#208: Taking a Break: How I Prepared For a 2 Week Vacation From My Business

Michelle had NEVER been away from her business for so long! She shares about the preparation that went into making this break a reality. Whether it’s a vacation, mental health break or full on sabbatical, what do you need to make it happen? And don’t forget, Weekly Mentorship will be open for enrollment soon! Join the waitlist at https://healthcoachpower.com/mentorship

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Full transcript:

Hello, health coaches. Thanks for joining me today. My name is Michelle Leotta. I am a practicing health coach with 13 years of experience in the industry. And, you know, what? Of those 13 years, if you've been around for a while, you may have even noticed this. I have hardly ever taken a break from my business. Because who would answer my emails? Who would post stuff to social media for me? What about my clients? Could I just leave them high and dry? So, over the past couple of weeks, I did step away. I actually took the longest true break I have ever had in 13 years. And today I'm gonna share how I prepared to do that. Make it a reality.

Now, if you're here live, ask me a question in the chat, or tell me if you have reservations about stepping away from your own coaching business. Like what worries you the most? I ask this question on Instagram earlier in the week. Jennifer said... actually two Jennifers one Jennifer said she was most worried about stepping away from her podcast, which I will talk about today. Another Jennifer said she was just worried about finding reliable internet service, wherever she were to travel. And I thought, huh, well then you really do need to step away. If you're not gonna be able to find a really strong internet connection that is reliable. Maybe you're not doing the zoom calls while you're away. That kind of thing.

Anyway, before getting into today's topic, I wanna give a great big virtual hug to coach Cindy in the ATL who left this five star review on apple podcast. She said, Michelle is incredibly informative. Whether for new coaches or coaches who wish to grow their business, she's relatable and really knows what she's doing.

Thanks Cindy. Following her and taking some of her courses was an excellent decision. I highly recommend checking out her podcast, Cindy, your awesome. Thank you so much. Please send your mailing address, not your email address, but your actual physical mailing address to us at support@healthcoachpower.com because we have a little thank you gift to send your way. And for everybody listening, could you maybe sittin' poolside wherever you are right now, hop over to apple podcasts, search for the health coach power community and scroll down to ratings and reviews and write a little review for us. This helps us reach more coaches who need the support, and I know health coaches need the support. It also allows me to continue bringing you weekly free content and trainings, except of course, when I'm on vacation, which is what today's episode is all about.

So, you might need to take a break from your business because you're traveling because maybe a health issue, maybe you're having a baby. Oh my gosh, you guys. When I had my babies, I barely took a break at all. I mean, I'm sure I was not doing the kind of workload I might have been doing if I was in corporate America and forced back into the office too soon. But I mean took my laptop to the hospital. Yes, indeed. I did. So maybe you're taking an actual maternity break or maybe it's just, you know, a mental health break like it, I like it a lot. The two weeks that I spent in Europe felt like a sabbatical truly. And I feel like I've earned it. I spent like the whole time I was there, I spent a combined, maybe 30 minutes over those two weeks, checking on my business, just making sure things were going smoothly. It's quite anxiety provoking to be away from something it's like, you know, if you have kids and you're with your kids every single day, and then suddenly you're not with your kids for an extended period of time, you wanna hear from them.

And in many ways, and we actually have an episode about this. Your business is a lot like a baby. And so I definitely needed to just keep a little bit of tabs to make sure that things were going smoothly. And thankfully they were, I think it was pretty good considering that every other time I traveled, I've opened my laptop every day. I've spent time answering emails and posting to social media this time. I definitely took some preparation, but I needed a real break. So there are six things that we did to make this happen. I wanna tell you about those again, if you're here alive, please ask me questions in the chat. I can see your comments as they come in. And I'm curious, what was it like for you if you went on vacation this summer, or if you've ever had to take a break from your business?

One thing that helped tremendously. So this is tip number one. We planned well in advance. I let everybody on my team and all my clients know that I would not be reachable during my travel dates. I mean, even in signing new clients in the past couple of months, yes, we can start. Yes. Here's a great day and time for us to meet. Yes, yes, yes. And of course I let them know there is this one period in August that I'm not going to be around. Nobody had a problem with that, but it was so helpful to be able to tell them that upfront instead of it being a last minute thing. I think I knew about my travel dates four or five months in advance. So we just made sure like within my business and within my team and my project manager, we made sure that I did all the things that had to be done ahead of time and really cleared the calendar for when I was going to be away. I didn't wanna be that entrepreneur. That's sitting in a cafe in Barcelona and trying to do a zoom call at the same time. No, thank you. That's not the kind of vacation that I wanted to have. The next thing that I did. So, this is tip number two. I leaned quite heavily on my team. More heavily than usual.

I was able to keep Our weekly mentorship calls going. If you haven't heard, we do an ongoing mentorship group where we meet every single week on zoom and I'm able to help our health coaches out with whatever they have going on in their business. Plus teach a few new things enrollment for that is actually going to be opening up quite soon. So, if you're interested, you could put your name on the wait list. It is at healthcoachpower.com/mentorship. And like I said, it's a weekly call. So if you're doing something weekly or in a very regular way in your business, how do you step away from that? One way I was able to do this is I leaned on my team.

Katie who's been on my team for a long time, helps out with a lot of the coaching that we do inside healthy profit university and inside mentorship. She stepped in and she led the call. So thank you for that, Katie. We also had our health coach power community Facebook group, of course, as just ongoing, if you're running a Facebook group or anything like that, you have members joining all the time. If people asking questions all the time, we continue to bring in new members and Hey, maybe some of you were new members in the past few weeks because my assistant Kelly was approving all of our new members and we don't just approve people into the Facebook group. By the way we ask questions, we make sure you're actually a health coach. We do a little light stalking of your Facebook page just to make sure because that's how we keep the spammers out every now and then somebody flies in under the radar. But then we're very quick to give them the boot.

So, Kelly helped me out with that as always. And I really leaned on her to make sure that we were admitting new group members during this two week period. I also let all of our healthy profit university members know that I was going to be away. And Julie who's, one of our admin really took the lead in answering questions and providing support. Now, listen, I did not always have a team like this, and I know it can be hard to trust people with your business, but I am very lucky to have worked with these women now for many, many years. So thank you ladies so much earlier in my business. Yeah. Much harder to take a break because who was going to do these things, if not me, but let's say, let's say you have a Facebook group and um, and you're gonna be taking a break. You don't have another admin. You don't have anybody that can, you know, automatically step in cuz they're already doing that for you day in and day out. Maybe just an idea like looking back. I think I could have done this earlier on maybe one or two of your most enthusiastic members. The ones who are always there, always commenting, always showing their loyalty in your group. Maybe they could take over temporarily as moderators while you're away. I found that everybody understands taking a vacation and when they see you work so hard year round to help everybody else,

They're happy to help make it happen for you. So don't be shy about asking or even about canceling something that you would normally do and just letting your clients know why you are allowed to be away. You are allowed to not be on call for your business. Twenty four seven three hundred and sixty five days a year. Gosh, even when we're home, right? Give yourself space because otherwise I found that it is very, very easy to burn out as an entrepreneur. Can you think of any area of your business where you need to create some boundaries or create some space for yourself now, even if you're not going on a trip or taking a, a real break, are you answering emails at 10 o'clock at night? Are you posting to social media when you really should be present with your family? Trust me, I've struggled with all of this know that you are allowed to take breaks.

You are allowed to not do all the things and you're allowed to ask for help and hire help and lean on that help as needed. Okay. Here is tip number three. We planned events and promotions in my business. Tightly packed around my two week break. Like it was a little squeaky tight in there. I'm not gonna lie. So for example, we did a small email promotion about a week before I left and then next week. So I will only have been back for about one week. We're gonna kick off the next season of my shoes dot power podcast. So you wanna keep business moving. Of course, if you're gonna be away for two weeks, you don't want everything in your business to go flat for four or six or eight weeks. Just because it's like, oh, I can't do anything. Some really precise project management helps here so that you can figure out, well, what can we do before or after what fits?

What makes sense? Something's too complicated. It's just not gonna work. If you're not gonna be around Michelle, other things could totally happen. So we wanted to keep the business moving, but while I was actually away, nothing, no events, no promotions, nothing special, nothing fancy now as for my podcast. And if you are a content creator of any kind, if you're creating podcast episodes, if you're writing blog posts, if you're creating YouTube videos, whatever your platform is, you can keep up with that by simply creating the content in advance. And I've done this several times with my podcast. Um, I did in this past few weeks release one or two episodes that were pre-recorded. So while I was away, my assistant Kelly helped me with this. I gave her all the assets before I left. I was not recording anything while I was in Europe. No thank you. I gave everything to her before I left. She got them prepared. And then on the correct day and time, she made sure that they went live.

Now in earlier versions of my business would I've had somebody to do that for me. No, but what I probably could have done it was write the blog posts, schedule them, get the podcast episodes, ready, have them in the can have it ready to go on my computer. So on that day I could just hit one button and boom it's published. So it's really important that you're not trying to continue to generate content while you're away. If you want a true break. I mean, it, would've been kind of cool to sit out on my balcony in Portugal and deliver some type of podcast episode from there. But that's really, really not the point of going on vacation.

At least it wasn't for me this time. Now, you can do the same exact thing with emails to your list, which actually shh, I did not do. And in the second, I'll tell you about a couple of things that I just totally let go of. But if emailing your list is important and it is, you can write those emails in advance and just have them scheduled within MailChimp or Convert Kit or whatever you're using to go out while you're on your break. But like I said, now I'm calling this tip number five. You don't have to do that. Some stuff you can drop. I took a break from emails. I only posted vacation pictures to Instagram. And in fact I was doing a lot of that in the first few days, because of course, right, I was in this really beautiful place and I wanted take pictures and I wanted to share them.

And I was excited about it. But after a few days, I was like, you know what? This feels too much like work. I don't wanna be checking my likes or picking up my phone or adding to my stories. I wanna be really present for this experience. I mean, I actually didn't even take that many pictures because something about picking up my phone starts to feel like work. Do you know what I'm talking about? So I, for the most part, let my boyfriend take the pictures and I was like, you know what? I'm just trying to leave the phone over here. I stopped posting to social media. And even with that great big pause, nobody cared. There you go. Nobody cared and we have to remember that nobody is waking up going, okay. Where is that Instagram post from that health coach that I'm following? Like, nobody's thinking that, and nobody's going to check their email and they're like, ah, why don't I have an email from Michelle? She usually emails every week. Like nobody thinks about it that way. And they certainly don't miss it. So yes, we always wanna strive for consistency. And that is so important in your marketing, but here's why every rule is meant to be broken. Right?

If you are consistent year round with your content, with your social media posting, with your emails, you can take a break and it's not going to destroy your business. I promise you and tip number six, of course, one of the hardest parts about stepping away from businesses. What about making money? Right? If you aren't there, you can't, you know, meet with new clients. If you aren't meeting with new clients, you can't earn income except you can. And this is important whether you're planning to take a break or not, we need multiple streams of income in this industry. If you have passive income streams that run on autopilot, and there are many ways to include passive income in your business, but one that's fairly easy. It's called affiliate marketing. It's different from MLMs affiliate marketing is where you're making referrals to brands that you love brands that you use. You're earning a commission from each sale.

You can do as much of it, or as little bit as you want for as many brands as you want. This is something that I teach inside healthy profit university, because it has been a mainstay of my business for years earlier. I mentioned that when my first son was born, mm, both of them were born. I took the laptop to the hospital. Well, in the weeks that followed not doing a whole lot of health coaching, my friends, it was affiliate marketing that filled that gap. And similarly, during this trip, because while I was away, I continued to earn through affiliate marketing, because think about it all my content, my podcast, my blog post on my website, this evergreen content contains affiliate links. So having evergreen content and evergreen offers allows your business to continue earning while you sleep. I mean, that's how we always think about it.

You can make money while you sleep, or while you're kayaking off, you know, the coast of Portugal, which is what I was doing either way. I hope that you are all enjoying your summer, whether you're at home or you're traveling. If you're working hard, if you're taking a break, if you're starting to get an itch to get back into business, like I kind of am right now. I ordered my kids like new sneakers and we're starting to get all their school supplies together. You know, they have to have a red folder and a blue folder and a yellow folder. They're an elementary school. So they have this very specific supply list for school. But anyway, it's all just kind of getting me back in the groove of like, let's do this thing. So, if you're feeling that way, you ready to get back into business. I've just recently updated my free training for health coaches. It's called earn a living, doing the work you love, and you can get it for free at healthcoachpower.com/training. Again, that's healthcoachpower.com/training. It is a pleasure to be back with you all. I will see you in the Facebook group, you guys, until next time bye bye.