In this episode, Camille shares the importance of taking a vacation as a business owner and a mom and the steps you can take to take time off, plan your vacation, and fuel your creative energy to reflect and create bonds with your family.
- Vacation is an essential part of creating a healthy work/life balance but when you’re a busy entrepreneur it can be really hard to do. Camille is sharing with us how to create success in various ways by planning ahead and making a vacation a reality.
Section 1: The Importance of Planning Ahead
- Online business owners often find it difficult to take vacations, but planning ahead can make it possible.
- Blocking vacation dates on the calendar well in advance helps set expectations and allows for proper planning.
- Informing clients or customers about upcoming vacations ensures transparency and helps manage their expectations.
- Delegating tasks and responsibilities to team members or virtual assistants is crucial for a smooth vacation experience.
Section 2: Creating Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
- SOPs are essential for maintaining business continuity during vacations.
- Well-documented procedures ensure that tasks are handled consistently and efficiently.
- Identify recurring tasks and document step-by-step instructions to create effective SOPs.
- Utilize templates and checklists to streamline operations and minimize errors.
Section 3: Theming Days of the Week
- Theming days of the week helps organize tasks and improve productivity.
- Designate specific days for different types of activities such as content creation, client communication, administrative tasks, etc.
- Allocate focused time for strategic planning and business development.
- Automation tools can be used to streamline tasks within each themed day and increase efficiency.
Section 4: Leveraging Calendly for Time Management
- Calendly is a powerful scheduling tool that can help manage time effectively.
- Integrate Calendly with different calendars to avoid double bookings and conflicts.
- Set availability preferences and buffer times for meetings to ensure a balanced schedule.
- Automate reminders and follow-up messages to improve communication with clients or customers.
Section 5: Harnessing the Power of Virtual Assistants
- Virtual assistants can provide valuable support during vacations.
- The roles of virtual assistants in online businesses vary. They can help you handle many needs while you are away.
- Looking for tips in finding, hiring, and working effectively with virtual assistants? Camille can help you
- define clear job descriptions, establish communication channels, and find the perfect fit for you.
- Schedule a free discovery call with her here:
CAMILLE WALKER [0:00]
It is so important that you take time to get away and to fuel your creative energy to create a space for you to have time to reflect, to play, to create bond with your family.
So you want to make an impact. You're thinking about starting a business sharing your voice? How do women do it that handle motherhood, family, and still chase after those dreams? We'll listen each week as we dive into the stories of women who know. This is Call Me CEO.
Welcome back everyone to another episode of Call Me CEO. This is your host, Camille Walker. And during the summer, I am doing solo shows, a mixup of what I typically do. I most often am sharing stories of mothers building businesses across all different kinds of platforms, social medias, brick-and-mortar businesses versus online businesses, creations, inventions, doctors, lawyers, all of the things.
But one thing that I think is super important that we talk about is how to take vacation as a business owner, an entrepreneur, a stay-at-home or a work-from-home or work-outside-the-home business mom, any of us, anyone. It is so important that you take time to get away and to fuel your creative energy to create a space for you to have time to reflect, to play, to create bond with your family.
In fact, one of the number one reasons why I started my online business back in 2011 was because I was a stay-at-home mom of two children at the time. And I really wanted the possibility and the capability to adventure and travel with my family. We were at a point in our lives where my husband and I had done school full-time. We were doing his higher education. I was no longer working. And we needed some extra income.
And so, for the possibility of being able to sign my kids up for lessons or even travel outside of the home or even outside of our city, I really, really wanted to be able to travel because I knew through my experiences of being a child in a home with educators, even though my parents didn't make a ton of extra money, traveling and creating memories outside together or even traveling together was really important to us and really bonded us together in ways other things couldn't. So that was a huge motivator for me.
And it created a bond with my extended family, cousins, aunts, uncles, and even within my own siblings that I cherish to this day. I think there's something magical that happens when you put yourself outside of something you're used to where you're trying new foods, you're meeting new people, you're experiencing other cultures and understanding different perspectives that reading books and watching TV and even learning about other people in our traditional day-to-day life doesn't do it. It doesn't do it.
So, today, I'm going to share with you how you can effectively plan to take smooth vacations, even if you are running your own online business. Now, this goes as a shoutout to all of my 60 Days to VA graduates as well as others who have listened to my podcast or know that traveling is a big part of what I do.
So whether or not I am doing a vacation that's just for my family or for me and my husband or even a girls' trip, which I think each of those has its place, it's really important to create boundaries for yourself so that you take the time to do it. So we're going to dive into the notes of how to get that done. And I'm really excited and passionate about this topic and wanted it to be covered.
SECTION 1: THE IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING AHEAD [4:12]
So, first, we're going to talk about the importance of planning ahead. Now, listen, this next year is a big year for my husband and I. First, for me, I'm actually turning 40, which is huge. 40, I can't believe it. And already, I'm saying I want it to be like a vacation year. And what I mean by saying that is it's a little bit extra.
Listen, my husband and I planned a trip for us to go to Europe back in 2018 to travel in 2020. We had it all paid for. We knew where we were going to go, who we were going to see, the places we were going to visit, and it was paid and planned. And things happened. We had to make adjustments when the pandemic hit. And unfortunately, we weren't able to go on that trip.
However, instead of celebrating our 15-year anniversary this next year, we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary and my 40th birthday, which holy smokes, are happening in the same year. Yes, I was a baby when I got married. I was almost 21, but I was 20. So, the same year that I'm celebrating my 40th, we're also celebrating our 20-year anniversary.
So, we've been talking about and planning for this upcoming trip for years. And when I say we've been planning it, that means we've talked about where we wanted to go, not necessarily the details of every aspect of it yet. But with this upcoming year because I do know I want to create a special trip just for turning 40, I want to be a summer tropical. And I know I want to be surrounded by friends.
So already, I'm not even joking six months in advance, I have reached out to friends that I want to come to my celebration and say, "Just so you know, my birthday is coming up at the end of January. This is the weekend and reserve the dates because I want you to be there and who can ever come can come, but you plan for it in advance."
The thing about doing a vacation is that rather than spending your money on things, vacations allow you to explore and enjoy and anticipate in three different ways. Before you go on the vacation, you get to think about it and plan and prep and think about it. It gives you so much happiness. The actual vacation is happiness, being there and experiencing different things even when they don't go perfectly well. And then also looking back on it, looking at the memories you made, the bonds that you formed, and also the experiences that you had.
That's why I love celebrating celebrations, anniversaries, birthdays with travel. And even just life with travel because I feel like it expands so much more than just a purchase can. So, that's number one is to make sure to go on vacation. It's important, but it's also important to remember to plan for those vacations.
So what I like to do, especially when we have this big year coming up, is I actually will look at a year in advance. I know this sounds extra because, listen, there will be times when you have spontaneous vacations. And that's fantastic. In fact, I think that's really important to try to put in.
But when you're running a business and when you have kids and a husband with his own schedule and your kids' schedules with activities and sports and all the different things, you have to plan in advance.
So, what I like to do is I'll print out a special calendar sometimes just for travel and plotting out what it looks like in comparison to what we have commitments for with school, with work ,and with our kids' responsibilities. It's a lot harder to do things and travel when your kids get older. And we're starting to experience that now with having teenagers.
So, if you're listening to this and you have younger kids, take advantage of it when you can. But what's really magical about having older kids is that they can travel so much more easily. It's not as big of a production. You don't have the strollers and the car seats and the bedtimes and all of those different things. However, we did still travel when we had small kids. It was important to do that too. So, get out your calendar, plot out important things that you want to happen.
Now, we're talking specifically about summer travel right now. So, for the summer, something that I will do with my kids is I will have them do a round robin bucket list of things that we want to do, places we want to see or where we want to go.
With my husband and I, we actually have a travel bucket list for our lives. I know this sounds like crazy town. But we've made a list of places we've wanted to go and even ranked them in importance of when or where or what seniority one trip would have over another.
So, if you don't decide on where you want to go or things you'd want to see, how do you know what opportunities to take advantage of when they get there? Now, a perfect example of this right now is that my son and I are actually going on a trip to Australia on Monday. I'm recording this on a Wednesday, so it's less than a week away. But I have been planning for this trip with my son for two years. We heard about the opportunity that came through of, it said, the EF tour, which is an educational tour that's hosted by one of the teachers at the school. And so, it is not a cheap vacation. It is something I had to plan and save for.
But a lot of these opportunities that you're looking for, whether it's personal or led by a touring group, is that you can take advantage of payment plans. So, I have been doing a payment plan for my son's trip for him and I to go to Australia and New Zealand for two years.
And I'll tell you, it's like a huge, huge moment for both of us where I have been wanting to do this trip. And when I heard of the opportunity to do Australia, I thought, oh my gosh, that's been on my bucket list forever. It was already something that I knew I wanted to do. And if the opportunity arose, I wanted to take it.
Now, I had the vision that I wanted to do it. I put that as a bucket list wish, which I think is a big part of making something happen is naming it and understanding what you want. But then, I also had to create a plan of how to achieve it.
So, part of that is, of course, with running the business and also creating a payment plan. So, this is a process. I have been making payments out of my business month to month for two years.
And listen, I know that it's a huge financial responsibility for me to take that on. But at the same time, as I've expressed before, travel pays in dividends. And I am so excited and so, can I say it, proud that that's an opportunity with the support of my husband, because his money is our money and my money is our money, but it's come directly out of my business to be able to pay for this experience. And I'm so excited.
So, thinking about that and knowing that that was a bucket list item for us, that was something that I saw. The opportunity came, but I created a plan of how to make that happen, both in vision of creating it and also in paying for it and creating a plan to make that happen.
Now, another really important thing is when you get at that calendar is to block out vacation dates. So, something that my husband and I like to do when we're looking at travel opportunities is we'll look at long weekends that are offered throughout the year. So, whether that's a national holiday or an extended weekend based on the calendar of the school or different things like that, we'll try to take advantage of that so that we can extend our stay or our long weekend vacations as much as possible.
That's something that I have had times before where a Monday or a Friday pops up. And it's like a teacher prep day. And I think, oh my gosh, I had no idea that this was a long weekend. We could have gone to the cabin or gone camping or whatever the thing is. And I just didn't realize it because I didn't plan for it.
So, go through your calendar. And you want to mark off holidays, long weekends from teacher breaks, and also recesses that happen through the school year, whether that's a fall or a spring break or something like that.
I want you to think about how, now that we've talked about the calendaring and the vision board of everything else of it, that it's really important to inform clients or customers about upcoming vacations. Now, I know sometimes it can be hard, especially if you are the owner of your business and you are readily accessible, which for entrepreneurs is almost all of the time because we are all a phone call, an email or a text away. There's really easy boundaries to blur there, especially if we don't do that for ourselves.
So, a couple of ways to do that is to give an email to your clients or customers weeks in advance, even a few weeks in advance to let them know blocked out time that you will be unavailable. Another way to do that is an email responder, a voicemail, even a text response that's automated where you can let people know what dates you will be unavailable.
And another option too is if you have a programmed availability calendar like I do. I use Calendly. And something that I will do is I will block out the time ahead of time, weeks and months in advance where I know I will be out of town so that people don't book me for those times so that I don't have coaching calls, discovery calls or things like that where people are expecting to be able to get a hold of me.
SECTION 2: CREATING STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES [14:25]
The next thing that's really important is to delegate tasks. We're going to talk about that a little bit more as we get into this. So, one thing before you can delegate a task is to create SOPs. What is an SOP? An SOP is the standard operating procedure. These can be done in your house, things that you'd like to see done in your home. They could be things that are done in your business or these could be things that are done with your kids like kids' schedules.
And I know that when people hear SOP, it sounds very corporate, which that term is corporate. But really, anytime you've had someone come and take over the home for you for the weekend or if you've left someone in charge and had a baby and you tell them their feeding schedule or what you do during the day, that is an SOP. It's just a different way of seeing it.
So, the benefit of having procedures in place and documents of what you like to have done, whether it's in your business or your home is that you can then pass that on so that if you're outside the home, it's easy for someone to come into the situation and know what to do, whether that's with allergies and schedules of your kids or if it's something that's done within your business and how things are run with your social media, for example.
Now, what's interesting is that as you write a step-by-step documentation of what you do, it's actually a really good way to audit and see how you are using your time and what is being used most effectively.
This is a big part of what I help people do when I'm coaching them with their productivity in their business as well as knowing whether they need a virtual assistant to help them hand off their work to where you may be doing very simple tasks over and over and over again that you could pass off to someone else and help you save a lot of time in your business so that you can grow your business. So, that gets a little bit more into the outsourcing.
But by creating templates and checklists within your home or within your business, you now have an operating procedure that helps everyone know how things run more smoothly. So, even with people who may come into your home, say, you're going on vacation and you have someone coming in to help with the kids, you could have a list of what the kids are doing with their activities, their schedules, the mealtimes, what to do with questions that come up commonly like how much screen time can the kids have or what do we do about getting to a play practice? And what's the best way to get there or who's a mom we can reach out to?
Start documenting how you run your life in the home, outside the home, in your business so that when you have people coming and helping you with those tasks, it's very easy for you to pass those off to someone else, especially if you're going to be hiring someone to help you with running your business as well.
SECTION 3: THEMING DAYS OF THE WEEK [17:30]
One thing that's really helped me is theming days of the week. Now, when you're looking at your week, and you have things that are coming up, right now, we're getting ready for summer break which is right around the corner. But I will keep my themed days as best as possible through the summer and through the school year so that we can be as effective as possible.
Now, listen, I'm at a place now where during the day, as we go into summer, I can't have an entire heavy, heavy work day because my kids are home and I want to be with them. I don't want to have a total blocked off day. However, I will have blocked off hours where depending on when you find yourself to be most productive, whether that's early morning, mid morning, early afternoon or late afternoon or even late at night, you can decide what blocks of time or even what days you can be most effective in your work.
Now, why is this important for when you're going to be planning to go on vacation? What I love about this is that if you can create themed days or even themed blocks of time, you can devote days or blocks of time to prepare for future work.
So, an example of this is what I'm doing right now. I am filming and recording this episode, but I'm thinking it's probably going to be going live sometime next month. I'm prepping and recording episodes to be done throughout the summer, which sometimes we can block and create content like that ahead of time. Sometimes, we can't.
So, if you look at theming ways to create your days and create a strategy, you can create management and task organization to help you get as much done as possible. So, some examples of effective theming strategies for online businesses are where you can create specific days of content creation, client communication, and administrative tasks.
So, for an example, for me, Tuesdays and Thursdays are days that I record podcast episodes that I film with coaching as well as taking calls for discovery calls for people taking my course or for people who are looking for one-on-one coaching. That way, I can leave Mondays and Fridays open for family and home maintenance. And then, Wednesdays, I like to use for content creation and future blocking of creation for content of work that I'm working on.
Now, one thing that's really nice is that if you can create a specific time for strategic planning and business development, like I do on Wednesdays, that makes it so that the other days, I don't have to be in that same headspace and that can be really helpful.
SECTION 4: LEVERAGING CALENDLY FOR TIME MANAGEMENT [20:24]
One really important thing is to utilize automation tools to streamline tasks within each themed day. So, I talked about that earlier, where I will use Calendly for other people to book time with me, whether they're using a scheduler on my Calendly to book calls with me for podcast interviews, calls with me for discovery calls or calls with me for coaching. That way, I know that it's going to be a heavy recording day. And I've blocked times that are specifically available for that purpose.
And it makes it really easy to block that and tell people when I'm available without having to play the game of, does this day work? Does this day work? Does this day work? Does this day work? You know what I mean because we've all been there.
One other thing that is really helpful with Calendly is that you can integrate different calendars. So, I have this synced with Google as well so that as I'm going through my calendar and planning out personal things with my life, it won't conflict with that. And it's also really nice because you can set buffer times for meetings as well as automate reminders and follow-up messages so that people if they have a discovery call with me or a podcast interview with me, I don't have to remember to remind them because I have automations that are set up to do that, which makes even reminders for myself that much better for knowing that things are coming.
SECTION 5: HARNESSING THE POWER OF VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS [21:55]
For the last section, I wanted to talk about harnessing the power of virtual assistants. The role of a virtual assistant is so vast. I've talked about this in previous episodes. I am the creator of 60 Days to be VA where I teach women how to build their own virtual assistant businesses, which is essentially helping in the growth of any business virtually.
So, that could be in admin tasks, email management. It could be in social media. It could be in HR. It could be in digital creation, editing, copywriting, SEO. Any of those things are tasks that virtual assistants can do to help you.
Now, if this is something that you do not have yet, I also help and coach business owners hire virtual assistants and knowing with a time on it what they could use a virtual assistant for. This is a really awesome way to be able to go on vacation because when you are gone, you can keep the wheels of your business turning without physically having to be there, which is amazing for any entrepreneur to know that you have someone on your team that is looking for things when you are away from the desk, so to speak.
So, one thing that I really love is I have an open communication channel with my virtual assistants where we will use Google Docs, Voxer, or Google Drive. These are all communication efforts where we can stay in touch to know if there's any immediate need for me to be there. It's also a place where we can keep files and share content even when I am away from business.
So, as far as tips on where to find and hire virtual assistants, I get asked about this all the time. I have both in-person virtual assistants. What I should say about that is I have people who are here in the United States and I have people who are overseas as well. Do I think that one is better than the other? Not necessarily. I think it all depends on the tasks that you're looking to have fulfilled and also what your goals are with the skillset that you need filled.
So, for me personally, I have six different virtual assistants on my team and they are all used in their most efficient ways, people who are experts in their field and people that I know that I can rely on.
How do you find people you can rely on? That's actually where I come in. I have all of my graduates that go through my program. They are in a group where if I have an entrepreneur who is coming to me and looking for a virtual assistant with very specific background and training, I help line them up with two or three virtual assistants who have graduated from my course 60 Days to VA and they interview and then hire one of those virtual assistants.
I do not do the hiring. I leave that up to the individual who is looking for help because I find that personality is a big part of it. You really want to gel energetically with the person that you're hiring to be on your team. So, I think it's important that you do have a Zoom call with a potential hire and that you even put them through a temporary basis or a trial period to see if you are a good mesh for one another.
As far as the virtual assistants that I line up my people with, that is a process where if they hire one of the opportunities or one of the people that I give them opportunity to hire, then that is when I am paid. If the persons do not click or gel, then that is okay. It's a service that I actually offer through the coaching experience with me.
And so, if that is something that you are listening to this and thinking, "Man, I would love to go on vacation and be able to have someone on my team that's looking out for me and what's going on behind the scenes," that is where I can help you.
So, it's super helpful to have someone that you can rely on and someone you can truly trust. It's very important to create clear descriptions and SOPs, as we talked about before, for the work that you're looking for to get done within your business.
The worst thing you can do is to want to hire someone but not know what you are actually getting done or what you need help getting done because then it just creates more confusion for both of you. That's why in the beginning, you really want to create a clear understanding of how your time is used, how it can most efficiently be used, and then how you can create SOPs so that you have clear communication of what it is that you need done.
Another really important thing for delegating tasks and empowering virtual assistants is to have regular communication with them. So, this can be through email or through a weekly Zoom call. Or maybe in the beginning, you need to talk to each other every day. But after months of working together, they know your voice. They know what you need done. And they are a team player with you all of the way.
It's really so special I feel like when you get to a place as an entrepreneur that you can allow yourself to let go of some of the tasks that you've been holding on to so tightly because that's when you really see your business grow.
So, if that is something that you need help with, I am here to help you. Because honestly, the number one thing I coach many women through is either A) the fear of doing something, the fear of getting started, the business itself, which is the 60 Days to VA. I help people get through creating that business and the steps of how to create that business and how to make it successful.
And then, on the other side are entrepreneurs who are needing the help and are scared to ask for help or don't know where to start or how to do it. And that's how I help as well. So, it's really coaching you through fear. What is the process of doing that and finding freedom and white space within your life so that you can create a balance that you truly love and create opportunity for vacation and bonding and memory making with your loved ones, your girlfriends, and your spouse?
So, this is all to say I think it's super important that you take a break. Take a vacation. I feel like the times that I truly turn off the wheels of business and allow myself to have connection and contentment and peace and white space, that is when I come back to my business feeling fueled and ready to create and engage and to serve.
So, I hope that this episode has served you. If it has, please share this episode. I feel like so many more entrepreneurs need to remember to take time for them as well as is if this is interesting to you and maybe you need help with being able to take a break or find more balance, that is what I help coach people through as well. You can reach out to me through a free coaching call with the link below to set you up with coaching and/or finding a virtual assistant that will help you to find more peace and more calm. Thank you so much for listening to Call Me CEO and I will see you next time.
Hey, CEOs. Thank you so much for spending your time with me. If you found this episode inspiring or helpful, please let me know in a comment in a 5-star review. You could have the chance of being a featured review on an upcoming episode. Continue the conversation on Instagram @callmeceopodcast. And remember, you are the boss.
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