If you’re currently working #AllTheHours in your business just to keep it afloat, stepping away to enjoy the holidays can feel like an impossible pipe dream.

Like, by taking just a few days off, this empire you’ve fought to build is all going to come crashing down around you….

But hear this: your business CAN and WILL survive if you take a much needed break!

Here are a few simple steps you can take to make it easier on you to unplug, and be more present as you celebrate and reconnect with your loved ones this holiday season!

How to prepare your web design business to take time off

Tip #1

Decide what must get done, and what you can let go of (for now)

You can’t do it all! And the sooner you accept that, the more holiday-ready you’ll feel!

So gather together all those balls you’re currently juggling and take a good long look at which ones are made of glass (A.K.A which will break if dropped) and which ones will be fine to sit on the shelf until you have the bandwidth to pick them up again.

Having trouble making cuts?

Decide your single most important goal for the rest of the year!

You have just a handful of months left to make happen in your business…

If you had to pick just one thing – ONE THING that, if it went well would have the most impact on your business’s ability to survive and thrive.

What would it be?

Then take your giant list of year-end t0-dos and number them in order of how important they are in relation to that goal (1 being the closest).

Got them numbered? Good!

Now look at how much time you realistically have to devote to your business before it’s time to set your laptop down and back away for the holidays.

Depending on what you’ve prioritized, you may only have space for just 2 or 3 projects.

Make a plan to get them done, and realize that all those other things will be waiting for you when you get back.

You might be surprised at how many tasks you are stressing over in your day-t0-day that don’t really support your top goals in your business, but are actually just things you’re doing because you feel you are ‘supposed to’ as a business owner. ‍♀️

Prepping for a holiday is the perfect time to get honest with yourself about which activities actually move the needle in your business, and which are just done out of FOMO or obligation.

Tip #2

Automate the work that can’t wait

I get it. Some things simply can’t be ignored for great stretches of time!

Maybe you pride yourself on getting back to new client inquiries within a certain number of hours, and to completely check out would potentially mean losing dream clients you worked hard to attract!

Do your best to automate the time-sensitive things in advance to cut down on holiday distractions while you’re trying to get your turkey dinner on.

My fave tool for automating client inquiries is Honeybook. (That’s an affiliate link for 20% off your first year, btw!)

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial I did on that recently…

The great thing is, once it’s set up, it will continue to serve you and save you time…and not just when you’re on holiday!

For the rest that can’t be automated, and there’s simply no way to prep a template for that task in advance…

Well, no one is going to fault you for checking in once a day!

Just decide now, ahead of time, what tasks you’ll limit yourself to during these daily check-ins to make it easier to stick to your guns.

There’s an app for that.

Have a recurring task that absolutely must get done, even on holidays? Find a way to do it from your phone so you can leave your laptop at home.


Tip #3

Give outsourcing a try

There are a lot of things you can do to make sure that your business continues to run smoothly while you step away for the holidays, but if you’re looking to ramp up that freedom factor, and make scheduling and locational dependence a thing of the past, I cannot recommend outsourcing enough!

The best thing I ever did in my business was to start finding ways to hand smaller tasks off to someone else!

Not just for holiday prep, but for gettin’ it all done the rest of the year too!

I started with my inbox (see: 5 steps to outsource your inbox to a virtual assistant) because that was something that A) honestly did not bring me joy, and B) was keeping me chained to my business even on holidays.

Not sure you’re financially prepared to bring on help? Or where you’d even find such a person?

Check out these posts:

Tip #4

Already have a team? Identify bottlenecks before you go

If you are already outsourcing any work, or partnering with another business on a project, make sure those people have everything they’ll need while you’re away!

If you have projects on the go, are there any steps in your process that only you can do? And that would mean the project goes on hold until you get back?

ie. My team can plan content, and edit and prep it for scheduling, but if my face or voice is needed for a video, it’s pretty hard to work around that!

Funny story: we legit tried finding a workaround for that once…we tested a voice-over/dubbing software to see if the fancy AI robots could read from a typed document and actually sound like me.

The result?

Yeahhh…technology isn’t quite there yet.

So basically, if there is some part of the process where the ball has to land back in your court, make sure your team/collab partner has what they need in advance to complete that project without you!

Pro-tip: If the bottleneck is actually just you having to make decisions, why not temporarily pass the baton and give them that decision-making power!

9 times out of 10, you’ll wish you had done it sooner and discover that that thing can actually be taken off your plate for good!

Plus, it’ll come in handy if your holidays ever take you somewhere without cell service or wifi!

f(Hello, dreamy, off-grid cabin in the woods!)

So you’ve already got your bases covered with decision-making and process-related bottlenecks, but there are a few other types of potential bottlenecks to be on the lookout for if you rely on other people for things in your business….

Does your team have access to all the passwords and login deets they need without having to message you?

Have you provided some sort of tutorial or template for completing tasks that are new to them or outside their usual wheelhouse?

Spotting potential hang-ups in advance will make taking time away much more smooth sailing for you AND the people on your team.

Tip #5

Communicate clear timelines to your clients

One of the things I love about the two-week website (the exact process I used with clients, and now teach other designers to do in my Square Secrets Business™️ course) is that you are only working with one client at a time!

So if you know you have holiday plans, you simply just don’t book anyone’s project to start that week!

Nobody even has to know you’re on holiday!

But if you work on retainer, or you tend to work with multiple clients at once – their projects taking anywhere from 6-8 weeks – then it gets a bit trickier to plan time away.

You’ll need to give clients a pretty decent heads up so you aren’t dropping the ball customer-service wise. You may even need to tweak your future client contracts to account for how you’ll handle projects when taking time off for things like holidays.

Tip #6

Batch-create & schedule content in advance

Your business does not have to fall off the face of the earth just because you’re taking a well deserved rest!

This summer I literally checked out for a solid month and no one was the wiser.

Why? Because my 2X weekly blog posts and YouTube videos continued to come out like clockwork! And we even recorded a few Instagram stories in advance.

Yes, having a team makes this easier…but it wasn’t too long ago that I was still just a one-woman show, working with my current clients WHILE trying to attract new ones with my chosen marketing strategy: consistent valuable content!

So while you’re planning the work you’ll do in prep for your holiday, leave a few days open to focus on content-creation so you can have a few posts, podcasts, videos (whatever!) prepped and scheduled to come out on auto-pilot while you’re off doing your holiday thang!

Disclaimer: Only do this if ‘Consistent Content’ was one of the top priority projects that made the cut from tip #1…if it wasn’t, feel free to hit pause on the free content firehose and repeat after me: “everything will be just fine.”

Suggested reading:

Tip #6

Tweak your vacation auto-responder email

What’s an auto-response? It’s the automatic email reply you get back from a business that says:“We are out of office until (date). Sorry for any inconvenience.”

Except you don’t want to say that…because you’re not a boring robot and you actually care about the people who email you!

You want your email to speak to two very specific people:

  • Current clients

  • Future/potential clients.

Call them out by name and let them know exactly when they can expect to hear from you and be assured that their project is still on track (even though you let them know in advance – see tip #5).

I love to throw in a cute little on-brand visual of what I’m up to on my holiday to help remind them I’m human too!

ie. hitting the slopes, sitting fireside, sippin’ on spiked eggnog, still recovering from an olympic-level eating display at Aunt Mae’s famed turkey-day dinner…

I share my process for writing the perfect vacation auto-responder email in this post:

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How to prepare your web design business to take time off for the holidays