The topic of doing this or that while on vacation is quite popular among online business people of today, otherwise known as online entrepreneurs. I guess the main reason is that many people find it hard to detach completely during their vacation time and to forget about all forms of work altogether. And, to be honest, I’m somewhat that type of a person too.
I mean, it’s not that I will do consistent work on a daily basis no matter what, just because I’m a workaholic or something. On the contrary, workaholism is probably the last thing that could ever hit me… Right after vegetarianism.
That being said, I still like to keep my finger on the pulse and just be able to check things up every couple of days and make sure that business is going well. After all, even when we are on vacation, our businesses aren’t. And our ability to keep them profitable even for a week or two of our inactivity is crucial.
Therefore, here’s what I do (to some extent) and what I also encourage you to look into if you want to have a peaceful vacation time, during which, you can be sure that your business is going just like you’ve never left your desk.
1. Be on it, not in it
Let’s start by setting one thing straight, and that is the fact that vacation is not meant for worrying about how things are going with the thing we call our business. We really deserve better than this.
Actually, in my opinion, if we can’t be comfortable about not working for a while then it’s probably a good moment to re-evaluate our life goals and such. I know that for many people their businesses mean everything, but missing out on important parts of life because of work isn’t healthy at all.
So the main guideline is just like the heading suggests – be on top of things, and don’t worry about every single detail that’s going on while you are absent.
It really is okay to let some things slide…
2. Have access to the most important tools
Even though you won’t be actually using any of these tools in 99% of the cases, it’s still good to have access in case anything happens that really really requires your input.
The tools I’m talking about here are the ones that are the core of your business. Maybe it’s the admin account on your WordPress site, maybe it’s your AdWords account, your Teambox or Basecamp, etc.
I don’t want to tell you that tool A is more important than tool B specifically, and that’s because the situation’s different for every entrepreneur out there. So, it’s up to you to compile your own list of such tools.
When you have them, gather your usernames and passwords for those tools and put them in either KeePass or LastPass (whichever fits you best). They will keep your passwords secured and give you access to them whenever you wish through one “master password.”
3. Have access to your data
Data is by far the most important asset of an existing online business. In fact, whatever we do on our computers is some form of operation on data. Maintaining access to our data while on vacation is therefore crucial. (Again, not to actually be able to continue working, but as a “just in case” thing.)
Now, the problem here is that you won’t have your data “with you” if it’s sitting only on your local computer in your home office. The only possible answer is cloud-based backup or data synchronization services.
Long story short, when it comes to syncing, I recommend SugarSync. It will take care of your files and directories, store them securely in the cloud and synchronize them across all your devices and computers.
Also, there are various mobile apps available for SugarSync so you’ll be able to have a look into your hard drive from anywhere.
The simplest 5GB plan is available for free.
4. Have access to your email
Yeah, I know, it does sound basic, but hear me out. What I mean is placing your email in the cloud too (just like your data) instead of tying it with just one computer.
If you’ve been using Gmail since forever then you can simply skip this point because you have this taken care of. If not, then I highly encourage you to start using it.
For me, the best thing about Gmail is that you don’t have to settle for a stupid @gmail.com email address. You can just take your existing email that’s hooked up to your custom domain and link it with Gmail.
Once you do that, Gmail will take over the management of your account and display your emails inside a clear Gmail interface. Personally speaking, the day when I switched to Gmail was the day I enabled myself to be on top of things no matter where I am.
5. Powerful devices
The only sad (or maybe not even sad) fact about all of the above is that you can’t enjoy any of this if you don’t have access to a powerful device, i.e. if you don’t have such a device with you on vacation.
These days this is pretty much taken care of by any smartphone or tablet you can put your hands on. And for some tasks, there are way better mobile apps available than their desktop alternatives.
I guess the only reason I’m mentioning this here is just to ensure you that you don’t need a fully functioning computer (like a laptop) to take care of your business when you’re abroad. So just relax, grab your phone and you’re going to be okay.
6. Working with a virtual assistant
Finally, there’s one more thing that can be helpful and make your vacation more enjoyable, but is not mandatory, so no sweat.
If you’re working with a virtual assistant then put them in charge of the standard stuff that goes on in your business when you are absent. And most important of all, make them the gatekeeper against everything that tries to reach you.
In other words, if someone sends you an email, it should go to your VA. And if the thing is important enough to bother you, it is only then that it should be sent to you personally.
Also, giving your VA some decision power is a great way to test how well they can manage to handle those tasks without you. Then, in the future, you can decide to delegate these tasks to them altogether.
Okay, I guess that’s it. Points 1-5 is what I’ve been doing for a while now and I’ve never had to face any problems that were beyond anything I could handle. Of course, in the end, some things didn’t get done, but it was only because of my conscious decision not to bother with them and just go to the beach instead.