are the results we’re trying to achieve?
In my case, and what I teach my clients, is we have consistent feedback. I do one-on-ones every week. We talk through what’s going on, we make sure people know how to resolve their own challenges. Ultimately, so many women don’t take vacation because their team is so dependent on them. And the reason that your team is so dependent on you is because you aren’t investing in their development. What you’re doing is just dealing with the problems as they come up, and then you are addressing, solving on their behalf, so they don’t ever take initiative to do that. And so part of it, a huge part of what we have to learn as we grow our management and leadership skill is how to give feedback and how to really have those developmental conversations.
When someone has a problem, when someone doesn’t know an answer, when someone can’t figure something out, do they just wait for you? Do they take a crack at it? What do they do? If they just wait for you, we have to make sure that you aren’t setting up an organization that requires you in every decision. It will exhaust you and it will prevent you from ever taking vacation and/or you’ll take trips, but not vacations, right? You’ll go somewhere, but you’ll still work. And I just know that your business, your team, you, your family, your body, everything will be better in your life if you take time off. But there’s the investment on the front end. And I do realize that’s why How to CEO is 12 weeks. It’s an immersion. You have to do this to get there.
I have a client I was just talking about who just took three issues right now. She’s taking three weeks off. I have another client, after we started working together, she started taking regular quarterly trips. This is totally doable, but there’s this investment you have to make. But holy moly, is it worth it. Holy moly. And I don’t know why you wouldn’t, right? So if your team doesn’t have clear roles, if your team doesn’t have clear goals, if the business doesn’t have processes that align so that you can assign people to them so that the processes are someone else’s responsibility instead of just yours, and if we haven’t set up sort of this developmental culture so that you are inviting people to make their own decisions, it requires you to be able to risk some failure, to allow for some mistakes. But you have to invite people to think so that you can leave.
And then the other thing really want to emphasize… and I’m not going to over-talk this because I think I could… you have to, my love, be okay with not everything going perfectly. One of the biggest curses, I think, that so many female founders have is this notion that you somehow do it the best. If you want anything done, right? You got to do it yourself, right? That quote. You have this notion that you’re most bestest at whatever it is. And therefore, your absence is going to cause harm to your business. And that’s a trap that you will stay in forever unless you are willing to recognize that some weird things can happen. And with very limited exception, like buildings burning down, very limited exception, your business will not be destroyed if you take a week off and a couple of employees make a couple of mistakes. If your business is that fragile, we have another problem.
So your notion of perfection is trapping you and not allowing you the freedom to actually become more and grow more and create more and live more. Didn’t you start a business so you could live and have fun and have some financial freedom and play, and didn’t you do that? I did. And look, I’m a great example. It took me nine years, and I teach this, you all. I teach it. So I’m very sympathetic. I totally understand the dynamic here. I get it. And I’m here standing, holding space for you to believe me.
People come to my Hawaii retreat and they still work. I always feel so sad when they do that. Here you are investing this money in you. This is yours. I’m creating the space for you and you’re giving it away to other people. So I do. I understand it. I just want to invite you to really, really sit, first of all, with the belief of what’s possible, that you could take two, three weeks off.
I have one client right now. That’s our goal. Three weeks snorkeling, right Deb? Three weeks of snorkeling. She said it was a week. I’m pushing her to three, right, where she could just take off and go, go snorkel somewhere amazing for three weeks. What is it? What do you tell yourself you could never do? Listen, the world is opening back up. You can go. Now what? What is it that you want in terms of time off and what can you start to do today to get you there? And of course, if we haven’t worked together yet, I really know you coming into How to CEO will change that for you.
I know, first of all, you’re going to meet other women who are like you, who also share similar challenges and beliefs and limitations. And together, you all sort of shatter through that, which is so fun to watch, and we support you with the tools to do it. So joining the How to CEO program, from my perspective, is the best gift you’re going to give yourself. And in July, we have an extra special gift. So you don’t want to miss out on that. Go to howtoceoregister.com to find out more. But mostly, the world needs women. The world needs more women leaders because leadership is feminine, and the world needs female leaders who are rested, who are willing to invest in themselves to model that for other women so that we really can change the world.
So I have this big goal. Yeah. I talk about that occasionally. Your rest is as critical as your work. How can you honor that more is the question I leave you with today. Thanks for tuning.
One more thing before you go. In a world of digital courses and online content, I like to work with my clients live because I know that when you have someone you can work with, ask questions of and meet with, you’re so much more likely to get the success that you want. So head on over to howtoceolive.com to learn more about our very exciting, very exclusive program just for female entrepreneurs. We’ll see you there.