You set your own hours and choose who you work with, however, as a solopreneur you may feel trapped in your business. If you can’t remember the last time you were able to get away on vacation then it’s time to have a look at putting a system in place that will allow you to take some much deserved time off.
Use the VACA system to create your back up plan allowing you to get away from time to time without your business suffering:
V = Virtual Assistant. Outsource your administrative tasks to a Virtual Assistant. By partnering with a professional who manages your core business functions regularly you are covered during periods of absence. A reputable VA can handle both the basic administrative and the highly technical functions of your business and almost everything in between. If you’re just getting started, hire someone to manage your voicemails and emails ensuring that customer service is uninterrupted. As your assistant learns your business she can proactively suggest more ways to help.
A = Align yourself with like business owners. Is there someone your clients can call on if they have an urgent request or to continue work on a project in your absence? Through online and offline networking you should be able to find someone with a similar work ethic who can take over for vacation or any period of extended absence. Then notify your clients in advance that you have handpicked a reliable associate that is available to assist them if required. You could arrange this as a subcontractor relationship or even negotiate a barter.
C = Create processes. Document your processes on a regular basis. List all the things that you do in your business with step by step instructions. This only has to be done once and refined when necessary. Do this for each client, product or process. Your Operations Manual will be a useful tool to anyone providing back up in your absence and if you outsource to a VA. It shortens the learning curve and is a valuable reference and time saving tool.
A = Automate your business. Set up a shopping cart system that integrates with your website. Anytime someone wants to make a purchase from you it’s a simple click of the mouse. If you are communicating regularly with your clients, you can schedule your weekly newsletter in advance to send to your list while you’re away at the cottage. All this and more can be done within the shopping cart.
Once you have set up your VACA system, the business can run without you to a certain degree. Now you can concentrate on other aspects of your business that will allow your company to grow and you to achieve the freedom you deserve and take a real vacation.
Do you have bad habits in your business? Are there things you repeatedly do just out of habit? You know you could be holding yourself back from success but you continue making excuses. I’m sure you’ve heard the quote by Tony Robbins, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”
Bad habits and excuses go hand in hand. If you want to kick your business up a notch but you’re allowing excuses to keep you stuck, have a look at the following list.
These are the top 7 excuses business owners use to justify their inaction and how you can turn that around to achieve the success you strive for:
1. I don’t have the time. A lot of us procrastinate by getting lost in busywork because it’s easier. These are activities that take up time but are not producing results. By managing your time well and prioritizing, you can ensure that you make the time for that important project.
2. I’m too busy. Similar to the above but rather than procrastinating you are multitasking to the point of accomplishing nothing. Try single-tasking. Focus all your energy on the task at hand. You will make fewer errors and achieve better, faster results.
3. I’m afraid it won’t work. Fear of failure can be immobilizing. Make a list of ideas you’ve dreamed of putting into place in your business, but haven’t because you’re afraid. Take action in small steps and celebrate each small success along the way. If things aren’t working, do it differently knowing that you’re learning and improving with each experience.
4. I’m afraid it will work. Success can be scary because it means things will change. You will have new and probably more responsibilities but remember you have more to gain than lose. Keep doing what works to create long-term success.
5. I’m making enough. We are creatures of habit and become comfortable with the status quo. However, it is crucial to get outside your comfort zone and come up with new ideas for your business. Volunteer to speak at the next networking event. Perhaps the regulars know you socially but do they really know what you do? There are probably at least one or two fellow business owners in the group that could benefit from your product or service.
6. I’ve always used ‘X’. Loyalty may not always be a good thing. Does it take your webmaster 2 weeks to make a small change to your website? Perhaps it’s time to look for someone more efficient. Don’t let loyalty hamper your success.
7. What I’m doing is working. In this case, maybe all you need to do is keep doing what works and add to it.
So if your desire is to have something greater, what’s stopping you? Choose one of your bad habits and create a new one. It is said that it takes 21 days to change a habit. That’s not long really. So put yourself up to the challenge. Start today and a month from now your world will be better for it.