Feeling a little overwhelmed?
It can happen to anyone. Entrepreneurship isn't an easy road to take.
For all its promise of financial freedom and genuine fulfillment, you can often find yourself working just about all the time.
And that wears on you after a while.
Eventually, you're going to realize that you kind of need a vacation.
Unfortunately, that can be easier said than done.
Sometimes the logistics of actually taking time off can be a little hard to figure out.
Who will run things when you're gone? What if something goes wrong? Will you lose out on much-needed revenue if you're not around for a few days?
To free up some time, you can actually streamline and automate some of your everyday processes, keeping things as hands-off as possible to reduce your need to be around all the time to put out fires.
In a recent blog post, Shopify explains how.
Streamline your processes to create time off
Maybe help just isn’t in the cards, either hired or bartered.
That doesn’t mean every day has to be a 12-hour day, or that you can’t work some downtime into your routine, especially around the holidays.
1. Automate your routine tasks
Automation can take care of routine tasks for you, or take them off your plate entirely for a set amount of time.
Each task you automate is one more thing you don’t need to handle while you’re trying to carve out downtime this holiday season, and while there are some tasks that will still need your attention (we haven’t found a good shipping robot yet) you’ll be able to scale down your work hours if you need a break.
2. Update your customer-facing information
Your customers are reasonable people, and they understand everyone needs a vacation.
Telling them (with advance notice, and clear communication) that you’ll be taking a break goes a long way when it comes to creating time off for yourself.
Once you’ve decided what your vacation is going to look like, and how it’ll impact your customers, you can set the right expectations before you jet off for some R&R.
Make sure any communications include:
- How long you’ll be away
- How it’ll affect their orders and interactions with you
- What they should do now
For example, let’s say you’ll be away for two weeks, and all orders will ship out the day after you get back. Your communication plan to customers might look like:
- A fixed banner on your store announcing that all shipments will go out on the day you get back
- An email to your newsletter or customer list filling them in on the details
- A short sentence on the cart
- Updates to your social media profiles
You won’t need to put all the info in every update, but it might make sense to set up a blog post or FAQ.
That way, you can easily link to one place for complete information.
You could switch up your Instagram bio to link to your “I’m on vacay” blog post, which shares all the important details, or link to it from your store’s banner.
3. Offer incentives for “vacation” orders
Not being able to pack up and ship out orders ASAP is, understandably, one of the most nerve-wracking things about stepping away from your store for even a day.
After all “Buy now, and it’ll ship later!” isn’t the most conversion-friendly call-to-action.
That said, it is possible to keep the orders rolling in, even if they won’t ship out for a week or two while you’re gone—that’s what promotions, discounts, and bonus offers are for.
As you’re updating your customers to let them know you’ll be off for a few days or weeks, explain that while orders won’t ship out until you’re back, they’ll score a discount or a free gift by ordering while you’re out of the office.
Make sure you’re clear on when orders are eligible for the offer, and what specifically they’ll receive.
If it’s a discount, you can make it even easier on them by setting up a shareable discount link ahead of time—it’ll apply the discount to their cart automatically.'
You can find more great advice for carving out some much-needed time off while running an online store in the full blog post from Shopify.