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How to Set Up Your Small Business So You Can Take a Vacation

As a small business owner, you’re probably familiar with the roadblocks associated with taking time off. We all deserve a vacation occasionally, but it can be hard to dedicate time to relax when there are so many responsibilities on your plate. However, if you never take a vacation, you risk experiencing burnout, which is the last thing a business owner like yourself needs! 

According to a survey conducted by Xero, 77 percent of business owners feel burnout at least some of the time.1 As we all know, taking a vacation is usually a good way to avoid burnout, at least for most of us. Yet shockingly, only 14 percent of small business owners say they take a vacation — every two to three years!2  If you’re a small business owner struggling to find balance between work and play, here are some top ways you can ensure you’re able to take a vacation more than once every few years.

How to Set Up Your Small Business So You Can Take a Vacation

1. Create an OOO Plan — and Stick to It

Before you start mapping out when you could ever take a vacation, consider creating an OOO plan that outlines your strategy for when you’re away. Putting pen to paper will help you visualize what taking time off will look like, therefore helping it feel more attainable. In this plan, you can write down all of your responsibilities, what they entail, as well as who could cover them for you. Additional information you can include — project timelines, important contacts and any miscellaneous notes that could help someone execute the assignment successfully.

2. Cross-Train Whenever Possible

If you have employees, it’s a great idea to cross-train them whenever you can so they have a solid understanding of how you run things. The more your employees know about the nuances of your business, the better. Not only will this help you during times of extreme stress, but it will also give you the peace of mind you need to take that vacation without having to worry about whether or not they know what they’re doing. 

Additionally, consider creating a training guide for each aspect for your business (that someone could easily follow) so no detail falls through the cracks. A lot of pre-vacation preparation involves creating outlines for each department and responsibility, which is helpful to have, regardless of whether or not you’re going on a vacation!

3. Avoid Overcommitting

This may sound obvious, but it can be hard to say “no” when you’re a small business owner. If you want to set yourself up for success, avoid making commitments you can’t keep. This way, once you decide you’re ready for a vacation, you won’t have a bunch of projects you have to catch up on beforehand. 

It’s always a good idea to know what your capacity is for work. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in a cycle of constant stress and worry. If you’re someone who struggles with saying “no” to new work, consider creating a pros and cons list that outlines all of the advantages and disadvantages of taking on more work than you can realistically handle. Sometimes, seeing something written down gives you the perspective you need to change your habits for the better.

4. Hire from Within

Need to hire someone? Before you head over to job boards, consider hiring within. Because the person has already worked at your company, they’re going to be that much more knowledgable and prepared for your new job responsibility (even if it requires different skills). When someone has been at your company for some time, they’ll pick up on things that will take a brand-new hire even more time to learn.


By hiring from within, you’re helping your employees be more well-rounded, and therefore more prepared to cover for you when you’re away. Not only will you be lessening your workload (and stress) in the long run, but you’ll also be giving your employees a reason to stick around. It’s a win-win situation!

Invest In a Life You Love,

Donovan Carson - founder of Carson Capital



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