Technology is a wonderful thing. Without it, I would not be able to vacation much at all. I am the owner of a single-person marketing support company where I am the sales department, the marketing department, the accounting department, the IT department and the maintenance department.
My family takes one vacation per year for one week. It is a much-needed getaway from day-to-day business that keeps me sane for the rest of the 51 weeks. My vacations are not without my share of work, though.
To the disappointment of wife, kids and extended vacation friends, my smartphone makes the trek with my umbrella and beach chairs to my spot in the sand for a couple of reasons. Not only does it contain my Kindle app with my reading material and my music, but it is also my connection to my clients, most of whom don’t even know I’m talking to them with my feet in the sand. I prefer it that way.
With a smartphone in hand, I am able to monitor e-mails and phone calls from clients and vendors to be sure potential and active projects are moving along at the quick pace and reaction time my clients have come to expect. Located in my condo is the laptop from which I’m able to manipulate artwork and cut purchase orders to e-mail to vendors. All of this vacation chaos allows me to relax.
It would be nice if I had a staff, or at least an assistant back in my office to handle the e-mails and calls but key customer service personnel from trusted vendors helps to alleviate the stress of being on vacation. (Did I just type “stress from being on vacation”?)
My lean structure is what my clients tell me is my advantage over my competition because I have the tools at my fingertips to make quick decisions and reduce response time. I cannot afford to disappear to a beach for a week without being that resource to my clients. Deadlines don’t wait in the marketing world and my clients try to give me peace if they know I’m on vacation, but I prefer they wouldn’t. Competition is always waiting on deck for their chance to take a swing. I prefer they stay in the dugout and I do what I can to keep them there. My relaxation occurs once I know there is nothing pending which needs my attention.
Within the times of relaxation is where new ideas are generated and new strategy is generated. These are the times when I am not working in my business, but rather on my business.
Of course, I need to capture those ideas and strategies before they stray from thought, so out comes the smartphone along with another sigh from my wife. But it comes down to an entrepreneur’s compromise of balancing the stress of vacation with the relaxation of work. (I think I stated that right.)
Dan Galbraith is the owner of Solutionist, a Greenburg, Penn. marketing consulting firm.