Thursday, June 24, 2010

How can I leave my business for a month at a time?

So, I was being organised this morning and pre-writing some of my blogs. Yes, shock horror, I don't sit down and write them each and every week - I write them when inspiration strikes and often weeks or months in advance and then my fantastic newsletter editor Megan schedules my posts on various sites and in our newsletter so that even when I'm not home - I still maintain a constant presence. To me this makes heaps more sense than trying to force write when I'm in the middle of a jungle or simply not feeling as inspired.

I know I have another 5 blogs to write so that I'm all ready to go on a month long trip to South America in a few weeks. Being a little low on inspiration this morning I thought I'd reach out through twitter and my facebook page and run a competition to get some ideas on what people wanted me to blog about in exchange for a chance to win my book.

Funnily enough - the first "entry / suggestion" was from @msmadwoman "...write about how to be so organised that you can take a month off your business and it will still run!"

Given that I'm pretty fond of taking large chunks of time away from my businesses to travel (US x 2, Malaysia, Singapore, the Caribbean, Egypt, Jordan and a fair few Aus destinations in the past 12 months) it seems like a great blog idea!

So here goes... this is how it works for me, how can I take a month of from my businesses and have them still run. Take what you want from the list and good luck on getting your month / months away soon!

1. I have partners who are there when I'm not
First and foremost I have awesome partners in my business endeavours. The most prominent are Megan and Bella at Elephant Property and Sammie at Baby Teresa. Without these guys I wouldn't have a business if I left for a few weeks, let alone months at a time. They are exceptional. For you, this might also mean having great staff as well as or instead of partners. Regardless, if you have a business that requires constant contact with people that can't be automated and that requires real brains behind it - you're going to need to have awesome people running the ship when you're not home.

2. I've found some businesses with complete leverage
Some of my businesses don't need my time at all. I write a book, record a CD or write a real estate eproduct once - I can sell it on over and over again. The real estate advertising website I started doesn't need my input at all anymore. My investment properties have sensational property managers looking after them and do not require me day to day.

3. It's the plan
When I sold my real estate agency at age 27 I knew that whatever "work" I wanted to do after that, I wanted it to be something where I could take off at a moments notice to do anything I wanted. The plan is: see the world and when I'm home work at businesses that I find fun and challenging and rewarding. The plan is not: work and then try and find time to see the world around work. The plan was also spelled out to my business partners so that it isn’t a shock when I disappear for extended periods of time. What's your plan?

4. I batch things together
When I have an idea for what to write a blog post on I'll quickly grab my iphone and email the idea to myself and then I'll sit down and write 3 or more posts at a time. I'll call through all my target clients for Elephant Property on one day a week. We write hand cards for all our clients birthdays at Elephant once a month. Multi-tasking is a farce. I'm so much more efficient doing one thing and getting it done and completed well than I am trying to concentrate on 7 things at once and half starting each of them.

5. I love a system
I'm 10 times happier if I can write a system or procedure so that I can delegate a task and know with certainty that the person I'm delegating it to can do it in an appropriate manner than I am doing it myself. As a business owner there will always be certain things I want to do myself, but I see so many business owners touting the same tired lines like "If you want a job done well, do it yourself" that it makes me feel ill. I want to delegate. I want to train our staff so that they feel confident taking on bigger and bigger roles. I want to travel for a month at a time! Our systems and procedures (that are constantly evolving) allow us to do that and mean that not only can I travel, but that I can travel and not be called or emailed for "work emergencies" and I can travel with peace of mind that things are going well back in the business.

So... that's it really. Nothing that's rocket science, but it's how it works for me.

Now - off to complete my packing list for the Inca Trail.

Happy holidays,

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments


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