Summer Vacations as a Bookkeeping Biz OwnerSep 19, 2022
Hi, everyone! Today, I’m going to be talking about how to take a vacation as a bookkeeping business owner.
I'm going to start with my intention in this business and the things that I want to create in my life. It all started with me wanting to bring in income and be a parent simultaneously, and I think a lot of listeners can relate to that concept…
Beginning with Intention
So when I started my business, I already had kids, and I knew that I wanted to protect my participation in their childhood and my motherhood with them. One thing that I didn't want to do was sacrifice the time that I had with them in order to enhance the time that I had with them.
I talk about this a lot, but it was something that I identified very early on. I knew that the life that I was living was the life that I wanted. I just wanted to enhance it. I wanted to secure it. I wanted our experiences to be a little bit different. I wanted my stress to be lower, and I wanted to be able to do things that cost money while still being present. But at my core, what I really wanted to do was be able to be there with them, especially in their young childhood, which was what I was living then…and that included being able to take a vacation when I wanted.
So it became very clear to me that I could grow a business, but I couldn't grow a business that required sacrificing the presence that I had with them. That led to me designing a business in a way that constantly protected my time with them.
That meant that I said no to things and I limited my services. There were even periods of time where I restructured things and stopped offering things because I could see that even small commitments were affecting the way that I was showing up as a parent.
Part of this means that I do some of the things that I do now to set myself up for the life I want later, and that includes summer and making sure I can take a vacation. Especially now that two of my kids are in school, the ability to take a vacation in the summer is something that I really am mindful to protect, because as they get more full-time in school, I know that homework will become a thing and activities will take over the week and summer is going to be the time where I have to really create these core memories.
Now, we're not doing the kind of traveling that I want to do right now, right now. When we take a vacation, we’re not going to Europe. We're not taking the whole summer off or whatever these summers will turn into later. But I know that my long-term vision is to be able to take a vacation that major, therefore I need to make space for it and protect it right now. Otherwise it's going to be very easy to allow work and obligations to get in the way of when we take a vacation, how we take a vacation, and maybe even whether we can take a vacation at all. And if that happens now, if I build a business that takes up a lot of space in the summer and hinders us from being able to take a vacation now, then that will only take up more space later.
Take a Vacation…and Run Your Business
I actually pulled back on a lot of obligations and calls this summer, but I still worked a lot. It's actually my goal to work less in future summers now that I’ve gone through a summer like this. But it was still a very present summer, and I want to share about what my summer vacation looked like. It started with me clearing some space on my calendar. I pulled back on the calls that I had in my group coaching program, Life by the Books. That was part of my restructure, which I actually started thinking about in December, so I was already planning for being able to take a vacation in the summer while it was still the winter. That way, by the time summer and the opportunity to take a vacation rolled around, my group coaching program was running very smoothly and in a way that allowed me to take vacations.
So, usually bookkeepers have a busier time of every month. It’s about the first two weeks of the month. For me, it’s usually the fifth through the fifteenth, because in the first couple of days of the month, I'm just not stressing bookkeeping yet.
I'm waiting for the reports to be ready. I'm waiting for the data to come. I want to make sure that when I get in, I'm actually able to do the job in one sitting if possible. So I love that structure with bookkeeping, because I'm so easily able to plan around what I want to do in my life. And for the most part, I find it ideal if I can push that off until after the fifteenth. The end of the month is really when I prefer to take a vacation, when I prefer to have workshops within Life by the Books, when I prefer to batch podcasts, all of that. It’s easier to take a vacation when I'm out of the headspace of the actual data-crunching of bookkeeping.
So, this vacation that I took in August was from the seventh to the thirteenth, right in the thick of my heavy bookkeeping time. And the reason that my sister and I decided to take a vacation then is because it was really the only time that we could this summer. This summer was about eight weeks long, and our other sister was in town for five of those eight weeks, which was amazing.
She came down with her three kids and between me and my two sisters, we spent most of the summer together in my hometown with our eight kids. So that took up a huge chunk of the summer. And I talk about it a lot more often lately, but my son is sick a lot, so the first week of summer we spent with him being sick, and then we had five weeks with my sister in town. After that, we wanted to take a vacation to go see my mom, but she was traveling, so we obviously couldn't take a vacation to see her when she wasn't there. So we were left with just these six days that were not ideal for me with bookkeeping. So we had to make this decision: do we go on this trip, or do we say it's bad timing?
Well, my sister told our kids months before that we were planning on doing a road trip to what we call The Farm, which is our mom's property in Tennessee. And so my son, being six and a half, gets this idea of being able to take a vacation there very stuck in his head. For months, he was talking about what the seat assignments in the van were going to look like. So there was no getting around doing this trip without disappointing him, and even though the trip was hard for us because of the timeline and our work schedules and also the proximity to starting back to school, we realized there wasn’t going to be an easier time to make this trip. So we decided to do it, because we could make it work. Besides, that was the whole point of being in business by myself. That was why I decided to have a virtual bookkeeping business in the first place. And as much as it was extra stress, it was cool to really see this business and all the systems I built in action.
One nosebleed, a fever, and the copious use of a grabber toy later (seriously people, trust me: you need a grabber toy on long road trips. You can thank me later), we were on our way. I drove most of the sixteen-hour drive (that’s right, sixteen hours with all those kids), but there was a point in the afternoon when I took a break. My sister took over at that point and drove for about four hours, and in that time span, I opened up my laptop and used my hotspot on my phone to connect to the internet. And do you know what? I got so much bookkeeping work done.
It was insane. It felt. It allowed me a different level of focus to have my phone notifications off, since It was a Sunday, and I wasn't trying to be an active mom. I was there, but the kids weren’t going anywhere, and they were content. And once all that was done, I was able to pass the baton back to my bookkeeper’s assistant or out to my clients. I schedule-sent emails for the next day, I got through a good chunk, and then throughout the rest of the week, I was able to work as needed while still being able to take a vacation.
A Vacation—and Business—Tip
I do have one extra summer vacation tip for bookkeeping business owners—get a separate business phone. I really do think that these things are worth investing in, and I waited far too long for the separate phone. I wish I had done it sooner. Chances are that you have an old iPhone, or somebody in your family or friends has an old iPhone that's not really worth much. You can totally use that for your business phone and have that be your Voxer or your email where you communicate with your clients and just about nothing else.
This way, you're able to actually detach from work when you're trying to be on in real life. As a mom, especially when my kids are not with me, I need my phone to be accessible. I need to be able to answer the phone if the school calls me. And when I'm with my kids, I want to be able to take pictures of them. I need my phone, but I don't want to be attached to work when I'm at the park or when I'm on vacation. I want the ability to say, “This work phone is not coming with me.” I’ll always have my personal one so that people can still reach me if needed, and I can still access the things that I need to, but I'm not attached to work. I'm able to cleanly cut it off by actually removing the phone instead of shutting off notifications. Another tip? If you work with the internet, getting a phone that has a hotspot is so worth it for your peace of mind.
There You Have It…
So, I hope this helped you see what a summer vacation with a bookkeeping business can look like. Let me know what your biggest takeaway was, and I would also love it if you would come to Instagram @orderlyaccountingbykatie and let me know what you want your summers to look like, because the future for me and my summers is totally open. As the kids get a little bit older, I want to do some big trips. I want to go to the west side of the United States. I want to travel to those parks. I want to go to Niagara Falls, which I've never been to. I want to do some real traveling with them, so I want to create that space now and protect summers now and prioritize vacations and experiences so that we can have more of that in the future.
If you're looking for more tips for bookkeeping, insight on how to become a bookkeeper, and how to say hello to a more confident business model, enroll in Become A Bookkeeper (BABs).
Or to learn more about growing your bookkeeping business and hiring a team, enroll in Life By The Books™ (Libby).
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