Planning Holiday Time Off with Jade & Jana
Welcome to The Brand Files! I am so looking forward to today’s guest because it’s Jana Grady our project manager here on our team! Today we are going to talk all about how we prepare for extended time off during the holidays.
It’s The Holiday Season!
Taking this time off is one thing we’ve really found that is super beneficial for our team & for mental health! It is so nice to just unplug and be present during the holiday season.
In this episode, we are going to talk all about how to prepare for that time off & take care of all the things that need to be done before going out of office! We want to make sure everything is taken care of in a really organized and strategic manner that also guarantees that our clients are really set up for success.
I am so excited to introduce our guest, Jana Grady!
Hi guys! I am so excited to be here on The Brand Files! I’ve been following along on Jade’s podcast journey and I’m excited to be on it and talking to you guys! So… are you guys ready to hear what we do to have two and a half weeks off of work for the winter? Cause I am so excited about that! I’m excited Jade gets to do that this year. Cause I don’t think she’s ever had a Christmas break off before! – Jana
Step 1: PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
The main thing that we did to start this process is by planning in advance…
I sit down and do annual planning in January, but it can be hard to map out the entire year. Obviously some things are going to pop up that you can’t really plan for, but initially, you can sit down and look at the dates at the very beginning of the year and plan certain holidays that you want to take off for. Federal holidays, Christmas holidays, and then think about vacations & things like that.
So many people feel like they have this pressure that they can’t take off holidays, because they’re their own boss. You almost feel this guilt around taking time off sometimes. It’s easy to forget that a lot of times, we started these businesses or these roles because we wanted to have the freedom and flexibility to work from home & make your own schedule and things like that. So I think it’s a really good time at the beginning of the year to really evaluate what dates you want to take time off for and plan around.
There are certain seasons in our business that are going to be really busy. We know that every single March, April, May for example, it’s dance recital season for one of our clients. We usually do a huge project around then, so that is something I note that on the calendar. I know I need to remember that because I am not going to be able to take on the same number of projects as I would in months where that’s not going on, because that’s a huge project. It’s a huge time investment, so even mapping out that kind of stuff is super helpful, just doing that at the beginning of the year.
As a business owner, there’s always that feeling that you’re gonna miss out on a client. You’re gonna miss out on a sale because you’re not there. But if you are not taking time for yourself, you’re gonna be so burnt out so quickly, and we don’t want that for anybody!
Step 2: COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Okay, so the second big thing that we like to do is when we establish our dates, we like to communicate them to clients as soon as we can so we can let them know when we’re going to be unavailable.
Last year, I wrote out like a pretty like thorough email to our clients to just give them like expectations of like, “Hey, we’re gonna be taking off.” And I sent an email to basically every client that we had an open project with at that time.
We just CC them all on the same email and were just like hey the holidays are coming up… this is what you can expect from us. If you have anything that needs to be done before out of office, please let us know ASAP. And then we also wanted to just reassure them that just because we’re going to be gone, it doesn’t mean they’re not going to be taken care of! Everything would be prepped in advance so that they can feel that we’re not just like abandoning them. Or also when we’re coming back, so they know when their project would resume!
It was fun kind of sitting down and looking at all the current projects and figuring out which on we could get to the fish line before Christmas and which ones we’re going to have to relax a little bit. If we could get them done, we’d be happy to do it, but also if we know that we’re not going to get back to finishing their projects until January, were not going to be bugging them for things that we may need from them right now because we’ve got a little it of breathing time to get back to their stuff.
It’s just nice to let everybody know what to expect ahead of time so no one’s worried about us emailing them for stuff while they’re trying to enjoy a vacation with their family or downtime with their grandparents, you know, you never know.
But don’t worry, while we’re not gonna be emailing you, we’re not gonna be completely off the grid just in case of an emergency! So this brings us to our third important thing that we do…
Step 3: SET UP A FAIL SAFE
With us being out of the office, not at our computers, things like that, obviously there’s going to be less opportunity for clients to reach us as quickly as they normally would. So something we wanted to do was have basically like an emergency support system in place.
So basically, we made a form in Click Up that we put in our email to our clients when they reach us via an autoresponder, which we’ll talk about later. But in that form, we basically have different options for what they’re experiencing. So they can put in like, okay, you know, what is the issue you’re running into?
We spell out what an emergency is, because I think that’s really important to be super clear on if they’re filling out this form, this is what constitutes an emergency because otherwise… it might not need to be handled as immediately as other issues!
If your website is completely down, that sounds like an emergency to me. If we’ve made marketing materials for you for an event and for some reason it had to be changed and you need something new to get to your audience, yes, that’s important, & we need to get you your thing ASAP. People need to be able to submit a contact form and you get business even during this time off. Something that we put on there was for social media clients.
If there was an emergency that needed to be like Jana was saying where there was like an incorrect date on something, a date change would be necessary. I also think about weather closures, you know, it’s like a brick and mortar location and there’s ice on the roads or something like that. They need help getting something adjusted for that & we can put that up.
Step 4: GET AHEAD
The thing our team has been working on a right now is working ahead of time. Because if we’re not in office for those three weeks, we still have stuff that our clients need to get done, so we have been preparing everything for those days.
We tend to map out content in advance, but it looks different for certain clients based on their workflow and what works for them. While we have our own rhythms for everyone, it is super important for us just to be able to map and figure out what need to be finishing. We try to start talking about things like this in November around Black Friday and things like that, but just kind of getting a picture of holiday planning and promotions people have going on.
It’s super important for us to sit down and map out all of the content for basically the entire month and then also prepping some for the week that we’re out of office in January like that kind of know that week like between Christmas and New Year’s where it’s still kind of like holiday mode basically.
We wanted to prep everything through the date when we would get back. So everything will be prepped through January 8th and Basically what that’s looked like for me has been mapping everything out in a spreadsheet for our clients. I’ve basically put together like tabs for December and January, and then I made every single one of those for retainer clients and all the social channels, & all the email marketing, everything that we do for everyone mapped out.
To be able to then share that not only with the client, but then also with our team members helps keep everything on track! Since this is a lot of content that’s going to be going on and we’re all kind of tag teaming to make sure it all gets executed well, it is so beneficial to have it mapped out.
I feel like once you employ these things and we have our time off, our team is gonna come back in January so recharged, so fresh and just really ready to take on 2024! That’s a nice feeling that you know you’re gonna have because as wonderful as the holidays are, they’re kind of busy! It is so nice just having the work downtime & a little bit more flex time after the actual holidays than other people will get.
We will be coming back in office on the eighth! We found that taking this time, even between Christmas and New Year’s is a really beneficial time because nobody is ready to just dive right in on January 1.
If you guys have any questions about taking time off, extended time off, setting up safeguards in your business, thinking through what that process can look like for you, send us a DM on Instagram! We would love to brainstorm with you or help you figure out how you can make this work for you. And of course, if you love this episode and you want to hear more like it, also let us know!
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