Does owning a small business mean saying goodbye to holidays?


There are many benefits of owning a small business, but taking holidays isn’t really up there as one of them. The fact is, it can be difficult to take time away from a business that totally relies on you (one you grew from infancy and which might even bare your name). However, and you really don’t need me to remind you, holidays are uber important – probably more so for small business owners who put in more hours than your average slave to the wage (who have PAID HOLIDAYS!).

In fact, a recent (and woeful) study revealed that as many as 6 in 10 of small business owners never have a day off, and, of those who do, many are guilty of still frequently ‘checking in’ – chained to the belief that if you aren’t working, you aren’t earning. But let’s not forget that a successful business needs a healthy leader, and if you aren’t taking optimum care of yourself (by taking breaks) then you aren’t taking care of your business. With that said and out of the way, here is some advice to keep in mind when riding through the remorse that comes with a week (or * whispers it * TWO!) spent in the sun.

Remember the benefits

If you are run down, your business will suffer. The fact is, fatigue or stress leads to mistakes that can fog your vision of the bigger picture. Maintaining your own well-being is always going to be a major challenge for business owners, but it is a huge priority. Who knows, time away from the office or desk might even serve to grow and foster the eureka moment that propels your business to further success.

As testimony to this, know that my own business was brought to life in Italy – fostered from a relaxed attitude, the joy of being removed from the immediate environment, and the product of a glass or two of Chianti!

Move delivery dates

As a small business owner, you might be scared to tell your clients about time off. Somehow, we cling to the belief that if take our foot off our competitors will swoop in like a flock of savaging seagulls. While competitiveness is good, it’s also totally unrealistic to believe that a client who you have a good-working relationship with will simply drop a project because of a lapse of a few days in delivery date. The key is to be honest from the offset of what you can deliver and explain way. Trust me, clients are not as mean as we often think they are and most of them understand the need for a holiday (heck, some of them are even guilty of enjoying one themselves).

It’s never a good time

There really will never be a good time to have a holiday because the nature of the small business beast is that it’s unpredictable and workloads can fluctuate. Your only tool against this is to plan, tell staff and clients well in advance of your holiday schedule, and do so with proudness – no apologies, no offers to still check email. You’ve got this.

Let go of your ego

I know that handing your baby over can be difficult, particularly for the first time – t a holiday can be a great opportunity to see how a business manages without you! Think of it as the chance to delegate tasks (something that the majority of entrepreneurs struggle with) and put in an effective chain of command which appoints a decision maker.

If you are a one-man band, and have no one to cover your period of absence, then switch your People Per Hour status to busy, put the out of office on and ask yourself, really – what is the worst that can happen?

Happy holidaying!

About the Author:

Victoria stopped working ‘for The MAN’ in 2014 and hasn’t looked back. She is Founder of Flying Free Media, a content and marketing agency for lifestyle brands including Unilever, Target, Wonderbra and Glamour Magazine. And will be taking her guilt-free holiday from 21st July-28th July.

Get in touch with Victoria


1 Comment

  • Humayun R.

    Nice advice by Victoria for all Small Business Owners (and all business executives, I might add) for taking time off from work sometimes. Thank you, Victoria for writing it and sharing your thoughts and advice on being realistic about your work, health and well-being!


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