Time Off – Do You Want More Of It But Don’t See How?

How much time off do you take from your business each year? Is is less than you would like? I ask because I talk to a lot More Time Off Webinarof entrepreneurs who own small businesses, and I often hear that it’s almost impossible to take time off. To hear some business owners talk about it, you’d think they still worked for someone else. Sometimes, in fact, a client will tell me that she started her own business just because she wanted more time off. But two or three years into it, she’s not getting what she wanted at all.

Recently, I asked 3 questions about time off on my Facebook page. Here’s what I asked:

  • Would you like to have more time off during the year?
  • How much time off do you take right now?
  • What keeps you from taking that extra time?

Here are some of the answers I received.

  • No time off because of going to school and working (that’s understandable – setting aside time off for a set period of time to reach a goal could lead to more time off once the goal is met.)
  • Not enough time off given (this person is employed, not an entrepreneur).
  • Not enough time off due to being self-employed and still working a job.
  • I don’t take enough time off because I personally like to take care of all my clients.
  • Right now I’m reinventing my business so I am working on recreating the well-oiled automated machine I once had. In my former business I took the summer off and loved it, my goal is to get there again.
  • I’ve just started my business in the past year and I take 2 weeks over Christmas and some public holidays. I would like to take 12 weeks off a year to be with my children, but I think that is an awful lot of time off for a new business.
  • I’d like to have my weekends totally free and not be planning on Sunday evening.
  • My dream would be to have 8 weeks off a year without my business collapsing.
  • I do take time off and totally unplug during the holidays, but then I feel guilty for not getting work done over the weekend once Monday comes.
  • My time off includes 5 ten-day breaks during the year as well as from December 19th through the first Monday after January 1. If I work during these times it is only part time.
  • I build in time off almost every day with a short nap or meditation in the mid-afternoon.I also take a day or two a week to do something with friends.But it’s been a long time since I’ve had an extended vacation away from my business.
  • I would love more time off but have been working to build my business for the past 3 years, and unfortunately if I don’t work we get no income. Ideally, I would like one week off a few times a year.
  • I plan time off for short trips that give me personal renewal and take one big trip a year with my husband.
  • My spouse and I take one big holiday each year for a trip somewhere far away, and I take short trips every few months to visit family or to take quiet time to write or visit friends. I need to leverage my business more and build multiple streams of income.

It seems like for the most part either entrepreneurs are not taking time off or wish they had more time off. Being able to take time away without guilt is an issue, too.

When I work with a new client one of the first things I ask is how much time off they want to take each year. Why? Because no one decides to become self-employed in order to work more. After years of helping people start or expand their businesses I’ve learned that it’s very easy to create self-employment that soon feels worse than working a job.

The truth is, I did one main thing that allowed me to build a business in which I can take time off almost anytime I want to. I’m going to share that one thing along with other “more time off” strategies in a webinar on Thursday, May 8th. You can click here to get all the details and register if that’s helpful for you. Hope to see you then!



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  1. says

    Time off is a staple of my business! I love that you’re making this a focus.

    I NEED time away to re-energize, re-invigorate, re-motivate, and re-energize my creativity, as well as to reconnect with myself, my goals, my dreams, my vision … I need the time away to focus on ideas. I believe my “time off” is what allows me to be all in, to be hyper-focused when I am working.

    The key has been to make it a core part of the business, and to plan time off in advance.

  2. says

    This is a great topic, Sue! I think two keys to taking time off is #1 planning for it and #2. Having the business model, systems, structure, and support built into your business so that you don’t have to personally “hold down the fort” each day.

  3. says

    Two successful and busy entrepreneurs just spent a week in Paris
    celebrating 30 years of marriage. They turned off their cell phones.
    They barely touched email or social media. My wife and I had a great trip
    and our businesses kept on working without us.

  4. says

    No doubt you’ll be sharing some gems! you are the master at this topic!

    I’m shocked to see some of these responses – people don’t take weekends off? and a week off each year!?

    I plan and take a vacation each year. I have to admit I do some work there sometimes – like the last time I went to South Africa. I worked 2 afternoons a week and played the rest of the time! It was glorious and so rejuvenating. We need this for our health and sanity!

    I’m planning another trip to South Africa this summer and am looking to do some paid speaking gigs while there – a bit of work, more income coming in and lots of play and fun!

  5. says

    I am finally at the point where I can take off whenever I want. I had a lot of the reasons you listed above in my first 5 years of business, but something I learned… it all gets done. Of course I put systems in place to see that it does. The irony is, my fear was if I wasn’t working constantly my business would fail. That was almost the demise of my business as well as my health. Once I had no choice, but to take time off, it really re-prioritized what I wanted to do and what I thought I needed to do. Turns out, when I do what I want, I wind up with more free time.

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