Sometimes it’s not that you feel like you’re the only one doing everything, if you’re a single business owner, you really are. Is a vacation too much of a leap for a one-person service provider? — BadWitch
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Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…
Dear GWBW — I’m a sole owner of an established service biz that does well, but when I go on vacation, I have to shut down for the week. This has been fine in the past, but with this crappy economy I’ve started to be more concerned about this and other coverage. Suggestions? — Without a Plus One
Dear Without a Plus One,
You worked hard to establish and grow your business, who you let fill-in for you is an important decision and shouldn’t be put off. It’s a bit like a lateral business succession. I suggest you start planning for. If you do a Big Picture, more-than-you-need-today sort of planning for your vacations or other absences, it will help you realize and/or recommit to your real vision, mission and values for your business, and the right person/people will make themselves obvious to you from within your field that I assume you are networking or otherwise working.
Chemistry counts. Once you’ve identified a person or two (try asking for recommendations, your industry’s features of movers and shakers, and related schools for candidates) you feel would be a good fill-in for you (similar ethics should be on the above list, as in not stealing your client), why don’t you try trading schedules/clients, and/or even working side-by-side (whatever this might look like in your unspecified service business) when you both can accommodate this, and when it doesn’t matter.
Now more than ever, when times are tough and you’re worried or more mindful of money, make sure to take a vacation (even a few long weekends count), give yourself a true break from thinking and being around the work. Refreshing and nurturing yourself is just as important an investment in your business as making the right choices for fill-ins.
Be smart, have more fun!
Dear Without a Plus One,
Sounds like it’s time for you to weigh the pros and cons of hiring an assistant. What’s going to cost you more—payroll or week’s worth of income? Payroll or your ability to take a vacation or get sick without excessive worry.
Coverage for a business is about more than the lost week, actually. It’s about consistency for customers. If they know you’ll always be there, there is no need for them to look at one of your competitors for service. But, honestly being closed for a week may be just the leg up your competition needs to win some of your clients from you. Sure, you won’t lose all your steady customers, but some newbies may be won over by the competitions bells and whistles when you are not there to serve them at all.
Finding a good assistant means taking breaks when you need to without worry about shutting down the store. What kind of coverage do you have when you are sick? It is an investment, no doubt, but your hiring an employee may be just the thing to give you peace of mind so you can actually enjoy your vacation—sans worry.
Of course, you must be sure you hire the right person. Be sure they are competent, trustworthy and willing to accept a lower hourly salary. Family member or reliable friends may turn out to be the part-time employee you are seeking—or be able to suggest someone you can rely on.
Worry is a wasted emotion. I suggest looking for solutions. The answers are most likely much closer than you think.
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