Vacation Strategies for Small Business Owners: Chat Summary from 8/10/2010

How do small small business owners take vacation time? How do you enjoy it and keep the business running while you are gone?

  • We’re on alternate Tuesdays (in the summer) from 8-9 pm EST.  The next chat will be held on August 24, 2010.
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  • Invite others to join in, help them get started.  We started this chat to facilitate conversation between small biz owners.
sbbuzz: Welcome to #sbbuzz, a Tweetchat for the next hour of small biz talking technology on Twitter. Join us!
sbbuzz: Rules: 1)NO pitching till end 2)Be nice 3)Stay ON TOPIC! 4)Send ?s for group to me w/o hashtag 5)Use #sbbuzz in all messages 6)Have fun!
sbbuzz: Start off w/an INTRO: 1 message about you and your business and whatever else we need to know. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: from and author of the upcoming Write Your Way to More Clients Online (Sept 2010) –> intro for #sbbuzz
rzazueta: Hello, all! Long time no talk! My name is Rob Zazueta and I handle partner developer relations at VerticalResponse. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Hi all – Pamela here from @batchblue and the hostess of #sbbuzz. Returning from fabulous vacation in last week in Maine!
ginabee: Good evening, All! Gina here from creative content creation. I’m glad to join in the festivities tonight! #sbbuzz
smitty1966: Hi all hope to jump in for a bit. #sbbuzz. Jeff here from @edupros. I’m the technology guy.
stellel: Hi, I’m Christelle, Customer Experience for @batchblue. I hope everyone has been enjoying their vacations! #sbbuzz
samuraivt: #sbbuzz I’m Anthony owner of Samurai Virtual Tours we help businesses be more successful by capturing, creating, and communicating.
mentormarketing: I have no pitch tonight, the site is down, but you all shuld follow me, I have 8 new blog posts ready to publish this week. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Tonight we’re talking about small biz owner’s vacation time – how to enjoy it & keep the biz running while you are gone . #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @sbbuzz Hi everyone – Scott from the Customer Experience team @batchblue #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: @sbbuzz perfect I am doing a post on keeping your biz running while you are on vacation for later this month #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Please send me any questions you would like included in the discussion. #sbbuzz
RevAngela: Hi everyone @RevAngela of Blessings All Around (Mobile Officiant) in Long Beach #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: I am hoping that my mrktg associate will be up to speed in time for my vacation. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: And now, on with the show. Q1 How often do you take vacation? Do you make it a priority to get away from your work? #sbbuzz
RevAngela: Is there a way to post to more than 1 twitter account at once? I want to post to my personal, biz & church account at the same time #sbbuzz
rzazueta: Q1: When I was independent, we broke our vacations down into weekends. Also all we could afford. #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: @RevAngela One choice to post to multiple social medial places is to use #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: @RevAngela you can post from more than one Twitter account at a time using Tweetdeck. See, it’s like seeing double! 🙂 #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: I take 2 weeks in April, I take 2 weeks in Sept or October and I take 2 weeks at year end. #sbbuzz
pmohara: @RevAngela you can post from more than one Twitter account at a time using Tweetdeck. See, it’s like seeing double! 🙂 #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: I lose my mojo if I don’t step away. #sbbuzz
samuraivt: A1 #sbbuzz Don’t vacation as often as we’d like. We make it a priority to get a least one day per week away from work.
RisingStarIdeas: Q1 I haven’t had a “real” vacation in 3 years. Really meaning no laptop or mobile phone , just plain ole relaxing #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q1 – I think you have to if at all possible. We used to be pretty consistent but not as much lately. #sbbuzz
RevAngela: @pmohara Yes, I’ve been using Tweetdeck. Didn’t know if there was something else out there. Looks like I’m on the right track. Thx! #sbbuzz
ginabee: Q1- Back when I was a daycare provider, no workey meant no $. Now that I’m a freelancer, I have more freedom, but no time! #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: @mentormarketing I love your vacation schedule. #sbbuzz
RevAngela: Going on vacation next week. I promised myself to only check my mail once a day. Twitter – cant keep away fr too long…LOL #sbbuzz
pmohara: I take 5/6 weeks per year & require staff to. I think it is hugely important to take a break – and set the precedence for my team #sbbuzz
RevAngela: @risingstarideas Thanks for that idea. I will look into it. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Getting away helps me regroup & helps the company cope w/o me. Same for the team – we appreciate people more when they are gone. #sbbuzz
RevAngela: @samuraivt Me too. I feel it helps me appreacite both work and away time. #sbbuzz
rzazueta: It’s SO easy to get burned out on your own. The long term value of a vacation is probably more than if you had worked the week. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q2 from @risingstarideas Do you delagate tasks (like answering email, tweeting, answering phones) to a VA or other team? #sbbuzz
gardenofwords: I’ve started taking Saturdays off. Makes a HUGE difference to my quality of life. #sbbuzz
gardenofwords: I’m dreaming of a trip to Peru, Mexico or Costa Rica WITHOUT INTERNET to REALLY get away from it all. #sbbuzz
BlakeGroup: Jumping in hello! I do long weekends or go away Weds to Weds–then not gone a complete work week. #sbbuzz
rongraham1: There’s really only one thing that takes precedence for me over work: time with my kids. Which I don’t get enough of, because… #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @BlakeGroup What do you like better about going away from Wednesday-to-Wednesday? #sbbuzz
pmohara: Tough for service business- not working means not billing. So charge double the week you’re back since work will be much better 🙂 #sbbuzz
rzazueta: Q2: I don;t, but I’m interested in the idea of a VA. Never sure I can afford one, though… #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @BlakeGroup Nice, I see! #sbbuzz
rzazueta: (bring on the @ replies from the VAs in the audience 😉 ) #sbbuzz
BlakeGroup: Q2 With iPhone + laptop, usually little need to delegate. But if in middle of big project, hire back-up so clients feel secure. #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q2 Vacation never meant getting away from those things. They could sometimes be delayed but never avoided entirely. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Q2 Rather than auto-replies, I ask our CS team to monitor my incoming messages from customers So they still get personal response. #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: I am a master delegater #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: @scoblitz but are you really on vacation if you don’t get away from the email, phone, internet, etc? #sbbuzz
pmohara: @scoblitz I agree – and have been known to check in from afar just to prevent a huge backlog. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @RisingStarIdeas I was just typing the same thing! #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q3 When on vacation, do you completely disengage? If not, does it count as vacation? #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @RisingStarIdeas It depends if we’re doing it because we enjoy the connection (e.g., Twitter) or out of anxiety (email piling up). #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @RisingStarIdeas maybe not as much as I always would have liked to have been – but it was unavoidable. Things couldn’t just stop. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @sbbuzz Some days, Twitter IS my vacation! #sbbuzz
BlakeGroup: Q3 As an indie, I’m rarely out of contact for more than a day. Price I pay for much more day-to-day freedom + worth it! #sbbuzz
pmohara: Q3 – I’ve done both. Depends on what is going on at work & my connectedness. If I do check in, it is very limited. #sbbuzz
rongraham1: @rzazueta, I know what @iTaskVirtually charges. But I’m not sure I’m allowed to say openly. You could check her out… 🙂 #sbbuzz
rzazueta: Q3: I do my darnedest, but there are things that need my immediate attention no matter where I am. Amen for “smart” phones. #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: I usually check in 1x a day to make sure I have everything delegated. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @BlakeGroup Maybe sad, but true 🙂 #sbbuzz
ginabee: Q3 – When my biz was at home & I wasn’t, there was nothing to miss. Haven’t had a vacation yet as a freelancer when biz continues… #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: @lindadessau great minds think alike? I say it doesn’t count as a vacation if you do work. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @JodyPadarCPA Hey Jody! Yeah, I guess I am! #sbbuzz
ryankuder: @sbbuzz We call it a “work-cation”. #sbbuzz #q3
lindadessau: @RisingStarIdeas Then there’s the whole “a change is as good as a rest” theory. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @ryankuder Sounds too much like work to me 😉 #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: A3 the problem is we are so connected now. Smartphones are both a blessing and a curse. How do you disengage with a smartphone? #sbbuzz
BlakeGroup: Q3 Yes, we all need to refresh mentally but if U love what U do, working isn’t punishment so OK to work a bit on vacation. #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: @RisingStarIdeas I made a point not to have a smartphone, all i can do on my phone is talk. #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: A3 BTW, I just purchased a Droid. What does that say about me, I want to be more connected or better connected? LOL #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @RisingStarIdeas That’s why I didn’t get a smartphone. I got a netbook for when I truly have to work remotely, but NOT in transit. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @BlakeGroup Nice, yes! #sbbuzz
rzazueta: Q4: Anything that can be scheduled ahead of time (email campaigns, tweets, etc.) should be set up before you go. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @mentormarketing Hey, me too! I even made them shut off the text messaging – phone neanderthals unite! #sbbuzz
rzazueta: Q4: Tweetdeck makes this easy for social media stuff. VerticalResponse *ahem* can do it for email campaigns. #sbbuzz
BlakeGroup: Totally agree! Rt @lindadessau @RisingStarIdeas Then there’s the whole “a change is as good as a rest” theory. #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: But there are times when you are away its nice to do a little work. Like at US Open watching tennis ( my annual treat) not a vaca #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @BlakeGroup I like to vacation a bit while at work – is that the same? #sbbuzz
pmohara: Q4 My Droid Incredible & the cloud. Hmm, I guess I only need 2 things. 🙂 #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: @lindadessau @mentormarketing WOW I can’t imagine being that cut off. #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: I don’t even have cell service at home RT @RisingStarIdeas: @lindadessau @mentormarketing WOW I can’t imagine being that cut off. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @RisingStarIdeas @mentormarketing Well, I don’t get out all that much, so it’s okay 😉 When I do, I’ll be back soon enough. #sbbuzz
stellel: @sbbuzz: Q4 from @risingstarideas What are the top 3 tools solo/small biz need to keep things running while away? #sbbuzz
mentormarketing: well Guys it was good touching base this week, but I am going to jmp off early to work on the site. Ciao #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q5 What are your tricks for catching up after a vacation? How do you get back up to speed quickly? #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Q4: I like HootSuite for pre-scheduling. #sbbuzz
BlakeGroup: Q4 smartphone, laptop or flash drives, good person for backup just in case (can even trade this w/ another indie)! #sbbuzz
rzazueta: Q5: Accept your limitations – you’re not going to get it all done in a day. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @sbbuzz Q5 I use the Email Triage technique from @CharlieGilkey – I used it tonight to quickly clear 50+ emails before the chat. #sbbuzz
rzazueta: Q5: Block out a couple of hours first thing in the morning to do nothing but return calls an plow through email. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Excellent point! RT @rzazueta: Q5: Accept your limitations – you’re not going to get it all done in a day. #sbbuzz
BlakeGroup: Q5 If I’ve kept up w/ email, not a bad re-entry. Go thru snail mail, contact clients + suggest meeting (to emphasize I’m around). #sbbuzz
ginabee: Q5 – I list my transition plans & ease back in as gracefully as possible. It’s all about the lists & prioritizing what’s on them. #sbbuzz
stellel: RT @lindadessau: what’s the Email Triage technique ? #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @rzazueta Yes, I think it’s key to block out time the first day back – no appointments, gentle expectations. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Q5 I use Gmail stars to first read through ALL my messages and then prioritize. Helps me tackle urgent stuff first. #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q5 I’d rather spend a little time on vacation keeping up than face this upon return. Much less stressful overall. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @stellel It’s a four-step process to get through a ton of email when it stacks up on you ( #sbbuzz
rzazueta: @lindadessau Exactly – try to save the vacation buzz for as long as you can. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Believe it or not, we are at the end of our chat – what we call Pitch Time. Please tell us a little about your business. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: If you’d like a once-a-week e-mail reminder of #sbbuzz (including the topic) sign up at #sbbuzz
ginabee: @rzazueta ooh…vacation buzz! I smell a new twitter chat coming on! #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Need to create more masterful content for your newsletter or blog? (pitch time on #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: A5 Outlook rules to seperate emails & a different email for personal stuff & other alerts. This way no pressure to review everything #sbbuzz
rzazueta: Wow, all good things come to an end… #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @sbbuzz Thanks for having us, this was another great chat. Good night, everyone! #sbbuzz
BlakeGroup: Amy here–I provide creative services (design, writing, soc med etc) for clients in utilities, healthcare, high tech, education. #sbbuzz
RisingStarIdeas: A5 sometimes we (espeically women) forget “Just because it has to get done, doesn’t mean you have to do it!” Delegate- no catchup #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Sorry there was no #sbbuzz blog post/e-mail reminder today – one of the things that did not make my post-vacation top priority list. 🙂
sbbuzz: Thanks to everyone for all the great discussion! We’ll get the #sbbuzz summary posted on the site soon at
RisingStarIdeas: My biz.. show you how to spend less and make more online for your small biz #sbbuzz
rzazueta: Pitch: Provide email marketing services to your clients? Check out the VerticalResponse partner Program! #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: #sbbuzz is a small business Twitter chat hosted each Tuesday night 8-9 PM ET by the folks from @batchblue Come again soon!
lindadessau: @sbbuzz Good example of prioritizing – more important that we had YOU here! #sbbuzz
stellel: Great chat everyone! Good night! #sbbuzz
BlakeGroup: TY to @Sbbuzz + @pmohara for great #sbbuzz! Thanks to @lindadessau @scoblitz + everyone for super convo!
pmohara: Thanks all – hope you enjoyed this Twitter vacation tonight! 🙂 #sbbuzz
ginabee: Content creativity can be yours! I use my words to tell your story! #sbbuzz
rzazueta: G’Night, everyone! Great Chat!!! #sbbuzz

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