Vacation 101 for Virtual Assistants

It’s that season! Spring Break is among us and the vacations are coming. (I know I feel it, but I live in Orlando… Spring Break capital of the world!) Maybe you have a big trip planned and are traveling for the week or maybe your kids are simply off school and you need to keep them entertained for the week. Regardless, we are all work at home #bossbabes for the flexibility to be able to adjust our schedules when necessary but there are a few things we need to consider as the self-employed before we are able to do so.

Plan well in advance.

We may be our own bosses but we still have clients to keep happy. This means we must let them know well in advance when we are going to be unavailable or less available than usual. Letting your clients know 3 to 4 months prior to a trip and then reminding them a month before is courteous. Be very clear how available you will be, how often (if at all) you will be checking your email, and what to do in case of business emergency.

Helping them set up for success while you are gone can make a huge difference. Plus, it may also lessen the blow when you return home to an inbox full of email requests.

Decide how much you will be working while you are gone.

Chances are, you probably won’t be able to completely shut down for the length of your trip. As a business owner, we still need to keep on top of our own personal emails, inquiries, personal tasks. But maybe you will not be taking on any client work for the length of your vacation. Or maybe you will be waking up early to get some pre-dawn work done before the rest of your group wakes up. Regardless, make the personal decision and stick with it.

Determine your working conditions.

Will you have access to WiFi? Are you planning on bringing your laptop? What type of working space will you have? These are all questions that may need to be answered prior to deciding if you are going to be able to work while you are away. If you are going on a cruise, chances are you probably won’t have much access to WiFi while you on the boat so that will play a huge part in your working conditions. Maybe you have to pack light and won’t be able to bring your laptop and will have to work from your iPad.

Hotels often have free WiFi or even business centers with computers you can work from. These are great free ways to get work done while traveling. These days, airplanes even offer WiFi you can purchase while in flight. For a small investment of normally $5-$10 you can get a significant amount of uninterrupted work done, plus you can write off the expense on your taxes. (NOTE: Not all programs/platforms work with airplane WiFi – make sure to see if your work can be done before making the purchase)

Whatever the circumstances are, have a plan in place for how you will get the work done you are promising to your clients. You don’t want to get to your vacation spot and realize you’ve made promises you can’t keep.

Agree as to how this will affect your pay & plan for it.

If you work on a stipend or monthly pay rate, you will probably have to discuss with your clients how this gap in your work will affect your rate of pay for that time period. Will you get paid the same amount, will you have a prorated rate, will you not get paid, etc. Whatever you agree to make sure it is documented in writing.

Then, make sure you are planning for a gap or lower pay rate in your monthly budgeting. You don’t want to be surprised come payday that your pay is not as expected.

Enjoy yourself!

As #bossbabes, we work harder than most people do. We ARE our business. If we don’t work, the business doesn’t work. That being said, we also deserve time off to relax and recharge our batteries. If our cup is empty, how do we expect to fill other’s cups.

So, once you’ve dotted all your “i”s, crossed all your “t”s, and put your vacation responder on, ENJOY YOURSELF. Relax and know that nothing will burn down while you are away. You have set yourself up for success and therefore deserve to enjoy yourself.

And one final quick tip – Give yourself an extra day when you return to work to gather your thoughts/clear out your inbox before you make yourself available again to your clients. Rushing right back into the thick of it is one sure fire way to hit overwhelm just as quickly. Take a day to reorganize, remotivate, and refocus yourself on work and then hit the ground running. Trust me, you’ll be glad that you did.

Have you downloaded my FREE 31 Day Guide to Opening Your Work-at-Home Business? In it, we discuss how to set up your business and how to actually get paid for working from home. CLICK HERE to download.

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