On Workcations

Piyush Patel of Digital Tutors gave some great advice recently in an entrepreneur’s session I attended. He said (poor paraphrase probably), “If you want to test whether your business can exist without you, go completely off the grid for two weeks.”

After two years and a great rockin’ team now, I still don’t think I could go dark for that long.

Yes, I’ve read the 4 Hour Workweek.

Great advice in it, including taking mini-retirements, but overall the concept of thinking you can simply have a completely automated business with an always-consistent passive income stream is far-fetched. (Not that the book necessarily espouses that.)

But back to this week …. yesterday, my calm, relaxing and care-free time got a rude awakening to some deadline-based projects that I didn’t realize were due this week. It was a cold shower. I had to come back to reality, get plugged in, start talking …

What I realized is that … true unplugged vacations as an online entrepreneur, especially in your startup’s infancy, aren’t a big reality. It’s just not going to happen.

Yes … I need to delegate more.

Yes … I need to empower my team more.

Yes … I need to get my business streamlined so it runs without me.

Yes … I need to recharge my batteries more.

Yes … I need to find solitude and turn off distractions.

But doing all that in two years of just trying to be profitable with good cash flow, recruit the right people, put them in the right places, and keep our customers happy … that’s a pipe dream.

However … continually working on those things are definitely a priority for me.

With all this in mind, here are some thoughts on taking Workcations:

Get spousal support — Your spouse or significant other needs to understand and believe in the benefits of workcations. You need good communication about expectations on both sides.

Spend quality time with your loved ones — This is a follow up to the last because of its importance and something I’ve had to refocus on in recent weeks: spending good, quality, happy time with your loved ones. If I build a successful business FOR the people I love most … but in the process, leave them in the dust … all this is futile. It was a good word. And I admit, I had my priorities messed up all the while thinking I was doing the best for them.

Turn off unneeded distractions — I do most of my team communication via chat … but I also have a lot of biz contacts on it as well. When I turned on chat, I got barraged and distracted. Love talking with people, but I need more focus with this potential distraction. And my priority is to our team and our customers (yes, in that order).

Prepare for the worst — The crap typically hits the fan the moment you leave. That might not be true, but it sure feels true. Knowing things can and will happen, I try to prepare for that by leaving numbers, putting someone in charge to handle stuff, etc. I know we’re on the right track when I chatted Dustin yesterday and he said, “We’ve got a crazy devoted team to take care of things. Don’t stress too much, man :)” Enough said.

Your accessibility determines how much work you do — If you’re “online” then people will find you. I realized the amount of time I made myself accessible really did determine how busy I kept myself focused on work. That was my fault.

Enjoy what you do and it doesn’t matter — I told a friend one time that I needed a hobby. My all-encompassing focus (or maybe obsession) has been working to make our business successful and sustainable. But I love it. I love what I do. Most of the things I don’t love or loathe, I’ve delegated those to better suited people on our team. The books I buy and read are FOR our business … but I’d be reading even if I wasn’t in this position. So my friend asked me why I felt I needed a hobby. I love our business, our team, our community … I just need to make sure and cut out those things that make it like an anchor around my neck. This might have something to do with work-life balance too. Hmm.

Learn to say no — I stack way too much stuff on myself. I see open calendar dates and schedule way too much stuff and commit to things I shouldn’t. Maybe I need to learn how to better say Yes to the right things.

… ok, back to my workcation.

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  1. The paragraph about spending time with loved ones really strikes a chord with me. If i work my butt off to provide for my family, but leave them behind in the process then whats the point. That’s going to be stirring through my mind for a while!

    Also, I spent a summer in Branson with Campus Crusade. I have a deep sentimental connection to that city. Have fun!

  2. Andrea & I took most of the day off for our anniversary last week. The only on computer work we did was cover our support forum and email. We didn’t take a vacation per se, just worked on home life off computer stuff.

    It was a bit disconcerting. But, I think it did us good to do that 🙂

  3. Thanks guys … good to know I’m not alone. The tradeoff of the web life is being tied to a cord.

  4. I hear ya! I took several vacation last year, and each time I was rushing around getting things done before I left, then playing catch up when I got back.

    One, or perhaps two, vacation this year, max…

    Of course, *I* don’t own a business, I own a job. (just me)

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