Who says being an entrepreneur is all work and no play? If you put in the right foundations, it can be your ticket to the freedom to do whatever you want.
For me, this means regular travel. But it wasn’t always this way.
I have always been ambitious, starting from my childhood, when I trained to be a professional gymnast. Once I left gymnastics behind, I set my sights on creating a successful business from age 19.
When I was starting out, I relentlessly set goals, worked around the clock to achieve them and then once I had, I set bigger goals and got back to work.
However, once my family came along, my wife and I realised I had turned into the textbook ‘All work and no play’ entrepreneur. I never took the time to smell the roses and I was close to burning out.
That’s when we sat down and made a major decision. Instead of never taking a break, I would work for three months then have one month off. I have since upped that to working for two months then having one month off. This gives my family and I the freedom to enjoy being together and travelling to amazing destinations.
How to take four months holiday per year
Making this kind of change may sound impossible to you right now, and it did to me at first as well. How could my business run without me there? Who would make decisions and how could I be sure they were the right ones if I wasn’t there to micromanage?
I was stuck in the mindset of ‘nobody can do things as well as I can’ and I didn’t believe my business could operate successfully without me there every day. This can take a while to overcome but the best way to do it is firstly to hire amazing people who you can trust and secondly to make it easy for them to get things done while you’re away.
There are a few factors which come into play here:
Firstly, to allow yourself the freedom and time off you need, you must do the groundwork and establish systems and procedures. These document all the ins and outs of your business, from sending a package to onboarding a new client and even using the coffee machine.
You can store your systems and procedures on your company intranet so they can be accessed at any time. Use tools like Wistia to quickly record videos while sharing your screen and go through step by step instructions. This may feel time-consuming at first but every video you record will save your staff from coming up to you and saying “How do I do [insert menial task] again???”
Your next important task is to leverage technology for automation. Make it easy for your customers to find the answers they are looking for without needing to speak to someone. Set up automated emails so you are in touch with your customers, even when you’re away. This will free you to step away from your business and finally take the time off you have been craving.
Of course, you don’t have to dive in with a whole month off. Instead, try leaving the office for a week. You can keep an eye on emails and let your staff know they can touch base if they need you but you may be surprised at how well they manage on their own.
One of the surprising benefits of being away from your business is that it actually gives you clarity and space to think of better ways to do things. As I explained to Business Insider recently, when you remove yourself from the business environment and take some time to unwind and decompress, you can’t help but think more clearly and creatively about how to solve problems and enhance growth.
My family and I have now visited over 75 countries across each continent. Our kids have the opportunity to experience amazing cultures and understand there is a world beyond their home and school. We love travelling together and we feel like we’re just getting started!