I've recently taken a mini break from my business. I was lucky enough to spend 5 days in the sun in Southern Spain and I had the most amazing time. Interestingly, my business didn't fall down or stop working without me. In fact I had more orders in the 5 days I was away, than I did for all the previous weeks of the whole month.
So what does this mean? Have I hit on some magic formula? Or can we afford to walk away from our business for a few days, knowing that the right foundations have been built in place, so that it still functions effectively without us? I am going with the latter.
I've been pondering the reasons why and I have come up with a few thoughts of my own.
So, to put this all into context, and before I explain my thoughts, here are a few things you may or may not know about setting up a small business from a hobby.
Running a small business can sometimes be all consuming, it can remain in your thoughts day and night, and becomes your complete focus for awhile.
In addition I have recently transitioned from a side hustle to a full-time business. You also have an additional pressure in believing that if you don't spent every waking hour growing your business you will fail, the business will not be successful.
This is so not true.
I have now been working on my business full-time for three months and I feel that it is only now I have felt able to take my foot off the peddle, to catch my breath and to take stock. I must admit for the last three months I've been working so much on my business, trying to sustain it and grow it that I haven't taken the time to take stock and actually look at what I have been able to do and achieve.
Here are a few things which by having a break have helped me in my business:
Catching your breath
Taking unsolicited time away is important and necessary for anyone, whether you are in paid employment, looking after children or adults or self employed. It's essential to take time out and not think about work for a bit, to recharge your batteries and catch your breath. I know that when you run your own business, this can be difficult, but experience shows me it that it is essential and having time away will be well worth it.
Before I went on my mini break, I thought that I would write endless blog posts, tweak my online shop, think about new products etc, but it didn't happen. Instead I was surprised with how my brain decided to think about something else.
It actually thought about nothing.
I stopped posting on social media
Ok, so I posted once in my mini break. I didn't really have a plan on whether I was going to post or not, so I was surprised to see that I was quite happy to not post and to be honest it freed up a lot more time.
To be totally transparent, I don't actually have a routine with social media, I am not consistently consistent. But this very much suits me and for my business.
I enjoy using social media and I want it to stay that way, so for me I do not want it to become a routine, a chore, it suits me that I post when it feels right. Interestingly I didn't lose any followers during my mini break and my one Instagram post didn't bomb....such food for thought.
Doing and thinking about other things
Having this mini break away from my business, actually enabled me to think about other things, like my family, my relationships, my love for all of these things. I also read books, and I started to take an interest in myself, I had my nails done, I wore summer dresses and I sunbathed. These might sound normal things to some people, but when you are running a small business they can sometimes take a bit of a back seat and slip down the priority list. All of these things made me feel very happy and good about myself.
I felt more motivated and re-energised
It was only on my return home, that I suddenly felt more motivated and re-energised about my business. Not that I wasn't before my mini break, but what I found once I was home, was I actually missed working on my business, not in a human way but in a work relationship way (ok, maybe in a human way too!)
I've started thinking more broadly, more CEO type of working, about my next steps, my new products, and my wonderful customers.
I have come to the realisation that you do not need to do more to sustain your small business, you just need to put the time in to build the right foundations to ensure your business stays upright if you have to take a few days away or you go on a mini sun break!
Most importantly, I have come to my own thoughts around following my own path, leaning in on my intuition, my thoughts and my plans. I am at the beginning of my full-time journey and I am very happy with what I have achieved already and I am also excited to see what the future holds for this beautiful candle business of mine!