How to Take an Extended Vacation and Still Make Money

I want to share with you one of my proudest professional accomplishments.

I also want to tell how you can create a similar result for yourself.

This relates to using the power of delegation to make your business run without you. You are going to love this.

Note: Estimated reading time is 8+ minutes

This accomplishment is right up there with finishing my Master’s degree, passing my exams and finally getting my license and even reaching my very first 100k year!

This amazing feat took months and months of saving, a year of intentional planning, and quite a bit of faith and trust.

I’m talking about my experience of taking an extended vacation and not working at all, while my business continued to operate and even grow without me.

In August of 2018 my family and I spent three full weeks traveling through Europe on an epic adventure.

We started in Sweden where we were spoiled by family.

We had Swedish Fika every day, which if you do it right is basically a coffee break with up to seven kinds of dessert. We also went to Stockholm, took in the sites and got to tour a 300 year old preserved Viking ship.

We moved on to England where we went on a boat trip with friends in historic Cambridge. We drank beer in a pub from the 1500’s where they discovered DNA! In London we had high tea, which is a family tradition, at The Swan right next to Shakespeare’s Globe theatre.

Finally we ended in Paris, where we ate as much food and pastries as possible. We went to the top of the Eiffel Tower and stayed in a penthouse suite with a baby grand piano and an amazing view of the entire city.

It truly was an incredible trip!

I was particularly proud of the fact that we saved all the money for the trip prior to going and came home with zero debt. We actually stuck to our budget!

It was also quite exciting that my group practice had an outstanding month. Our referrals increased by 50% and my intake coordinator signed up 24 new clients, which was more than one new client for each day I was gone.

The clients of The Productive Therapist, my virtual assistant company were well taken care of and my assistant even started handling new consultations for the first time.

Payroll was done, the rent was paid, insurance claims filed and all client payments were collected. Amazing!

Personally, I didn’t take a single business phone call, I didn’t answer a single work email and best of all I really didn’t worry about my business at all.

I will make one small confession.

I did look at my email more than I should have. However, I didn’t jump in, insert myself in the day to day operations of my practice or try to solve any problems.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t as difficult as I imagined to disconnect from work and this was all possible because I built a fantastic team, learned to create systems and delegate effectively using virtual assistants.

Here is my big idea for this post.

You can optimize, automate and delegate in your business to make enough money to reach all your financial goals, have time freedom and a life you absolutely love.

I think there are four key elements to create a business that runs itself so you can leave the country!

  • Build an amazing team
  • Automate your business systems
  • Learn to delegate effectively
  • Work successfully with virtual assistants

For this post, I am only going to talk about the power of delegating.

Here is the quick version for the other three points.

Check out my online course Building Your Dream Team for info on the rest of my advice on implementing these ideas.

You need to build a team so you have someone to delegate to. It helps to document your systems so there are clear procedures for everything. Any system you can automate will save you time.

Lastly, working with virtual assistants can be an easy way to get help and support in your business without spending too much money.

Delegating can be powerful. Even hip-hop artist Drake agrees with me!

I want to tell you a story about my good friend Rosa.

She is a therapist and an educational consultant. She is one of only two educational consultants in our county and she is quite busy. In addition to seeing therapy clients she spends her time consulting with families, placing teens in programs and traveling one week out of every month to visit the various programs.

I sat down with her almost a year ago and shared about the power of using a virtual assistant. She was excited and totally on board. She said, “I think I am going to need at least 10 hours per week!” And she became the second client of The Productive Therapist.

She got over that initial hurdle of finding and bringing on administrative support.

However, I wish I could say this was a success story. More of a work in progress. One year later, she is still a client, but she is using less than 5 hours per month! Despite my coaching and occasional harassment, she has struggled to delegate and continues to do way too much in her business.

We are working together now to grow her business and push through those blocks because the service she provides to families in our area is just too important.

Learning to delegate truly is a challenge.

The three keys to productivity are automation, delegation & elimination.

Anything that you can automate will save you time and brain power. Anything you truly delegate will maximize your time and impact. Anything you can eliminate helps you to focus.

This is a good rule of thumb. If you can teach someone else to do a task, you probably shouldn’t spend your time doing it.

Here the two things you need to figure out.

  1. What you should absolutely keep doing – the things you love and only you can do
  2. What you should absolutely delegate – basically everything else!

It is important to identify the tasks in your business that you both enjoy and are actually good at doing. These are likely a good use of your time.

For me this includes email marketing, final interviews and anything related to business design.

Sometimes we all find ourselves doing things we are not particularly good at or we just don’t enjoy. For some reason it seems difficult to hand them off to someone else.

I don’t really like managing the social media accounts for my business and I definitely don’t want to be solving billing issues for client sessions.

For some reason, I find myself hanging on to these tasks even though I know it’s just not a productive use of my time.

My ability to leave the country for three weeks was directly connected to outsourcing the tasks that I don’t like, but are crucial for the business to operate.

For me this includes bookkeeping, insurance billing ,answering phones and managing paid advertising.

I have one virtual assistant who handles insurance billing. I have another virtual assistant who handles phones and scheduling. I have a company that manages all my paid advertising through Google AdWords and Facebook. Lastly, I have a bookkeeper who keeps all my accounts reconciled.

Such a relief to hand off these tasks and focus on the things I love doing!

I have noticed that sometimes we enjoy getting the quick and satisfying rush from completing small tasks. It makes us feel accomplished, but doesn’t really further our mission. This is an important temptation to avoid.

Here is a simple truth.

The more you grow, the more you need to delegate.

If we do the hard work of letting go of control it can even become fun.

You are likely successful because you are competent in many areas of your life and business. You have learned to juggle all the tasks and you are pretty darn good at it.

But, there is only so much of your time and energy to go around. And, you want to grow your business and make more money.

You have to let go of some things and trust someone else to handle them.

It’s OK to start small. Delegate a few tasks. Hire a virtual assistant for 5-10 hours a month.

Give it some time and see what happens.

One great example of a master delegator is my friend Maureen Werrbach.

She is the creator of The Group Practice Exchange, which helps group practice owners grow their businesses. She also owns and operates a very successful group practice in Chicago with 20+ clinicians and several locations.

She has refined the art of delegation to an impressive degree. She has multiple supervisors, a clinical director and office manager, an intake coordinator, an insurance biller. Basically, she has filled all of the most important business roles in a large practice and they are functioning at a high level.

She also outsources almost all of her marketing, including social media, paid ads and email marketing. It is amazing how much she gets done because she has an efficient and committed team, and she gets out of the way so the business can run without her. It’s quite impressive.

When I grow up I want to be like Maureen!

However, we all have to start somewhere. Here is a quick and easy way to start thinking about what to delegate.

Whenever you look at your task list, ask yourself these three questions.

  1. Is this something I can automate? If yes, then do it!
  2. Is this something I can delegate? Heck yeah, make it happen
  3. Is this something I can eliminate? Release yourself from that thing quick!

I want to challenge you to start delegating soon or improve the ways in which you delegate tasks in your business. You may just become addicted to delegating and your business will never be the same.

It is absolutely possible for you to design your business in such a way that it will run itself and you can leave the country for weeks or months at a time.

Remember, you can optimize, automate & delegate in your business to make enough money to reach all your financial goals, have time freedom & a life you absolutely love.

It’s not easy, but it can be simple if you focus on the four things mentioned in this post.

  1. Build an amazing team
  2. Automate your business systems
  3. Learn to delegate effectively
  4. Work successfully with virtual assistants

Check out my online course Building Your Dream Team for info on the rest of my advice on implementing these ideas.

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