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One Person Business: Finding Time For A Vacation
AffiliateDreamer




msg:3097513
 2:09 pm on Sep 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

For those of you who run a 1/2 person operation, how do you go for a vacation?

If you can't find someone who can run the shop for you, do you just disable purchasing from your store informing your visitors that you are gone for 2 weeks?

 

DamonHD




msg:3097560
 2:36 pm on Sep 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi,

The problem with that is that you are advertising that your premises are unattended for the benefit of burglars.

Maybe call it "audit" or "restocking" or "refurbishment" or "staff training" some other worthy and plausible reason for not being able to fulfill for that time I suggest.

Rgds

Damon

solly




msg:3097779
 4:25 pm on Sep 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

I guess it depends on the type of operation, but we used to carry a laptop to answer customer questions. As for the store, we put everything on an extended shipping schedule..."Your order will be shipped within 7 days." type of thing.

Notice I said "used to." Having no true vacation is one of the reasons we sold out...

axgrindr




msg:3097947
 6:48 pm on Sep 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

We sell products on CD-ROM and DVD. When we take a vacation we have one suitcase dedicated to inventory. We have 10 or so copies of each product and lug it everywhere we go. Then we stop at internet cafes in whatever town we are in to check for orders (sometimes the towns are so small we have ask people on the street if they have an internet connection we can use). We print out receipts, package the orders up and send them out.
It's a great way to travel, meet people and keep your business running at the same time.

psage




msg:3098779
 9:55 am on Sep 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

You could always outsource your fulfillment.

Then you can go away as long as you want. Just make sure to take your PC with you to answer customer questions, deal with vendors, and other issues.

Unless you also outsource your customer service...

starec




msg:3098806
 10:30 am on Sep 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

AffiliateDreamer, I know exactly how it feels. I operated a 1 man shop some years ago.

Your problem is not vacation; your problem is 1 man operation... Any 1 man shop is quite risky (vacation can be planned in advance, accidents and illnesses can't).

Get a backup (at least one part-time employee) as soon as you are able to pay his salary. It will allow you to focus on growing your business, while he/she can take care of everyday operations.

Even if it seems you can't afford it right now, think again. Part-time, junior position don't cost much. Think of it as a kind of insurance policy...

idolw




msg:3098856
 11:27 am on Sep 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

hire someone to do the stuff. start another business when they work for you within the established. once you have 5 of them working for you, go on 1 year vacation.

Visit Thailand




msg:3098867
 11:47 am on Sep 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Your problem is not vacation; your problem is 1 man operation... Any 1 man shop is quite risky (vacation can be planned in advance, accidents and illnesses can't).

Invaluable advice from starec. Start hiring, and once you know your employees and are happy with their work you will be able to not only take a vacation but also relax enough to enjoy it.

luckychucky




msg:3121965
 4:11 pm on Oct 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

I try to take vacations limited to 4 or 5 days' duration if possible, and include a weekend in there, so I only lose a Monday and a Friday.

I add in a temporary message during Checkout (not visible anywhere prior to Checkout, which is devious I know) stating that: due to staff vacations (or whatever) all orders placed _date to _date will not ship out until _date. However: all shipping will automatically upgrade to FREE! UPS 2DayAir service during that period.

I also say the net result will be that packages should arrive in around the same amount of time or less, than they would have had they been shipped normally via UPS Ground had we been open as usual.

+ shipping fuctionality gets a tweak to implement the temporary change.

Customers have eaten this up. So I spend a little extra on freight for a few days' orders. But I keep the orders which I otherwise could have lost, my customers remain thrilled, and business continues on without a hiccup during my absence.

ken_b




msg:3122047
 5:43 pm on Oct 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

Not really ecommerce, but when I did mail order (pretty much pre-ecomm) I used an extended shipping schedule. I think it was 4 - 6 weeks. That gave me plenty of time to wander off and get los for a while. Well I did get my voice mail for critical issues.

I don't know if anyone would accept 4 - 6 week shipping for small ecom items though.

Huntster




msg:3135547
 1:35 pm on Oct 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

I had this problem a few years ago, until I moved into an instant - staffed office. It really changed my life. I still can't split for weeks at a time, but when I am gone for a few days, it's fine. I even pay the girls a few bucks (not supposed to) to take orders over the phone. Having a live voice over the phone, even if shipping gets backed up a little is a big plus.

A virtual office set up could be a solution for some of you. That is when you are not actually in their office, but you can get mail, have your phone answered, use their conference rooms etc. You can do it month to month to. I plan going virtual when I "semi-retire" - whenever that will be.

luckychucky




msg:3135762
 4:40 pm on Oct 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

I sell zillions of little products in bulk (ie: wholesale) and each product comes in a range of sizes. If a customer wants to place a phone order, I tell her that, sorry, even with the best of intentions it's physically impossible to do.

We'd be sitting on the phone with them for hours on each order, waiting for their ISP dialup to slowwwwllllyyyy bring up each new product page...and the yell back to hubby: 'Jim, come over here and tell me what you think of this widget here'....

I'm curious - does Amazon.com offer ordering by phone? A paper catalog? (another annoying request)

Beagle




msg:3137374
 7:00 pm on Oct 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

If they're on dialup, they can't be sitting there watching the pages load and talking to you on the phone at the same time ;) - which may be an advantage. I know lots of sites that allow ordering by phone, but I've never seen one offer shopping by phone!

axgrindr




msg:3137456
 8:06 pm on Oct 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

I posted earlier in this thread and now my partner and I are on the road for up to 1.5 months. We are moving from New Zealand to Spain with 3 weeks in Australia to pick up residency visas.
We have a big suitcase stuffed with CD-ROMs and another one with a printer and all mailing material. Orders are coming in all the time and we seem to be keeping up with them but it is a bit of a mission.
After reading this thread and experiencing all of this first hand my number one priority when we settle in Spain is to hire a part-time employee to fill orders, answer phones and do simple customer service requests. It is definitely time to move up to the next level.

The virtual office post was interesting but I'm not sure I completely understand what it means. Can you explain a little further Huntster?

ItsAllBallBearings




msg:3137664
 12:32 am on Oct 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Whats a vacation?

ember




msg:3140081
 6:20 pm on Oct 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

There are no vacations. Comes with the territory of running your own show. Work, work, work.

LifeinAsia




msg:3140131
 7:10 pm on Oct 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Change to a travel-related business. Then you get to "force" yourself to go on vacations and have the company pay for them. :)

Sure, it's ripe for abuse. But it also has a lot of leeway.

jcoronella




msg:3140138
 7:19 pm on Oct 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Work is play.

If it isn't, you're doing it wrong.

MisterT




msg:3140149
 7:30 pm on Oct 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

carrying a laptop on vacation is not a vacation, and vacations are absolutely necessary - and lead to a lot more productivity when you get back (in my opinion)

hire someone you trust to take care of essentials while you are on vacation.

joeduck




msg:3140282
 9:54 pm on Oct 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

What problem?

Laptop + Cell Phone + Wifi + WebmasterWorld = Las Vegas Vacation, baby!

carrying a laptop on vacation is not a vacation

What? How else can you blog, post pix to Flickr, and watch the webcam you have on your dog back at home?

LifeinAsia




msg:3140303
 10:11 pm on Oct 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

How else can you blog, post pix to Flickr, and watch the webcam you have on your dog back at home?

Not to mention sending e-mail to all your former co-workers who are still stuck in their cubicles.

MisterT




msg:3140324
 10:41 pm on Oct 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

personally i like to totally disconnect on vacation. no cell phone, no laptop, no nothing. posting my pics and emails can wait until i get home. but that's just me. :)

ItsAllBallBearings




msg:3140370
 11:38 pm on Oct 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

[q]Not to mention sending e-mail to all your former co-workers who are still stuck in their cubicles. [/q]

one of my favortie hobbies...my personal favorite is the cell phone call from the golf course at 2 in the afternoon to the friends who work 12 hour days.

gethan




msg:3140433
 12:36 am on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

> Finding Time For A Vacation

I have trouble some days finding time for sleep.

critical damage




msg:3140688
 6:21 am on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

---> LifeinAsia wrote "How else can you blog, post pix to Flickr, and watch the webcam you have on your dog back at home?"<---

True indeed. Also, it never hurts to add some fresh content to your site(s) while you are vacationing. Remember, Google is watching.....
It wont kill you, or sabotage your vacation if you take your Notebook PC & Cell/PDA with you on the road.

If you can spare 45 to 75 minutes per day and dedicate it to building your online empire, you will be able to take more(not to mention a whole lot lengthier) vacations in the future.

Another thing to keep in mind, you need to build various streams of income through your site(s). If you sell products online succesfully, that is wonderful. But dont forget about affiliate programs, advertising, PPC, re-occurring subscribtion services, information products, etc. This way, it wont financially knock you when you are out a couple days/weeks if you have to shut down your shipping operation.

joeking




msg:3140739
 7:48 am on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Extending delivery times temporarily works for me, although I have increasingly moved away from supplying physical products in recent years.

The work never stops so it is important you take time out - even if it means closing down for a week or two.

workingNOMAD




msg:3140902
 12:37 pm on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

I find time to go on long vacations by taking my job with me all thanks to the power of the Internet (and not having any responsibilities at home)!

Visit Thailand




msg:3140905
 12:41 pm on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

I find time to go on long vacations by taking my job with me all thanks to the power of the Internet (and not having any responsibilities at home)!

Sorry but taking your work with you no matter where you go does not constitute a vacation in my eyes.

When I get away I really like to get away.

DrGUID




msg:3140933
 1:20 pm on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Fully automate your sales pipeline! I did this, so I was able to take a fortnight's vacation away from computers. I just posted a note on the contact page to say that I would answer emails on my return.

Oddly enough my 2 best weeks of the year in terms of sales revenue coincided with my vacation. Go figure :-)

rogerd




msg:3140946
 1:52 pm on Oct 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>my 2 best weeks of the year

Clearly, DrGUID, to grow your business you need to take more time off! :)

I'm not exactly a one-person business, but there are certainly some things that only I do. I just completed a 17 day trip, and had two solutions:
- I've engaged some specialized contractors who are capable of handling site emergencies and the like on an hourly basis. If things go smoothly, there's little cost, but if something heads south it's covered.
- I do travel with a laptop and check in more or less daily.

I do appreciate those who like to go completely dark (electronically speaking) on vacation, but I find I can segment my time to allow minimal impact on my relaxation.

I recently read (actually, listened to the audio files) Donald Trump's two most recent books. I can't say I highly recommend them, as they are packed with self promotion and endless superlative slinging, but they are fairly brief and give a little insight into this successful guy's life. He attributes a big part of his success to working all the time - seven days a week, relatively few hours of sleep, and long hours engaged in work-related activity on many days. He can maintain the schedule because he enjoys what he does. While I'm sure he's got some activities he doesn't enjoy - dealing with messy personnel situations, tax planning, etc. - much of what he does isn't "work" in the negative sense. If he's analyzing an opportunity to develop a commercial site, it's not work - it's something he enjoys.

I think most of us DO find that a lot of what we do is fun and we'd do something similar anyway even if we weren't being paid for it. Those of us who are one-person or small businesses, though, no doubt have no choice but to take on tasks that we don't enjoy (and, unlike Donald Trump, we can't delegate these to a horde of specialists).

I think a great goal is a "vacation lifestyle" - to get one's work to a set of tasks that one finds to be reasonably enjoyable, and that lets one take advantage of either traveling as one works or enjoying some leisure at home base. (I'm not quite there yet, but I'm closer than I was a couple of years ago!) This means making some business choices, and may not work for every situation. Those of us who work in the virtual world, though, have a leg up on those who have no choice but to punch a clock in a physical office.

This 42 message thread spans 2 pages: 42 ( [1] 2 > >
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