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Lessons Learned From Taking Time Off As A Solo Business Owner

I'm back after a month off for surgery and recovery and I'm answering your questions about how I took the time off. Thank you to everyone who shared kind messages with me while I was out and your thoughts and prayers were much appreciated.


 

Ep. 218: From Food Stamps To Successful Fashion Stylist Entrepreneur with Jessica Pappineau

**This was also a podcast episode (episode #220). If you'd like to listen to this conversation, use the link below.







 

My Health Update


My surgery was actually moved up several days so on Oct. 27th I went into surgery and at the time of this recording (Dec. 4th), I'm finally starting to turn the corner on feeling much better. While the recovery went went well, it was slower than I hoped for and I still have to watch out for a few things. But everything was a success! I'm still cancer free after they took some more biopsies and I no longer have the hemorrhoid problem.


Going forward I'll have regular colonoscopies since I'm high risk for colon cancer and there was mention of possible Crohn's Disease to watch out for later down the line. But overall, I'm healthy and ready to get back into my normal swing of things.


I will also mention that it's been a very interesting experience to speak so openly about this process and for each person who has reached out to say thank you or share your (or a family member's) story, thank you. Thank you so much for making this easier to share and for all of your support.



Getting Back To Work After Time Off As A Solo Business Owner


After a full month of not working, it's time to get back to it and in addition to sharing my health update I wanted to share more about this process too. So I asked you what you wanted to hear. Once I was back on Instagram I asked what you wanted to know and now I'll answer your questions.


Thank you to everyone who shared questions! They were really all within a few categories of topics so I'll break them down accordingly:


Tactically, how did I take time off (1 month) as a business owner and then get back into work:


How did you manage to take a month off?

  • Started planning in May/June when I knew surgery was coming (communicated with team, blocked calendar, told clients, looked ahead at revenue and what I needed to do so I could still pay myself during November)

  • Made an "Ideal Plan" of things I wanted to get done before I took off

  • Adjusted the plan along the way to get the "Must Do" things done

  • The important things were planned and scheduled (clients, podcast and email), the "nice to have done" things didn't get done in the end because surgery was moved up


The prep phase for taking time off typically goes well but what about after the break?

  • Very pleased with how I prepped for my return and easing back in


Tips on how to get back on business mode after a 1 month break (no matter the reason)

  • Use a project management system! (I highly suggest Clickup but there are other options) It will tell you what to do so you don't have to guess.

  • Ease back in if at all possible (half day, etc.)

  • Set your expectations realistically; it will take time to get back into the groove so don't assume you can jump back in full-force right away


How does it feel / as you get back to work? (overwhelmed, scared or ready to roll)

  • Excited to be back but appreciative of the break

  • Happy with how things kept going while I was out and now I've proved I can do it -- hello 1 month off for fun next year!


Person writing on a post it note in a notebook


Mentally, how did I handle taking time off from a job I love:


What was it like mentally to take off a month? How did you feel?

  • Odd but a great exercise overall


Did you manage to completely switch off from business during the break?

  • I still thought about business stuff but I didn't do anything other than think or make a few notes in my phone

  • The first week I was very uncomfortable so I didn't have any desire to work, the second week I started thinking about work more but we had a family member go into the hospital so that took time and energy. Week 3 I did some creative work I'd wanted to do but never got around to it. Week 4 was a holiday week (Thanksgiving) so that helped divert my mind and energy too but I did clean up my inbox before week 5.


How hard was it not to check email, voxer, etc.?

  • It would have been harder if I didn't set myself for success. I removed or logged out of apps on my phone so they weren't accessible.

  • Therefore, it was not difficult at all. While I thought about it during the time off, it would have taken extra steps to get to the apps, I didn't do it.


How did you find the trust that your business would be okay so you could focus on your health?

  • This is hard to do but possible.

  • I knew how to prep for time off because I'm very consistent with what I do on a weekly basis and it's inside a project management tool, not just my brain.

  • I trust my systems and processes and I also trusted that I've communicated with my audience and that I would be extended grace if anything went a little off while I was out.

  • Now I know I've built a business that can withstand me not being present AND how I can make this even more true after this time off.



Lessons learned from taking a month off as a business owner:


Biggest challenge

  • Giving myself permission of what "enough" was before I took the time off

  • Not working as soon as I started to feel a little better (habit of working)


Biggest joy

  • Knowing that I can take a month off - I cannot wait to do this for fun!


Lessons learned

  • Streamlined A Process: I found a step we could save in the podcast show notes process since there was no way I would be able to do it while I was out. This saves us time each week now.

  • Tested An Idea: I'd been thinking of adding in an additional email weekly so I tested this while I was out and my stats (open rates) stayed the same. This was a great use of time and testing.

  • Partnerships Are My Jam: I worked with a few companies on partnerships/affiliate promos that fell in this timeframe and not only did it work out, they were supportive while I was away. I grew my email list by 400 people AND made money in affiliate commissions while I wasn't working. This helps me know what to prioritize in the future.

  • Planning Ahead With Revenue Works: I knew I still wanted to pay myself the month I was off but I couldn't book any coaching sessions. I worked ahead to host a live series and then offered special discounts on coaching packages and brought in an extra $4,000 in revenue.


Has it made you think about taking more breaks?

  • YES!!!!!!

  • I want to take a weekday off every quarter just for fun.

  • I want to plan a whole month off for fun (or 2, 2-week breaks)



Take Away Message / Action


Create a business that you can walk away from every now and then. Systems and people can help you build a business that you aren't required to be present every day all day and I want this for you.


It may feel impossible to do this today but you can build towards this, one step at a time. And I'd love to help you with this too. I've got a FREE way I can get you started and that's with the Free Clarity Plan. Simply go to https://www.amandamckinney.com/clarity or you can even DM me the word "support" on Instagram and you'll get access to the form. It takes a few minutes to complete and then you'll get a response from me within a few business days with your customized plan.


Until next time give yourself permission to take time off and grace along the way. I'll talk to you soon!



Let's Work Together:



Ep. 219: Realistic-For-You Goal Setting For Small Business Success

"It was actually really easy to get back into business-mode after being out for a month because I have a system."


Amanda McKinney










 


Let's Work Together!


Image of Program: Proffitt Podcasting

I help women who stumbled into entrepreneurship, get out of the weeds and create a sustainable, organized business they are proud of and provides the flexibility they desire.


If that's you, let's work together!




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