Running a small business is no easy task. It's messy and thrilling, and terrifying all at the same time. But no matter what, it's definitely a journey worth taking. As a mom of two littles, I know the daily struggles, and I'm here to walk this journey with you. If you're ready to feel empowered, encouraged and on fire for the things you truly love, then you're in the right place. I'm Rebecca Rice, a pizza loving hot chocolate drinking family photographer and educator. And this is the business Journey podcast.
Hey, friends, welcome back to another episode of the business Journey podcast. I'm your host, Rebecca rice. And I'm really excited about where we're headed. In today's episode, it's gonna be a good one. Before we get too far into things I did want to let you know about something I have just for you guys as a gift to say, I love you. And I want to see you thrive. So I want to pose a question. Clearly, we're in December, which is wild. I can't believe we're already in December. But I want to know like, how did your fall go? Specifically, if you were running mini sessions, how do you feel like your fall mini sessions went? Because if your answer is something like you feel disappointed, you feel frustrated if things didn't go as you had expected. First of all, you're not alone. Other people feel that way too. And secondly, you don't have to stay feeling that way. So I have a resource for you guys that are wanting to have really successful mini sessions. And I call it the 3k mini sessions blueprint, it's completely free. Basically, it's for those people that you've never made $3,000 or more on a single set of mini sessions. And when I say a single set, I mean, like one date two to three hours. And that's totally doable. And so if you're like I've never made $3,000 in a single set of minis, then guys, this Blueprint was made for you literally. And so I wanted to give it to you guys. Again, it's completely free. But now is a great time to grab something like that we have it linked in the description. But if you want to like type in the URL, it's Rebecca rice photo.com/ 3k Dash minis. So in this guide, it walks you through all the steps that you need to have successful mini sessions because it's absolutely doable. And so now's a great time to kind of reflect now that right now since it's really fresh in your mind, reflect on what went well in your mini season and what did not go well. And maybe in this guide, you'll see some things that are really obvious that you're like, Man, if I would have done that differently, things would have gone differently. So go check out that free resource. I can't tell you how many photographers I have worked with that. They grab this resource. And then they're like, oh my gosh, now I see why my minis didn't book up or Now I see why you know what mistakes I made. So go grab that resource. And it'll be really good for you know, as you're reflecting on your year and planning for next year, it's linked below go grab it. Okay, so let's get into today's episode, we're going to talk through how to take time off in your business. And this is a very timely episode for me personally. Because next week, my team and I had to 30 A for our yearly team retreat. And so basically we go, the first part of the retreat is me and my integrator cat, we just dive into all the things in the business. We call this our immersion retreat, where we do it twice a year, we just immerse ourselves essentially in the business and get things done. We look at what worked, what's not working, and what needs to be changed what kind of things have been on the backburner that we need to just get done. So we go hard. And then the second part is our team retreat. So I fly my whole team out to 30 A, and we rent this amazing house. And that's steps from the beach. And we just dive into our business. And then after that, my entire team takes the month of December off. So what's beautiful about it is we have things in place. So like the average person wouldn't know that we're not actively in the office. Of course we check in for like emergencies and things like that. But, you know, Student Care and stuff like that. But aside from that, we take the whole month off and is a wonderful feeling every year especially after the fall where we go really hard. And specifically I'm on my associate team side of things. My staff that runs that side. They go really hard in the summer in the fall and then in December, all of us get to take the whole month and just refresh and recharge and spend time with our fans. release. And then by the time January comes, we feel ready to conquer another year. And so I wanted to walk you guys through a few really like practical things that our team does to be able to take time off in our business. And even if you don't have a team, I would say, especially if you don't have a team, you need to take time off. Because as solopreneurs, you are the heartbeat of your business. And if you're not in a healthy place, your business will also not be in a healthy place. And so time off is really should be non negotiable. And so I want to give you some tools to feel like you can step away from your business for a little bit. And you don't have to step away for a whole month like we do. But even you know, a weekend or a week or something like that, to be able to have true time off where you're not checking your email you're not responding to clients are not editing photos. And you can really just rest and recharge practical things to do. When you're about to take time off in your business. The first thing is to pick a date and commit to it,
I want you to open up your calendar, take a look and say, Okay, what days can I commit to being completely off in my business. Now, obviously, be smart with this, don't commit to time off during your busiest season, because that's not going to work well. So you want to look what's around, don't do it right in the middle of something huge, but decide how many days you want to take off. And then when you want that to be an I would like write it in the calendar in permanent marker so that it's like this is a non negotiable, you're taking time off here. And the reason it's so important to commit to it is if you just say like, Yeah, I'm going to take a week off, but you never do it or you never like commit to those dates, it's not going to happen, you're going to the dates gonna come you're going to realize you have stuff to get done. And you're just going to not. And so I want you to pick a date, write it down in your planner, your Google Calendar, whatever you use, write it down somewhere. And you know, if you're married, and you have a family, talk to your family decide together when would be the best time and commit to it. Because that's the first step to taking time off is just committing to it. The next thing that you're going to want to do is make a list of things that would need to be done for you to fully step away. Think about, let's say, for the sake of this episode, you're going to take a week off. So if you're going to be gone for one whole week, what are the things that happen on the day to day basis within that week, that would need to be covered for people to not realize that you're off. So you know, for example, and what I want you to do is like literally take out a piece of paper and just brain dump, I don't want you to think through how are we going to make this happen? Or what steps do we need? No, the only thing we're thinking right now is brain dump, every little thing that you can think of that needs to be done, you know, checking your inbox, responding to clients, whenever they're you know, they have questions, responding to inquiries and knowing what to do there. Maybe it's like social media posts that you usually do throughout the week, your blog, or an email that goes out to your list, whatever, whatever it looks like just brain dump this whole list, every little thing that you can think of that you do in your business. And I don't want this to feel overwhelming. If anything, I want this to feel like oh my gosh, it would feel amazing. If I didn't have to do these things for one whole week. Make your big list, go through it, I want you to make the list once read over it, and then make any notes for things that you left off or you forgot. And if it helps to do this over a week, timespan do that literally just as you're working in your normal week, write down things that you do that week, so that because I'm sure there's things that you forget about or that seem like second nature, that you're like, Oh, I forgot I do that every week. Write that down. Maybe it's like keeping up with your bookkeeping or I don't know, I used to do my bookkeeping every week and so whatever that is for you make your list and then from there, that's when you make a plan to knock these things out. For my team when we know we're taking the entire month of December off you know we make our list of things that have to get done. And then we make sure to get all of that done before the time comes so that whenever you know December does come we can truly step away and are confident that everything has to be done. One of my team members Bonnie, she did this so beautifully. She went on maternity leave this fall. She had her baby in October, and she knew that she would be out October and November on maternity leave. And then our whole team is off in December and so lucky her she gotten three full months essentially that she was going to be out. Well. We knew early on I mean as soon as she found out she was pregnant. We knew what this would look like. And so she started, one of the things that's on her list that she does is she does our blogs for my associate team, my associate brand. So she knew they have two blogs that go out every single week. There's one photo session blog, and one like client education. So tips for bringing your dog to photos or whatever, just like tips and tricks for our clients. So she has two blogs that go live every single week. And we knew that when she went on maternity leave, we wanted her to have all the blogs done for October, November, December, and January, because when she came back the first of the year, we didn't want her to be scrambling. So she was on a mission to batch four months of blog content. And again, that's two blogs, every single week, it was a beast of a project, but she had several months to work on it. And so we had little checkpoints. So by the end of the first month, we said, Okay, we want you to have five blogs batched and ready to go, then by the end of the second month, okay, let's have 10 or 15 blogs, you know, done and ready. So she worked her way up to by the time she went left for maternity leave, all of the blogs were done and scheduled. And it was just a beautiful thing. And so she could leave confidently knowing that everything was taken care of, and she didn't have to worry about it. So obviously, for a week vacation, it's not nearly as drastic, but that's a good example of preparing ahead. And so let's say in your week, you're gonna have a blog post go live. And you usually have a social media post, like an Instagram post that goes along with that, well, those things can be scheduled. So before you go on your vacation, you can write your blog, schedule it and then use a social media scheduler like plan or later, or plan li or whatever, and create your Instagram post to go along with that blog and schedule that too. So now, when you go on vacation, you will have a blog, go live. And you'll have a social media post go along with it. That's the kind of thing that you can do. And I want you to make your plan so that everything on your list gets taken care of. Now, if you're like, well Rebecca, what about inbox like, I can't automate my inbox and people are gonna be emailing me while I'm gone. That leads us to our next step. And that is to set up an auto responder to set expectations. So there are to some people that are team auto responder and some people that are team anti auto responder. So I don't know where you sit, I am team auto responder, which you know that if you've ever emailed me, but basically, the reason that I love auto responders is they set expectations really clearly so that anybody who emails you knows what is going on, because think of it this way, if you were to step away for one week, and not tell anybody not have an auto responder set up in your email, you have people emailing you, let's say somebody emails you on a Monday, and then they don't hear from you. They follow up on Wednesday, they still don't hear from you. And then Friday, they're angry because they still haven't heard from you. That's what we want to avoid with an auto responder. And so you can set this up for free. If you have like a Gmail account, it's really easy. And basically, it's just an email template that sets the expectations for what's going on and when people can hear from you. And so if you're going on a week long vacation, you can have a queue email set up that basically says, Hey, I just want you to know, I see your email, your email is important to me, I'm currently on vacation from this date to this date, I will be back in the office on this date. And I will respond to all emails in the order that they came in. So that sets the expectation that they are not going to hear from you for the week that you're out of the office. And it tells them when you will be back. Now some people if that like stresses you out, and you're like, but what about an emergency, you can include in your auto responder, like we do this for my associate team, we have an auto responder that basically says they'll hear from us within, I think we say 48 hours just in case they email over a weekend because our team is out of the office on weekends. But we do have a thing in there that says basically if you're a client and you have an emergency, this is about a photo session that's coming up, you know, today or tomorrow, feel free to text our client care manager and it gives her her cell phone number. And so we put on there in all caps text because we don't want her bombarded with phone calls. But text messages are pretty easy to field where you can like glance, see if it truly is urgent and if it is you can go ahead and respond and if it's not, you can, you know deal with it later. So you can always put that in the email of like, hey, if this is a true emergency, text me and We can figure it out. I've also heard of somebody putting their husband's phone number, where they're like, if this is a true emergency, call my husband at this number. And that, like stops people in their tracks because they'd have to really think hard if they're going to bother your husband. So I know my husband, he doesn't like phone calls from strangers. And so first of all, he probably wouldn't answer. So that would not be he like never answers phone calls. So it wouldn't be a good thing. But even if he did, I bet other people would think a little harder before calling, if it truly wasn't an emergency, however you want to do that, put your phone number, but your husband's whatever. But either way, if you feel like you want to do that, then you can. Otherwise if it were me, I wouldn't put my phone number. If I'm going on vacation, I'm going to just say, Hey, if you know, this is an emergency, I probably wouldn't even say anything about an emergency, I'll just say, I'll be back at this date. And you know, it'll be fine. Because really how many photography emergencies are there, if
you're taking the week off, you probably are not shooting photo sessions during that week, or you shouldn't be. So it's fine, you're not going to have a true emergency. So you make your list of things to do, you make your plan to knock them out, you set your auto responder, then the last thing to do is to step away, like truly step away. And if you're the kind of person that struggles with like boundaries, and being able to, like really step away like that, first of all, you'll need our episode coming up in a couple of weeks, where I talk, I'm talking about how I set boundaries between work and life. But if you're a person that struggles with boundaries, delete your email app off your phone, like delete it altogether, delete your social media, delete, whatever it is that you will be distracted by, delete it completely, so that you don't have access to it. For you to truly rest, you're going to have to truly step away completely. And what I can tell you is it will feel amazing. And when you come back, you will feel charged up and ready to tackle all the things. So if you take nothing from this episode, be encouraged to take some time off like I want to know, send me a DM on Instagram at Rebecca rice photography or screenshot you listening to this podcast and post it on your stories and tag me. Let me know when are you going to take time off? When is your vacation? When are you planning it? How are you going to do that? Because it's important guys. It really really is. If it wasn't I wouldn't be here, you know, doing this episode. But there's a reason my team takes an entire month off. And slow season is the perfect time to do it. People don't get photos in December. Well, that's not true. Some people are all the last minute people get photos in December. But we actually set a cut off that we do not shoot any photos after this time, that after the first week in December, we are done well really since we go on Team retreat after the last week in November, we're done shooting, no exceptions. It doesn't matter what kind of photo request comes in. It's a no, because we want to protect our time off and so do what you need to do. Take some time off because you deserve a you want to be the best version of yourself that you can be and you need rest to do that. So I hope this episode was helpful for you. Really, really practical. But it's one of those things that people like don't think about until it's too late and they're like fully burnt out. So I don't want to see that for you. I want to see you thriving and you know experiencing the freedom that comes with running your own business. So take time off friends. Okay, with that, I'm gonna go ahead and sign off and I'll see you back in a couple weeks for another episode. Bye guys.