THE PODCAST FOR ONLINE COURSE CREATORS GOING BIG!
Join business strategist Tina Tower as she explores how to build your empire by packaging your expertise into online courses, speaking, content, podcasting and credibility.
Tina has over 17 years of experience in starting, building and selling companies, she's a speaker, teacher, mama and world traveller.
She's unapologetic about living an intentionally big life and if you want too, this show is designed to show you many different options to help you gain clarity over YOUR version of awesome.
Why a sabbatical can actually grow your business... When you understand how to do a sabbatical the way I teach you on this episode you'll know exactly how to use it to grow and scale
The big mistakes people make that prevent them from ever having a sabbatical (and how you can avoid these and finally get a sabbatical on the calendar)!
How to diagnose whether you need a sabbatical - you'll probably be surprised that you will put yourself in the category of 'needing one'!
You'll walk away from this episode feeling really clear, positive, and knowing that it is very possible for you to have a sabbatical sooner than you thought.
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Welcome to Episode 190 of Her Empire Builder podcast. Thank you so much for being with me today. I am so excited to be talking with you. We have had this is the first episode since launch has closed. So if you have joined her Empire Builder, welcome, welcome. If you missed it we'll be reopening again in six months. So in the meantime, you can get all the good free stuff at Tinatower.com. But now you've got six months of me just loving you up and providing the massive weekly value. So today's episode is about preparing for a break from your business. And if you have followed along either on the podcast or on Instagram or any of my stuff for any amount of time, you know that I am quite a fan of travel, and quite a fan of taking a break from my business. On any given year, I will go overseas 3, 4, 5 times. I love it. I absolutely love it. And what I want to talk to you about today because one of the most common questions that I get asked is "How?" "How do you take a break from your business? And do you really switch off? Or are you still doing things and just travelling from elsewhere?"
So I'm going to cover all of that for you today. So I had a week in Fiji with my husband on a lovers holiday and then to Hawaii where I rented a house for a month. And the reason for that was, well, I needed somewhere to launch from and I just wanted to have some fun. There certain points in my journey where I go, I just want to enjoy what I've worked so hard for, and what gives me more enjoyment than anything else is travel. And so I did this month to combine everything that I love.
I had a week with friends, I had a week of launching, I had a couple days by myself a week with clients, and then a week with family. And so it's like, perfect. And I really want to change your thoughts on the feeling that you can't have a break from your business and at what point. It's very different, whether you're working from when you're travelling to whether you're totally switching off, and then what your ability is if you are a solopreneur as well. So I'm going to be covering all of that for you today.
Let's get into it. Let's talk travel My favourite thing!
Okay, so first, I want to start with six reasons why it is so important to take a break from your business to have a change of scenery.
It's something that I learned very, very early on. I mean, I've been a traveller like all of my adult life. A couple months after I turned 18 I was in my first year of university and I did an exchange programme and went to the US for a few months and I taught under-five snowboarding there. I loved every second of it. I then went on my first solo trip to India for a month when I was 19. And I just, I love the wonderment of being somewhere else.
I get very very itchy feet and. You know, my husband always jokes that the only thing I keep consistent in my life is him and our kids. Everything else is like, you know, we moved 11 times in 18 years, I just I get antsy easy. And I work in sprints. I am not a girl of moderation. And so this may not resonate as much with you, if you, you know, have mastered that moderation, and I spent many years of my life trying to moderate. Trying to go, you know what, I wouldn't need to travel so much, I wouldn't need a break so much, if I just chilled the fuck out sometimes, you know, if I just like took it a little bit easy, but I'm a ride or die!
And that has its positives and negatives. And one of the things that I really embraced about 10 years into my business journey was going: when we work with our natural tendencies, and we learn to harness them and use our natural tendencies as our superpower rather than constantly fight our natural tendencies, that's when we can really like unleash and go to that next level of both happiness in life and not always feeling like, you know, you're somehow wrong for doing something, or wanting something. but but also in productivity, as well. And so when I work, oh, my gosh, like, I work, I am fast. I have ADHD, I was diagnosed when I was in my early 20s.
And so that's probably got a lot to do with that as well. But I can hyper focus on things and I get very obsessed. And once I get into that mode, I am hard to get out. So when I'm working on my work days, I'm on. I don't do well, with a day of going, you know, I'll just start at 10 because I'll take the morning easy, and then I'll just dabble a little bit here. And then I'll take a lunch break, and then I'll, you know, do a little bit more work. And then I'll go and hang with the kids for a few hours. And then I'll go back to it. Like that doesn't work for me. What works for me is I'm like all work, or all play, or all leisure, or all rest time.
You know, it's it's what works. And I think you've got to find what works for you. But I can only share from my experience.
And so because I work so well, hard, I need the breaks, I need the travel, I need the downtime, because what I find is, I mean, I do have a pretty good schedule in terms of normally like when team is all working well, at the moment, we've been growing really, really fast. So I've been doing more than what I normally would because we've been adding extra team members, which has been requiring training. But now we're putting in an operations manager. So that'll take a bit of the pressure off me for the onboarding and training and all of that sort of thing. So I'll get my routine back again. So what I found works well for me on like a normal basis is, again, going into these modes.
So I have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, every week of like call days on Mondays, Tuesdays. And then Wednesdays are like appointments with things but like really big stuff that I've got to do like, like have to do things like writing newsletters and recording the podcast and creating master classes, recording for new courses, like all of that sort of stuff is done on a Wednesday. And then Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday is off. Now, Thursday is rarely off-off. But I like to have one day in the week where I can do what I feel like where I can kind of take it a little bit slower. And look at my task list. So I use monday.com and I keep all my tasks on there. And I can kind of park things on there. Like when I see different development opportunities or different ideas that I have that have that aren't urgent but you know, kind of sitting there that I know will help improve the business and I know will add a lot of value to my customers. So then on Thursdays that's the list I look at and go what am I feeling here? Like what do I want to do, and kind of give myself creative licence to just go deep into whatever I feel like. So it's my like work play day. And then Friday, Saturday, Sunday I have off because I need that recovery, because my Monday Tuesday Wednesdays are generally big days like my kids go to school at 7:15 So we get up at about 6:00, 6:30 We have breakfast all together every day all four of us and we sit it and we chat and then they go to school at 7:15 And so then I'm normally you know I'll go up to my leisure lounge or meditate or I'll ride the peloton or do something but I'm normally at work by about 7:30, 7:45 So then when I get in, I work and I only get up if I have to go to the bathroom or when my husband comes in and says, Come on, I've got your lunch, come and eat. And that's it. And then the kids get home at four. Sometimes I'll go say hello, sometimes I won't, sometimes I'll just keep working. If I'm in the zone, I won't stop, I'll keep going until about six, until usually my husband sends me a text message and says dinner's ready.
And so they're my days. So they can be like, 10 hour days, on Monday, Tuesdays Wednesdays, and I love that. It's actually not something that I go, I have to change. Because I'm a batching type of person, like, that's what works really well for me is to get in and just like go all in and just shut off the rest of the world and just just go for it kind of thing. And then I look up on the other days, so then Friday, Saturday, Sunday, I'm kind of recovering from that, building up my resilience, again, filling my cup up so that I can go all in again. And so I do that three weeks of the month, and then the third week of every month is a no appointment month. So there's nothing on there, I don't run any master classes. In her Empire Builder, I've got other people that run them on the third week, I don't record any podcasts, I've batched everything in advance. And sometimes that third week is the week that I will take off. So that's when I take my holidays, or that's when you know, I'll just muck around in the garden, play with the dogs do whatever I want. Or that's the time that I'll do like creative stuff. So that's the time if I want to film a new course, or new content, like I can switch off the outside world and just be kind of off with the fairies, in my own little world without having to talk to the outside world, which is my favourite. That's when I really get in flow is when I can be all alone and off with the fairies. And so I try and do that as as often as I can. So whole week every month. And that's really what makes our business grow is me being in that creative time. So then we run that throughout the whole year, and then I take off from mid-December until the end of January. So I do have quite a lot of time that is scheduled "off time". And what I want to point out here is there's different types of "off time". So I one of my advice to you want one very valuable piece of advice is: plan as far in advance as possible with what your ideal off time is. Because I know if I was to go, you know, "I'll see how next month goes". It's already booked. Like there's different. I do elite Intensive days, once a month. And so they they're a full day. And it's just a full day, you know, it's not, it's one day they get in the day before we run the whole day, they go the day after. But I do it once a month, because that time goes like really, really fast. And we have to have that blocked out because we're already booked for 2022. And so if I didn't have limits on that, my schedule would be so full all the time that I would never get any downtime and never get any time off. And so then the business would suffer because I'd have no creativity, no imagination, my resilience would run out, I'd want to fire everyone shut everything down and run off into the hills and disappear.
Do you ever feel like that? So I know what I need to put in place to prevent that from happening. And so: plan as far in advance as possible. So because I've got all of that mapped out like that's already all mapped out for 2023. So that's blocked in. So no matter what comes out, we've already been approached for a speaking engagement in 2023. And it falls in week three. And so it's a an automatic 'No', from me. If it was something incredible, I would probably say yes. But for a lot of it. It's just just like a 'no', because otherwise, I know that time disappears. And we can start to resent our business. And if you're in for the long game, for me, it's nearly 18 years, I know what I need to keep that longevity going and keep that energy going. And the energy is our most valuable resource that we have. So I wanted to give you some reasons why you need to prepare and why you need to take a break from your business. So taking care of you on this energy topic is the best thing for taking care of the business. And I see so many people get burnt out and like as I've pointed out, I'm not adverse to hard work.
But my version of hard work now is very different to what it was in my 20s. I know that, you know when I ran my company in my 20s I was working 12 hour days like five or six days a week. But my energy was different then to what it is now. And so it's constantly reassessing. "Is this working like are you feeling good?" Like yes, there's gonna be bad days and there's definitely hard seasons.
Like I always think, every time we launch, we only launch twice a year, but always in the month before it's manic, you know. I'm usually travelling, and then we're coming off the backs of retreats. There's so much going on. And I have to always remind myself that it's a season. It's not like this all the time. And then a month or two will pass. And I'm like, Ah, oh, yeah, I have space again. So, you know, there's bad, there's like hard seasons in your business. And then there's times where it's like, there's no light at the end of the tunnel. And the weeks are rolling on to each other. And you're like, "When am I going to get a break?" And this is where you need to realise that taking care of you is the only way that you're going to be able to take care of the business, especially with your clients, and the level of delivery you're providing and everything like that. So that's the first thing.
The second one is a different environment creates a different perspective. And we constantly I mean, one of the one of the best parts about business is that it's never the same. So it's constantly changing, which means we get to stay alive. And in this zone of going, what's next? How can we bend? How can we adapt? Like, it's dynamic, and it's awesome. But it means we can't rest on our laurels, you know, we have to always be looking at things with a bit of a different perspective and get out of our own heads. And it's often called the "helicopter view" in business is being able to rise up out of the weeds and kind of take that helicopter view of that top down look on our business. And there's different times that that we'll get stuck in the business. I know I get there, like at least a few times a year, where I'm in the weeds, and I just can't see the answer. I'm like, should I go this way? Or should I go that way? And what do I really want and everything's so fast paced, and everything's happening, and there's so many responsibilities and weight on my shoulders that I just can't get the right answer. So I go and change my perspective. And as soon I'm in a different place. I'm like, Oh, all seems so easy now. And this is one thing that I actually haven't ever been able to figure out about travel. When I travel - and it's why I'm so addicted to travelling I think - when I travel, this different perspective is just like, magical. And I always go like I live in a beautiful home, we live on land, I have a lot of fresh air. Why can I get that perspective in my own backyard? Why do I have to get on an aeroplane and go somewhere totally new? I don't know. I'm sure there's science behind it. But I know that it's true. I know that as soon as I get on that aeroplane, and my head's up in the clouds, and I'm looking out of the window, and I arrive somewhere new and especially if I can't speak the language, I've never smelled the smells before. I don't know where where I am whether to go left whether to go right how do I get from the airport to where I'm going? Where even am I going like that for me? Heaven!
Heaven. And I understand that some people's idea of a nightmare. But to me, it gives me a different perspective. I'll speak to people from different cultures that hold different beliefs and just be like, "Wow, this belief that I'm holding so true, is really just a made up belief in my mind, because your belief that you're holding so true. It's so true for you, but it's so different to mine". And it really, like always makes me go alright, what if this wasn't true? What if anything was possible? How could I look at that differently? And I just, I just love I get goosebumps just thinking about it. I'm just like, Ah, love.
Number three, allow the grey matter in your brain to rest. And when I wrote out these six points, I was like, I really should look up like the neuroscience term for that. Like, what does grey matter? Do? Does it go smoodgy? Gee, I don't know. What I do know is your brain is a muscle. And I do know that if I was to go for a big long run, and hurt my legs, I wouldn't be able to walk for a few days. I'd walk funny and people would go, Oh, what happened to you and I'd say I ran too far. I need to rest. However, when we overwork our brain, day in day out week in week out, month after month after month without really giving it a rest, our brain muscle is like overworked. And so we get fatigued because our brain is trying to like conserve its function and it's like "please stop."
But often we will push through that. And so to me, I need the travel to let my brain get happy again, because I will get in my periods of work of which I love, but it gets tired. And I can feel my brain muscle actually start to ache actually start to have like the sore leg symptoms, and I know I need to go zonk out for a bit, I need to go sit on a beach somewhere and just look at the water and go, "Oh, they're pretty fishies" and just give out. not much at all, except playing cards with my husband, reading trashy Jackie novels, storybooks and watching crappy movies. You know, that's what we need to be able to recalibrate. Now, for some people, if you're different to me, you can do this all in a day, you may not need these big breaks as often as I do. Power to you for that. I tried to figure it out, not for me.
Number four, is it gives you time, like quality time with friends and family. So for me, I spend a lot of time with my family a lot. We have like I talked to a lot of people, sometimes I feel like, "oh gosh, I'm not spending enough time with the kids." But then I talk to a lot of other people. And I realise, "oh, wow, we spend a lot of time with our kids". So like I said, before, we have breakfast together every morning, we have dinner together every night, except when I'm travelling. And you know, we talk a lot, we chill out at nighttime, because I finished at about six and then my brains like mush. So there's no option for me to work at night, because I've like exercised it so hard during the day. So we'll sit there, we'll do our homework together, we'll chat we'll lay on the bed. So we spend a lot of time but it's not like it's not like Adventure Time. So I love to travel and spend really Adventure Time and I will switch everything off. So everything will be turned off. And I'll just devote to them. Whatever they want to do, whether you know, they're gonna laugh at me while I'm trying to surf like they do. Whatever it is, it's that quality time. And to me, they're the things that especially my kids, remember. We've done a lot of travel together every year, we go a few times. And it's, it's those are the stories that they really enjoy, because it's a different perspective, and it's outside of our normal life. And so I really like to get that quality time with them.
Number five is to grow your imagination. So every time I travel, I see so many different things that just blew my mind, grow my imagination and expand what's possible. So I love that. And the final one, number six is to build your resilience back up again. So I'm sure every business owner can relate to this.
But when you work too long without a break, your resilience runs out. Right. So, you know, problems that would normally be handled or problems that normally you could see and go, Yeah, I can I can sort that out. If a few things happen all at once. Or if one of those problems happens, and your resilience is low. It's like, oh my gosh, like why does everything keep happening? I can't handle this anymore. It's just all too hard. Right? Just your resilience well has run dry. And I have never met a business owner who has not been in that situation. And so when you get in that situation, often it's either too late and you need to go like now. Or when you get in that situation is when you plan the trip. So I've been in this situation before where where I literally just run away, it gets to Thursday. And if things are too hard, and I'm like "You know what, I can't deal with this", I will go away for a night, I will just go book a hotel and take myself away.
And some people would say I'm insanely selfish with that. They'd go Holy guacamole, Tina, like really, you just just up and leave? But here's the thing. I handle a lot of responsibility in our family, I take the load for earning all the money looking after all the kids stuff, paying the insurances, the mortgages, looking after the animals, like so many different parts of our family is, is managed by me. And because I have quite a heavy load of that - and I love it., like I'm not complaining about it, I love it - but it just means that sometimes when it all gets too much I need to breathe.
And there's nothing wrong with that.
So there are six things of why it's important to take a break from your business. Now I want to go through like what to do to take a break from your business. So there's three different ways that I kind of look at it when I'm taking a break. So one of them is when you're a solopreneur so if you're working on your own, this is harder because you can't take extended leave yet. So you kind of starting with those long weekends. So for me when I had no team, I would take long weekends completely off so I'd leave like Thursday afternoon and not come back till Monday morning. And you can put an auto responder on there, nothing bad's gonna happen on a Friday that can't wait till Monday. So that's where to start with that. And then if it was anything over that, I would just take my computer and I would batch everything beforehand and just check in once a day. And that's actually the travel that I enjoy the most. So I know that sounds counterproductive to a lot of people, because a lot of people will say, like, "you need to completely switch off". But I actually feel better when I check in every day, when I just look at things and just make sure everything's alright. And on and on, we go. So what I do for those - I travel quite extended to so you know, in January, I went for two weeks, And then in March, I went for five weeks, and now I'm on a five week trip again, in December, I'm going to Kenya for two weeks; in January, Bali for two weeks. And then in March, I go again for five weeks.
So I take a lot of extended travel. And so for me when I'm doing extended travel, I just work when I'm away, like: "have laptop, will travel", it doesn't really make much difference. What I do like to do when I travel though, is spend most of my time actually travelling and actual downtime. So I always plan as much as I possibly can beforehand to maximise the opportunity of travelling. So first thing I do is choose the time to switch off. So I will choose okay, how am I going to structure this? Am I going to check emails at like 10, and four, or just at four in the afternoon to give because I've got an assistant so she can look at everything beforehand and just flag anything that needs to be flagged by me? Or if I'm gonna go for five days, like what's that five days? And who do I need to tell for that? So I plan far in advance, and then I prep the team. So I schedule in our check in time and when I'll be available.
If I have no team. So pre having team what I do is get like a business babysitter, I think so you can get someone that doesn't necessarily need to know the business, what they need to be really good at is customer service, listening to people and solving problems. Because things will come up if you're gone. Like it's totally switched off for longer than a week. And someone needs to be there to answer the phones to just let people know, hey, I've got you, this is what's happening, we'll be back to you as soon as possible. So always I'll schedule in that. Set up an email auto responder so that people know. So what I find is communication is is often best if people know, like if you don't get back to someone for three days, they're going to be like, "What, where is she?" But if they've got an auto responder saying, hey, I'll get back to you on Thursday, then people are like, Ah, okay, well, everyone needs a holiday, right? So people are okay. So then I if I'm going without the family, I prep them quite a lot. So I give a schedule to my kids. So they know where I'm going to be when I'm going to be there when I'm going to call them what timezone I'm on, they put that into their phones, all of that sort of thing.
If I'm going for longer than a week, I do mail instructions. So I look after all of the mail in our family, which there's a lot. So anything shorter than a week can kind of just wait and pile up anything longer than that I need to action. So then I get it all opened chucked in the scanner, and then sorted out. And then I can action that while I'm away. I make sure all of the accounts are up to date. So I plan all the finances - are there going to be any bills that need to be paid, I make sure everything's pre-paid that you know, especially when you're travelling, that credit cards are all on auto debit, all of that sort of stuff so that nothing bounces. If I'm going away for an extended time, I'll make sure all of the live sessions are prepped. So you know, often when I'm away, the way I do it is when I go away for a couple of weeks or more. I don't do any extra.
How do I explain it? I don't do any extra work. I just do like the what I'm committed to work. So everything to do with her Empire Builder and running my membership, I still do. I show up and do all of my master classes. I do coaching calls, I do my Q and A's in our Facebook Live, all of that sort of stuff is all done. However, everything's prepped beforehand. So all of the slides are done. All of the scripts are done, everything is there.
But I don't do anything that doesn't have to be done. So I look at it and go any like business growth opportunities or anything like that. I won't do any of that until I'm back. So then I notify all the customers I make sure I always change my phone voicemail message so that people know that I won't be checking and then it's the simple things like the practical things like making sure your travel insurance is done and making sure you've got all your documents printed with emergency contacts, passport copies, like all of that sort of stuff.
I have a full briefing document for the house sitter. Because if we go away together, so my life is not a simple life. We live on acreage, we have our house, and then we have a three bedroom cottage as well. So we've got two houses to look after. We've got two dogs, chickens, goats, we grow our own food, we've got a bearded dragon lizard. There's a lot of things to look after. So I have a full briefing document for the house sitter with all of the numbers and contacts and at what intervals plants need to be awarded and what intervals, animals need to be fed and how they need to be cared for, and all of that sort of thing. Because, you know, I love systems, that's all sorted. I make sure all the supplies are topped up in the house. So making sure there's like enough food for all of the animals and like just everything is just all topped up. I notify the school that the kids are going to be away and I batch everything. So I look at everything that needs to be done in the business, both for when I'm away, and for when I come back, because I know that when I come back, I'm gonna have a backlog of emails and stuff to catch up on. So if there's anything I can batch beforehand, like podcast episodes, social media, newsletters, any regular content that goes out, I will make sure I do all of that and the week or two after, before I leave.
And that's it. That's my travel prep. That's how to prepare for a break from your business. I think that, in our minds, taking a break from our business can seem like such a big thing. And what I would say is if it if it causes too much stress to totally switch off from your business, just take it with you, like just open your computer, it's totally fine. It means that you've got like an hour of work a day, and then you can spend the rest of it just playing. It's just beautiful. You can do it. However it works for you. But the one thing that I would say is back to point one on why taking care of you is the best thing you can do for taking care of your business. And if you want to be in this with longevity, and really serve your customers the best that you can, and build that customer base, build your team, handle all of the responsibility that we have to handle as business owners, then you need to learn what works for you. You need to give yourself a break because we need to have energy and imagination and resilience and great perspective and creativity. And I want that for you. So Happy Holidays!