In the past blogs in this series we have discussed various items relating to owning a company with your significant other. All have been working items in all sense of the words. This is where this edition is different.
What happens if you and your partner now decide it’s time to take some time off or downtime and go on vacation together? Is that vacation still really a vacation? This is the subject of todays blog.
To us vacation is a prolonged “downtime” where you are supposed to relax and not work and just have you or family time. When you own your own company technically there is no downtime in our opinion. You are always on duty to some degree or another. Are you still checking your business emails in case of an emergency with one of your clients? Vacations to us are a once a year getaway to recharge and refresh. I don't count them as weekend road trips for a little adventure. Those are road trips and we treat them as such.
I’d have to say yes you are. Do you keep an eye on things that you worked on? That would be a big yes for me again. Working with things in the internet domain we are prone to “hiccups” and events that will cause unhappy clients. Some are partially our fault, but others are like an ice storm or blizzard. We don’t plan them to happen, the infrastructure causes them.
As guardians of our clients gateway it is our responsibility to at least take a glance at them and see if there is a quick fix or something we can do on our client’s behalf.
This therefore makes all vacation working vacations to some degree for businesses like ours. Lisa and I will always do what we can to ensure a happy client. Making any vacation taken by significant others very different then one you would take with anyone else.
Do we as a couple set ground rules while we are on vacation? I would have to say that is a big YES. We as a couple must take time off to recharge so we can be the best versions of ourselves for our clients. Without those we become burnt out and well downright grouchy. This means the work-related items we bring must have ground rules.
Let’s start with emails. We always set up the vacation auto-responder. You make it polite, professional and as detailed as possible. We tell the when, where (not the exact where but the area), and the how long we will be gone. This gives the clients the information on how long will be gone and when they can expect a reply to normal questions.
Now unless it is an absolute emergency we won’t answer those emails. Like my website was hacked and covered with purple troll dolls. I don’t know about you but that would be a business emergency. We do set aside time at night to go through the emails and make sure we didn’t miss any of those emails.
As we know not all countries have access to WIFI and free internet like we have back at home. Some have paid WIFI, others are still on dial up. When we are in those situations we do the best, we can and try to check once a day.
If work needs to be done, we do what needs to be done and well make sure you don’t guilt your partner. They don’t want to be doing work on vacation any more then you do. Believe that because its very true. The point of the vacation is to spend time together, recharge and connect as all couples do.
This ground rule is a big one, so it gets its own section. YOU MUST set time aside where there is NO WORK TALK. Look we get it. The clients are important, and our company is super important as well. This is where the crux lies. How can you recharge on vacation if you end up spending your entire time talking business?
See my point? It’s impossible. Don’t tell me it is because it is not. You as a couple, not business partners have to set aside part of the day so that no matter what there is no company talk. No business plans, or ideas for the future. NOTHING. ZIP ZERO NADA. Not allowed period.
You need that time to spend together to just be a couple and go enjoy where you are. Go exploring the region, lie in the pool with a drink. Just no work talk. Just spend time together. NO BUSINESS TALK.
Just typing this I hear Homer Simpson in my head in the Shining episode. Homer muttering to himself
“All work no play makes Homer something something…...GO CRAZY? DON’T MIND IF I DO!”
Lisa and I went to Mexico last year for a wedding with friends. I can tell you we were not talking business at the wedding. We were not talking about plans for Provoke while exploring the beautiful ruins of Chichen Itza. We were living in the moment as I know most people would be. LIFE IS SHORT. You need to enjoy it and your adventures as a couple. Otherwise honestly what is the point of it all?
I tend to keep my blogs short as I want them to be digestible, easy to read on your commute to work or at lunch. This is where I will end it for the day. Have a great week. See you next time!