I'm rarely down for the count..but this past week I spent most of it sick in bed with the flu and bronchitis, barely able to do a thing, work with clients, run my business or keep up with anything at home.
Day one I thought it would be just one day and I'd be back in action. But day two came along and I knew I'd be out for the rest of the week.
It's never easy taking a day off, never mind a full week.
But this time was different. My business has more moving parts than ever before.
Plus, I was really, really sick.
But when you're sick and can't function, you have no choice but to stop the world around you to take care of yourself.
Unfortunately as a solopreneur that's not an easy task. Not only do you not have anyone to “cover” for you, but it's virtually impossible to shut off your overactive entrepreneurial brain.
So what do entrepreneurs do when they're sick?
How do they keep their businesses running, complete their tasks and keep their clients happy…all while trying to get well at the same time?
Here's how I kept things going…even when I felt like I wanted to crawl under a rock and cry 🙁
Lesson 1: Create Consistent Monthly Revenue and a Leveraged Marketing Plan
One of the greatest things I worked on in my business was to move away from hours for dollars work and into creating packages and programs that would allow me to work with clients for a longer term and in turn be able to create a consistent revenue stream.
Part of what I teach my students in my Client Converting Talks(TM) program is to be able to create offers that allow you to serve at the highest level possible, while also getting paid what you're worth.
As I sat in bed feeling completely miserable, I was ever so thankful that I wasn't having to worry about not having any money coming in for the week. Because I'd done the work already, I'd already created revenue that would be there even when I wasn't up to working.
I'm also all about leverage. Not only in how you set up your revenue but in how you do your marketing. Because I have a signature talk that allows me to attract clients any time I want, I also don't have to worry that taking a week off from marketing is going to hurt my business.
Lesson 2: Put on Your Out of Office Message
I don't know about you but I have a hard time breaking away from my email. I think it comes from all the years I spent working in customer service and account management.
As soon as I got my wits together I put on my out of office message letting everyone know I would need some time to reply to messages. Just the relief in knowing I had time to reply helped. I only wished I'd done it immediately.
Lesson 3: Email Your VA (and give them a Heads Up)
Fortunately I have a Virtual Assistant who helps me manage many of the tasks behind the scenes. If you don't have a VA, I've got to encourage you to get one. Especially for times like these.
So the moment I realized I couldn't do very much, I emailed her immediately to say I'd be needing extra support over the course of the week.
What I also wished I'd done was asked her to check all my emails and only let me know which ones needed my immediate attention.
Oh well, at least I know how to handle this better in the future.
Lesson 4: Work Off of a Project Management System
One thing I try to do is to stay as organized as possible. The best way I've found of doing it is to use a project management tool called Asana.
Here's how I use it:
- Projects: I set up projects so that I'm highly organized and know what needs to be done
- Email: I then email any emails that come into my email account, directly into Asana.
- Organize: Then once they're in Asana I organize them and determine due dates
- Assign: I then decide if it's a task I manage or if it goes to my VA.
- Communicate: Lastly, I then communicate directly with my VA within each task making it much easier to know what's going on
Having this system in place made it much easier to feel like everything was in control and no balls were dropped.
Lesson 5: Don't Push It (When You're Sick You're Sick)
This is and always has been the hardest thing for me. I'm not good at taking a sick day. This week I decided to do only the bare minimum and not do more than necessary.
I didn't send my newsletter out on time. I didn't finish all my projects and I didn't take on anything new like I'd hoped to.
Instead I honored my body and took time to rest. Things I've never done as well as I should.
So that's a wrap up of my week. The world didn't stop. Everyone understood I needed a little time off and now I'm about 89% back to normal.
Here’s What You Need to Do Next:
- Start working on a plan to create leveraged and consistent income. If you want to make sure you're still earning income even when you're sick, this is the way to do it. You can learn more about how to do it in my Client Converting Talks(TM) program.
- Create a leveraged marketing plan. Get your signature talk done asap so you have control over when you're getting your next clients. You can learn how to do that here. Put together a contingency plan in the event that you have to take a few sick days.
- Write out some instructions to be followed should you need someone to pick up what you're not able to do.
- Find an assistant who can manage the back end operations if you need to be out for more than two days.
- Use a simple project management system that helps you stay organized and allows you to prioritize your tasks so you can take care of only the most critical things.
Lastly, if you're sick…then you're sick. Take time to take care of yourself. As a solopreneur you've got to get yourself back to yourself. Don't play around with your health.
In the comments below I'd love to hear from you. How good are you about taking time off when you're sick? What are some things you do to make sure you can take off without feeling like your business will fall apart without you?
PS: Don't forget about my special birthday deal, through Tuesday, April 19th you can get my brand-new course, Client Converting Talks for an Early Bird deal (and save yourself $200 in the process!) Click here to learn more and register.