How to take a holiday: For early entrepreneurs
If the title led you to believe that I actually know the answer to that conundrum, then I might as well come clean right away and claim not.
I mean to be fair, I launched Fabula Toys only about a year ago - and a week before the world plunged into its covid reality, which has made the ‘entrepreneur lifestyle’ very confusing, if I may say so. Working from home, which until then, was clearly the forte of the lone early start-up founder, suddenly became modus operandi for the world over. While I did attempt holding tight to the workplace discipline I had practiced through the 15 years of corporate life, the never-ending obligations (and excitement) eventually catches up with you until basically your mind is always working – even while you sleep.
So when, after 18 months of non-stop working, my husband and I decided to take our first week off, I was elated at the prospect of finally being able to ‘switch off’. But would you believe it if I said I had no clue on how to do it! On the face of it, it seemed pretty easy – I informed the media agency, the fulfilment partner, the accountant and booked a LOT of fun activities, the kind London is brimming with. But midway through our very first lunch out, came an email from that one event I have been on the wait list for, for the past few months. And if I wanted to be a part of it, I would have to confirm right away with a bunch of paperwork.
Just one email, I thought to myself. When in came that complicated customer request email, followed by a delayed delivery that unfortunately Hermes couldn’t avoid and a fair few social media stories that needed to be live to really capture the essence of the moment. And so it sank in.
I am the only full-time employee of my company – and therefore technically I have no one to ‘handover’ to. I mean sure, the external partners will continue their work like nothing’s changed. But there are fairly extensive bits of the business that I handle myself – and unfortunately I must make space in my holiday suitcase to accommodate all of that, whether I like it or not!
And so here’s what I did. I woke up an hour (or a few – who’s counting?) earlier than the rest of the family and punched in as much work as I could. Then through the day I would continue with our plans, at the end of which, I would stay up later than the rest (or sacrifice on that late night movie) to catch up on anything else I might have missed in the morning. Eventually, work didn’t sink and I still managed to spend quality time with the family.But while the husband and daughter went back to work/ nursery refreshed and energised, I am still where I was before the ‘holiday’ began. It has now been over 18 months since I switched off properly! So this post, if anything at all, is a call to those of you magical creatures out there, who have managed to find this elusive key to a real break while heading a start-up. Don’t keep it to yourself! The summer holidays are upon us. Listen carefully, and beyond the cheering of the cherubic little ones, you will hear the groan of the tired entrepreneur who desperately needs your ideas! Share share!