Shoestring Theory

Currently documenting the house that is eating our lives, we will return to regularly scheduled programming in a couple of more months

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TotD: Take some time off

March 31, 2008 at 6:01 pm by thetheorist

Tip of the Day: Take some time off

Sorry for the long delay between postings. We took a few days off over Easter weekend to visit family in Cincinnati. Since then, we’ve been getting the business ramped back up to full speed.

This is a good lesson for those of you thinking about becoming self employed. Taking a break is a good thing. Sure, you get no vacation time, no sick time. If you take a few days off work, the income for those days is likely gone (or less than it normally would be). You may miss out on some sales or some opportunities. That’s okay. There will be more. This was the first time we’ve taken anything resembling a vacation for about three years (minus one wedding). We waited too long and it was high time for a break.

One of the reasons I originally started a home based business was flexibility. I had returned to school, suddenly had a family to worry about and needed a lot of flexibility in my schedule to balance everything. Working at home created a ton of room in my schedule on a day-to-day basis. That flexibility broke down though when we started talking about taking several days off. I felt chained to my house or desk a lot of the time. Sure I could take a few hours off whenever to go to the littletheorist’s activities or run into Kansas City for something. The thought of going days without making sales, contacting my customers, or buying new inventory almost paralyzed me though. It’s like the entire house of cards could collapse if I didn’t have my eye on it all the time. This was not a healthy way to do business, and I knew it. It wasn’t even true. The business was fine and healthy and growing at a nice clip. My own insecurities and fears were just popping up.

The ladytheorist has really been working on me to relax and take time off every week. For a long time, I worked 7 days a week, usually 10 or more hours a day. I had to when I was in school. But, things are a little more relaxed now. First, I started taking Sunday’s off. The business kept growing, perhaps even more than before. Now, we only work a half-day on Saturday. Our customer base didn’t revolt because I wasn’t answering their emails at 4:30 on a lovely Saturday afternoon. We’ve got our weekday hours balanced out so the evenings are free for the family (though I’m still prone to do some work after the girls have gone to bed). Forcing myself to take time off also forced me to streamline the time I spent working, so I was more productive.

I still check my email more than I probably should, even when I’m not supposed to be working, but the reply sometimes waits until the next morning. So, do yourself a favor and plan some time off into your schedule. Even if it seems like that time doesn’t exist, you’ll find out that taking a break makes you and your business healthier in the end.

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