️Episode 070 – 3 Vacation Success Strategies as an Independent Consultant

If you think about it, taking a vacation as a business owner is making an investment in your business. 

When you, as a business owner, go on vacation, you’re making two investments: (1) on the vacation itself and (2) an investment of your time, the time that you’ve decided to use for a vacation. You want to make sure that you maximize the time you’re taking off so that it can be as rejuvenating and as impactful as you want it to be.

Today’s topic will help you accomplish just that. I share the three vacation success strategies that you can leverage as an independent consulting business owner to maximize the return on your vacation and also mitigate the re-entry challenges it’s common to face when you return.

  • [01:00] Recap of EP. 70
  • [02:14] What to expect from this episode
  • [03:31] Check out the IC Business Predictability Assessment: https://www.ic-scorecard.com 
  • [05:50] Vacation Success Strategy #1 – Pre-Vacation Planning. Questions to ask yourself from two vantage points. As a business owner and separately as an employee.
    • What is the purpose of the vacation, as a business owner? 
    • What does success look like at the end of the vacation?
    • What could I do before I leave to set myself up for reentry success? 
  • [10:37] Vacation Success Strategy #2 – During Vacation Protocols. Questions to ask yourself from two vantage points. As a business owner and separately as an employee.
    • Identify and pre-plan for any of those potential obstacles that could come up during your vacation.
    • How do you want to handle client issues or requests that come up?
    • How do you want to handle emotional interruptions that may happen? 
  • [15:36] Vacation Success Strategy #3 – Post-Vacation Planning. Protocol to implement for yourself from two vantage points. As a business owner and separately as an employee.
    • Map out a schedule of all priorities for the first couple of days back from vacation.
    • Think about what’s common when you come back from vacation, and make a protocol as to how you’re wanting to handle that. For example, feeling overwhelmed.
  • [21:24] Episode recap 
  • [21:50] Intro to next week’s episode
  • [22:44] Check out the IC Business Predictability Assessment: https://www.ic-scorecard.com


  • Check out the IC Business Predictability Assessment: https://www.ic-scorecard.com
  • Episode 069 – Taking Vacation as an Independent Consultant


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**note: This is an automated transcript, so please ignore spelling errors and grammar mistakes*


Welcome to the Grow Your Independent Consulting Business podcast. I’m Melisa Liberman, a fellow IC and business coach. On this podcast, I teach you to become a consistently booked independent consultant without becoming a pushy salesperson or working 24/7. If I can do it, you can too. Listen on to find out how.


Welcome to Episode 70 of the podcast I’m so happy you are here. As always, today, we’re going to focus on part two of a two-part series on vacations as an independent consultant. So more specifically, today’s topic is three vacation success strategies that you can leverage as an independent consultant to make taking time off more fulfilling, and less burdensome when you return from your vacation. As a reminder, last week, we covered actually scheduling the vacation and committing to taking vacation time and time off as an independent consultant, when so often the friction for us is if we take time off, we feel like we’re leaving money on the table. So that’s what we covered last week. If you haven’t yet heard that one, go back and listen to it after this. It doesn’t need to be in any particular order. So keep listening now and then go back and listen to that one about how to really commit to and follow through on taking vacation as a business owner. And then today, as I said, we’re going to talk about those three strategies that you can use to make your vacation a success for you and for your business. And today’s gonna be a little bit shorter than usual. Because I have these three tips to share. They’re very straightforward and implementable and will move the needle for you in your business. And as we know, time doesn’t equal value. So my goal is to give you the most amount of value in the least amount of time. So let’s make that happen today. Before we dive into each of the details, let’s just go over the agenda for today and the podcast. So we’re going to talk about those three strategies for vacation success as an independent consulting business owner. And I’m going to group it for you into really three different buckets. What can you do before the vacation? So again, this is assuming you’ve already scheduled the vacation and leveraged the tips that I shared with you last week and the strategies that I shared with you last week. So we’re going to focus on what can you be doing before you take a vacation? What can you then we’ll talk about what can you be doing during the vacation? And then finally, how can you make reentry from vacation as seamless as possible. And so that’s how we’re going to break up today. So that you can really easily implement these vacation success strategies so that you get the most out of the time off. If you think about this, you are making an investment. When you go on vacation, you’re making an investment of obvious dollars that you’ve spent on the vacation. But you’re also from a business perspective, making an investment in your time, the time that you’ve decided to use for a vacation. And that means that it’s not time that you’re using working in or on your business. And so we want to make sure that we maximize for you the time that you’re taking off so that it can be as fulfilling and as impactful as you want it to be. So that’s what our focus is on in today’s episode. wanted to remind you before we dive in, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend you go and take the independent consulting, and business scalability assessments. So it’s 26 questions that I walk you through, that help you to assess your business against the five pillars that are critical for you to scale your business, so that you can make more money, make more profit, and do it in a way that’s a lot easier for you, where you’re working less and have more fulfillment. As we talked about last week, you know, if you think about scaling, a lot of times scaling feels hard. It feels like it’s going to make more complications and more moving parts and it’s just not something we necessarily want to sign up for. But it doesn’t have to be that way you can scale your business by that I mean to grow your business, grow your profits, grow your income, grow the impact that you’re making for your clients, and you can do that without working more you can do it with actually with working less. You can do it without taking on team members or subs and you can do it without sacrificing that work.


Life Balance that you want to have, as a business owner, go take that independent consultant scalability assessment. So you can see how your business practices stack up against those five best practice scaling pillars, and then take away the top two priorities for you to go focus on as you’re either scaling your business or getting ready to scale your business. So that is what I recommend for you today a resource for you to go, which is absolutely free, and will give you a 15-page report once you’ve answered those 26 questions, which is a personalized report. Okay. So with that, I want to make sure we dive into these three topics, which are how do you make the most out of the time you’re investing in the vacation that you’re taking. So the first thing we’re going to talk about is the pre-vacation planning. So as you think about and I’m not talking about where you’re going to go, that’s hopefully an excellent choice you’ve made about where you want to go, or it could be a staycation? Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. What we’re talking about today is from a business perspective, that pre-vacation planning. So ask yourself, as a business owner, and as an employee, what is the purpose of my vacation, as a business owner? And separately as an employee? You’re wearing multiple hats in your business, right? So what is the purpose? What do you want to get out of the time you’re investing? For some of us that might be a connection, I want to have a connection with my family or others and might be wanting to have a true feeling of being recharged, you might want to just be in the space of I want to be present as fully present as I can for the next 10 days. Whatever the duration of your vacation is, ask yourself, what is the return on your time that you want to accomplish? And then ask yourself similarly, you know, what is success look like at the end of these 10 days, or however long your vacation is? What is success? From a business owner’s perspective? You can answer these questions too. From a personal perspective, I’m focused on a business perspective today. What is success look like? Again, you’re investing your time. And so what does success look like as you’ve invested that time? One question you may ask around that is how do you want to leave your vacation feeling? Some kind of like effortless expansiveness? How do you want to leave your vacation feeling? What does recharged mean to you, in return for the time that you have invested in it? Ask yourself like, what is the value of me shutting down my business for this week or, again, however long? And then ultimately, from a pre-vacation planning perspective? Another question you’re going to want to ask yourself is, what could you do before you leave to set yourself up for reentry success? And ask yourself that from two vantage points, as a business owner, what can I do to set myself up for reentry success? And then separately as an employee, as the consultant executing in my business, what can I do to set myself up for reentry success? A lot of times we focus more on the latter, we focus on what can I do to make sure that I hit the ground running when I come back to work and start working on my client delivery. And it’s very common to neglect, what I need to do and set myself up so I can hit the ground running as a business owner also. So don’t forget those two thought processes, as you’re figuring out and you know, I always love a very practical tactical point of view, I love writing down exactly what I’m going to be doing. You know, when I get back from vacation, at least the first couple of days, it’s literally the schedule, you know, my top three priorities, and giving myself that gift of not having to do it the last night before I’m finished with my vacation, I create it before I even leave on vacation. So I know exactly what it is that I need to do. And I can hit the ground running. And I don’t come out with some form of amnesia on when I return and it takes me a while to like get the fires burning, right the cylinders firing, however, you want to call it. So think about it for yourself. In this pre Vacation Planning mode. Do you want to really design what is success? What is the result you want to achieve in terms of investing this time away from your business, and then also setting yourself up for success from a reentry perspective? Another example from a reentry perspective could be the use setting. You know what your schedules and your priorities are, but also who are the first three people you’re going to contact


For networking from a lead generation perspective, and just have all of that, really literally sitting on your desk, so it’s ready to go. So those are the two main buckets within pre-vacation planning to set yourself up for success. Again, to repeat it, it’s figuring out how you want that return on investment to look, what is your return on investment? What do you want to get out of the vacation? And what is success? And then secondarily, what do you want to set up for yourself now that you can then give yourself a jumpstart when you return, both from the business owner, vantage point, and the employee vantage point? Okay, so that’s the first success category. The second success category or success strategy for making the most out of your vacation, as a business owner is planning ahead, how you’re going to handle the actual vacation. So I love setting this up for myself so that I don’t have to wing it, it’s one way to describe this would be to create some protocols for yourself. So you don’t have to decide at the moment, you’re actually deciding ahead of time how you want to handle your actual time on vacation, what potential interruptions may come your way, and how you’re going to handle those. So to be very specific about this, you’re going to want to identify and pre-plan for any of those potential obstacles that could come up during your vacation. Again, there are two buckets here. What could be the obstacles that might happen for you, as a business owner? Think about those in advance? What are the potential obstacles? What’s happened in the past? For example, you might be working on a contract with new clients, how are you going to handle the week off, if they all of a sudden get approval and want to talk to you or have questions because the approval is hanging up? What is it that you’re going to do decide that in advance? So you’re not having to decide at the moment when your decision-making capabilities might not be as clear. And you might be more willing to compromise at the moment than if you were pre-planning it. If one of your guiding principles is to completely check out for the duration of your vacation, you want to plan for handling obstacles around that guiding principle. If your guiding principle is I’m going to check in with my work email, once a day for 30 minutes, then you want us to plan your obstacle management around that guiding principle. So figure out what is your guiding principle around handling things that come up during the course of your vacation? So that then you know exactly how to plan for the obstacles that you could predict happening. And again, you want to look at that both from a business owner perspective, as well as from a client and employee perspective in your business. How do you want to handle client issues or requests that come up? They’re always happening, right? Oh, I’ve got this an emergency. It’s just this exception. There’s always some kind of fire happening a lot of times, how do you want to handle that? And how are you going to set yourself up? So these are the types of questions that you’re going to want to answer. So that you’ve got those protocols, you’ve got the guiding principles in place, and you’ve got the protocols in place so that you can manage the time that you’re investing in as effectively as possible during your vacation. Another one that you might want to think about this one is probably not as obvious to you but think about how you want to handle emotional interruptions that happen. So we’ve talked about literal interruptions, right, where you get some emergency phone call, or email or slack or whatever the things are, that try to interrupt the time you’re trying to take away. Think also about the emotional interruptions that might occur. Like the worry that that could come across, you know your minds when you’re on vacation, and you start thinking about, well, I’m not building anything this week. I’m not generating any revenue, I’m not adding to my pipeline, whatever it is that you’re bringing serves up for you. How do you want to handle that at the moment, decide ahead of time, and make yourself some guardrails? It’s going to be normal that you’re going to worry or maybe stress or start obsessing about your business. Because you love your business, something that you’re really passionate about. It would be natural for those types of things to start circulating in your head. So decide in advance how do you want to handle that? And what it means is that in order to get out of the emotional state of potentially worrying or stress or obsessing gotta shift your mindset into something out so that it creates then some neutrality or some kind of calmness. So an example


that I always love sharing with clients is just simply redirecting using the thought we’re not doing that today. So if you notice yourself, you and you want to establish this in advance, right? If I noticed myself starting to worry, stress, or obsess about work, I’m going to tell myself the sentence, we’re not doing that today, it leaves the door open to do it tomorrow, which by the way, tomorrow, you can use the same sentence, right. But that will help you to redirect and create this kind of protocol that will allow you to be more present, and to leverage that time that you’ve invested to take on. Okay, then the third component here of a successful strategy for your vacation is to plan ahead for the post-vacation. So we talked about I touched on this a little bit pre-vacation, we want to have all of our schedule all of our priorities, and all of our first several days mapped out so we know exactly how to hit the ground running. And we can overcome that amnesia. That always happens when we’ve been able to fully check out and recharge our batteries, right, have that gift for yourself waiting on your desk so that you know exactly what you need to do. And it doesn’t take a while to remind yourself. The other thing that you’re going to want to do is really get into the place of post-vacation protocols. So similar to those during vacation protocols. Remind yourself what happens when you come back from vacation. It’s very common to feel overwhelmed. It’s very common to feel out of control, it’s very common to feel like oh, no, the client has kind of taken the ball and run with it. And now I’m trying to catch up and things are going off the rails, those kinds of things are very common. So for you think about what’s common when you come back from vacation, and make yourself a protocol as to how you’re wanting to handle that. So for example, if it’s very common for you to feel overwhelmed and behind, what can you be doing in the moment when you’re back from vacation? To manage through that more effectively? How do you normally manage to overwhelm yourself? And here’s a great example of this, I had a client who came back from his vacation, he was basically in the States, I fell behind the client is a little bit out of control, because I haven’t been there for the last 10 days to manage the process. And I’m just feeling kind of frantic, and like I’ve made some big mistakes. And so we just took a breath here. And we said, look, what is actually happening, what’s actually happening is that you’re back from vacation, you’re allowing your mind to kind of go into overdrive about what could have gone wrong, what you think did go wrong, what might go wrong in the future. And it’s just kind of this whole unmanaged spin cycle happening in your brain. But what are the actual facts? And so this could be your protocol for when you get back from vacation. And when you feel overwhelmed, instead of letting your brain just kind of go unmanaged, out of control, thinking about all the problems and everything that’s built up, and everything you’re behind in your protocol instead could be, wait for a second, I’m gonna just spend 10 minutes writing down all the facts of the situation. When he and I did that we went down through all the facts of the situation, we realize there were very few facts, very few problems, there might have been one or two left, the rest were all just his mind making up all of these stories about what catastrophe, you know what a big problem, it was that he was gone. But when we really implemented this protocol for him, which is, when I feel overwhelmed after vacation, I’m just going to sit down for 10 minutes and write out the facts and separate those out from all of the other stories I’ve created in my mind about what could be going on or might go on or I should have done differently, separate out the facts and create a plan from that. That’s an example of the type of protocol you want to create for yourself. So again, not only do you have the calendar and the priorities from what you want to manage, but you also can remind yourself at the moment when it’s a little bit more heated, exactly how you handle things that happen so commonly for yourself when you come back from vacation. That’s going to make the reentry feel so much more under control. So much calmer, and so much more handled. And therefore you’re not letting yourself kind of spin off the rails and quite frankly, get distracted way down into the depths of your client delivery and lose several more weeks of working on your business because of it. I see this happen so often, where people take a vacation, they come back and feel this kind of heat.


sense of overwhelm about their client delivery, and then they end up taking off two or three or four more weeks from working on their business. So that’s another great protocol for you to establish. Another great example to save the post-vacation plan would be, when I returned from vacation, I’m going to spend the first three days just catching up on the clients handling anything that happened while I was gone, that’s a priority, and executing against the priorities I already identified before I left. And then after those three days that I committed to getting back up to speed on my clients, or client’s multiple client delivery, then I’m going to get right back into my routine, from a business owner perspective. So that’s another really good example of a post-vacation protocol or plan that you can create for yourself and your business, again, to make the most out of this investment that you’ve decided to make the investment of your time. And for it to really create what you wanted it to create. What is success looks like, you don’t want it to be erased, the first day you’re back on vacation, just like it was probably when you were an employee, you know, you get back and you’re like, Oh, I just need a vacation? Now, again, because of all this avalanche of stuff. It doesn’t have to be like that. And so that’s why I shared with you these three very specific success strategies for you to think about as you’re planning as a business owner, your vacation, and how to maximize the return on the time off that you’ve taken. Alright, so go put this into action, define your own vacation success plan, that free vacation that during vacation, and that post-vacation, all of those protocols. And then stay tuned for next week, I’m really excited to share with you an interview with my client, Leanne le gas, who shared so much about her business, including how she really defined and got clear on her service offerings, has been able to become really well known for and sought after for what she does, and has priced them as in value-based pricing versus time-based pricing. So it makes it so much easier for her to take a vacation. She also shares some of her strategies for how she manages her capacity. Because she’s running a business. She’s also a part-time professor, and also a mom. And so she shares a lot of that as well. So it really relates to what we’ve been talking about the last couple of weeks, taking time off. So I look forward to you hearing about that interview. And in the meantime, don’t forget to go take that scalability scorecard. It is at the URL I see. So the letters ic.scorecard.com And we’ll put that in the show notes as well. Thanks for tuning in. And I will see you again next week. Take care.


Thanks for joining me this week on the Grow Your Independent Consulting Business podcast. If you liked today’s episode, I have three quick next steps for you. First, click Subscribe on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to make sure you don’t miss future episodes. Next, leave me a review in your podcast app so other independent consultants can find that benefit too. And finally, to put the ideas from today’s episode into action, head over to Melisaliberman.com for the show notes and more resources to help you grow your consulting practice from your first few projects into a full-fledged business. See you next week.

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