Finding Freedom, As An Entrepreneur
I really wanted to take the leap and see if I could set my business baby on a little adventure of it’s own, running itself without me for a few months.
Without coming back to a giant pile of frustrated enquiries or customers who didn’t get the support they need.
And without feeling like I wasn’t doing something that I should be doing!
I was heading over to walk the Great Wall of China, and trek my way to Everest Base Camp. Being present in my surroundings was important to me.
Surrendering The ‘Shoulds’
It was hard to take the first leap but I made a plan – and stuck to it.
First, I hired a virtual assistant to politely tell people personally that I’ll take care of them after January 22, and to email me again then.
As much has been merged over the years with my personal email being used for various logins and business stuff, I chose to break from that too (even ‘personal email’ winds up with clutter from the business details of my personal life, invoices, TripAdvisor reviews blah blah)…
Now my travel details show up in apps – with notifications that I control.
What About Friends And Family?
Ironically that was the part that crushed me the most, telling family that I wasn’t on email (and to take me off our thread). I really didn’t want my virtual assistant to have access to my personal family letters.
Family quickly moved over to texts, FaceTime and facebook messaging which has been great to keep in touch, but I’m sure I’ve missed out on some stuff by not being on the email thread.
It was worth the small sacrifice though.
Texting, FaceTime or messaging me makes for instant response and more conversational communication, plus I don’t have reason to check my email ‘just in case I miss something.’
Once a week I get a word document through an app with the weeks emails – already managed. I didn’t want to have an auto-responder (I find that very 5 years ago) and I didn’t want to go back to work with a backlog of emails. This has been a really wonderful arrangement!
What About Texting?
I use iMessage, and I think most of the people texting me do as well because I got texts throughout my Leave Of Happiness (I love how I called it that) without paying for roaming. I’ve had my phone on flight mode for 2 months now. There are no charges to receive or send texts.
Skype is really handy – I have credit on my account and caller ID with my local number back in Canada. This allows me to call anyone on their 1800 number, landline or cell with my ID showing – they don’t need to be on Skype.
The problem with Skype is that I can’t receive calls. If people want to call me, they text me and I call them back – or they just facetime.
Hiatus For The Business Line
Our business cell phone, that I managed was on our website – so this was very active. Now it’s removed. We keep in touch with customers in their progress during the season only (May to Sept) when I have support staff to help.
I love motivating and encouraging my customers but by not doing it long distance anymore outside of my work season, I have the emotional energy to be really and truly more present for in person. We have a fb group for customers to support each other, that I also monitor.
I think all service providers, especially self-employed, put a lot of themselves into their work and eventually burn out.
Since becoming an Executive Business Coach (more on that later!) I’ve learnt lots of little tricks to help my own working life have more joy. I’m not sure if I’ve missed texts or voice messages on that phone as I didn’t take it with me on this trip. Sorry to anyone I haven’t replied to there!
While not possible for most to do this (!) training folks around you to be mindful of your email inbox is possible and worthwhile! In my 17 years of helping women figure out their fitness schedules, emails are a MAJOR de-railer in their predicted time management.
This is a great article – How To (Nicely) Train People To Send You Less Email