You know what’s great about working for yourself? You know, aside from the sense of personal fulfillment and pride of ownership that you get to enjoy? It’s the privilege and flexibility to set your own schedule, working when you want, where you want, in whatever manner you want.
Do you know what’s one of the biggest downsides to working for yourself? You can’t exactly just pack up and leave for an extended period of time unless you want your burgeoning empire to come crashing down in your absence. Even so, for the sake of your sanity, it is of paramount importance that you get to “take a break” every now and then.
And I don’t mean stepping away for an hour or three to grab lunch with your friends. I mean a real break, one where you don’t have to worry about the world of work for at least a few days or maybe even a few weeks. But is that possible for an online solopreneur?
A Company of One
When you work for a more traditional company, particularly if it’s a larger multinational corporation or a similar kind of entity, there is usually someone who can “cover for you” while you are gone on vacation or sabbatical or whatever you want to call it. There are enough employees there that, for the most part, it will be business as usual without you and then you can just pick up where you left off upon your return.
When you’ve got your own online business, especially if you’re a blogger or Internet marketer, chances are that you are a company of one. The total employee roster consists of just you, so when you get up and leave, there’s no one to pick up the pieces for you.
That’s one of the big concerns that you should have in terms of scaling your online business and that’s why it is critical to have a support team in place to help. Outsourcing, even if only temporarily, can alleviate a lot of those concerns.
You’ve likely noticed by now that several of the blog posts right here on John Chow dot Com aren’t actually written by John, even though he is technically a company of one too. He’s got me and other writers to help produce the content he needs to keep this site nice and active. It wasn’t always that way.
Procrastination Compounds Itself
And even now, his social media profiles are generally updated by John himself. When he goes on vacation for several days, he schedules those updates ahead of time to ensure that his Twitter, Facebook and other social media are suitably updated and active while he’s away.
This is the very nature of having a very public-oriented online business like this. It’s true with nearly all types of online content, whether you’re a blogger, a vlogger, a podcaster, an influencer or whatever else. You need to keep in the public eye and you need to keep your platforms updated, lest you lose rank in the algorithm or fade to the background of your audience’s consciousness.
I was listening the Couples Therapy podcast with Candice Pool and Casey Neistat recently, and Casey brought up a very good point. Candice said that he should just tell his employees to pack it in for a few days and allow everyone to take a break. Go play some Candy Crush or something. After all, everyone needs a break from all that hard work, right?
But then Casey said that the break wouldn’t be a real break. They’d enjoy those few days off, the work would continue to pile up in their absence. There are still emails to answer, logistics to manage, sales to report, marketing plans to develop and all the rest of it. All it would mean is that when they come back from, let’s say, five days off, they’d just have six days’ worth of work waiting for them.
And even that’s not completely true, because procrastination (or taking a break in this case) compounds itself. By allowing these tasks to slide for several days, their relative urgency and the amount of work that would then need to be done would increase exponentially. It’s not a linear relationship.
The Empty Vessel
You cannot serve from an empty vessel. This is a lesson that is usually applied in the context of helping (serving) others, like your family and friends and community, but it can just as easily be applied to your online business. If you burn yourself out, the quality of your work will suffer, and your house of cards can come crashing down anyway.
You need to take a real break every now and then. Yes, preparations need to be made and blog posts will need to be pre-written and time-stamped, but you need to take a break. Yes, the work will pile up while you’re gone, but life will go on. Just remember to come back. You must always come back.