Whew–running a virtual business is fucking rough sometimes. There are so many things on your plate at any given time. The stack, pile, interlock and sometimes make it feel like you will never get a break. But a lot of times–that overwhelm of the day to day makes us feel like we can’t step away–like ever! And that’s not true in the slightest. We actually CAN and SHOULD step away once in a while. So that’s why we’re talking about running a virtual business during the holidays today.
Now this isn’t talking about any specific holiday at all. Below are things that help you know what to do whenever you need to take a break from your business. Now for many they only take times off when their kids are out of school, so it will tend to align with various major holidays–but it doesn’t have to! So whatever you’re taking time off to enjoy–actually enjoy it by following these things to do when you are running a virtual business during the holidays.
Giving yourself breathing room from your ecommerce business during the holidays
A busy ecommerce store can be quite a workload–especially if you are still in solopreneur mode. So it’s imperative that for your holiday season you take a break and slow down. Customers are expecting your store to have different hours, or for you to spend time with your chosen family. So take advantage of that customer mindset and take some time off!
The big thing here is that you need to communicate with your customers any changes to your normal procedures for this time period. Here’s a quick checklist to help out:
- Update your Google Business Profile with updated Holiday Hours
- Change your shipping policy to reflect any shipping & handling delays
- Add a banner to your store that gives anticipated shipment days if orders are placed while you are closed.
- Make a post on social media with your updated hours.
- Send a Newsletter with the updated policies and hours.
TLDR: Take some time off. Whether you completely shutdown, or just minimize time in the office, that’s up to you. Whichever you choose BE SURE to communicate that with your customers and audience.
Taking a complete break from your service based business
As a service provider–sometimes you need to take a break from serving and just rest! So the holidays are a great time for this to happen because many people have younglings home and aren’t available anyways. It’s like the year was built for you to take a break–amiright?! Okay–so you’re gonna take a break but now what?
Just like our ecommerce biz peeps–communication and planning ahead is VITAL to a successful holiday break. Without those two, your inbox is going to be filled with frustrated and disgruntled customers. Neither you nor I want that for you. So here’s a checklist to help you out:
- Plan your time off well ahead of time so you can see what work needs to be completed prior to your break
- Let your customers know when you are going on break and how you are accommodating any normal deliverables for them
- If you have certain clients that tend to not like you taking time off–
fire themoops I mean build boundaries and policies around their typical requests.
- Build all the damn boundaries to prevent you from feeling a need to accommodate any requests during your break–I mean it’s a break not a serve!
- Block off your schedule for the time off so no one can book any thing with you while you’re off. Think about pre-scheduling when you get back so that people feel like they know what to expect upon your return.
- Update your away message on social media so people aren’t expecting you to respond super fast.
TLDR: Plan ahead and build boundaries so you can actually enjoy your time off.
That’s all fine and dandy–but what if someone tries to set up a meeting during my break?
Then you my friend have to have firm boundaries in place so you don’t fall into a resentful cycle of accommodating others. YOU ARE ON A BREAK–they can wait. Explain that you understand that the time they requested works for them, but that you are out of the office during that time and taking appointments. Then list times that do work for you.
The big thing with this is to remember that the people aren’t trying in a malicious way to disrespect you or your boundaries. They just don’t know what your boundaries are! They are working with the existing information they have (which is their schedule) and they are anticipating you to negotiate with them.
Membership Meetings during the holidays
Like I mentioned above–holidays are difficult for many people. Families are traveling, kids are home from school, prepping for any festivities or parties–all these things take priority. Expecting people to then change mindsets to be prepared for your membership meeting that falls in that holiday schedule is probably not gonna work quite the way you want.
Instead think about rescheduling those meetings, OR make the meeting before and after the holiday extended so that the time evens out. Your members will appreciate you accommodating their schedules and priorities. It makes them feel like you care about them, and that you anticipate how they will be able to show up for themselves in those meetings.
- Adjust the membership calendar to reflect the appropriate changes
- Send an email out explaining the holiday schedule
- Remind people during the break how they can get interim assistance (if available)
- Tell people your time off as well–that way they don’t anticipate your assistance
TLDR: Give people time off to enjoy the holiday, and release any perceived “burden” of showing up or missing a meeting by rescheduling membership meetings.
Now don’t forget to take the holiday time off!
Okay–now that you have your specific plan for your type of virtual business it’s time for the big reminder. ACTUALLY TAKE THE TIME OFF! Yes–I know you frequently say you’re gonna take time off then don’t. That’s not helpful to you OR your business–you need rest. The truth is the most reflection comes when you are not piled high with stress from the day to day. So take the time–and enjoy your holiday.
Last minute checklist to make sure you’re totally taking the time off:
- Block off your Calendar ASAP (Yes–that means both your paper AND digital!)
- Send out a warning email to your current clients AND your mailing list
- Set up your social media autoresponders
- Setup your email autoresponders
- Actually Check Out of your business!!!!
Did this post about running a virtual business during the holidays help you plan your next break? We’d love to hear about it–comment below and let us know!