“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” – Buddha
“The most awesome stage”
Last year, Facebook's VP of Design thought the TNW Conference main stage was the best she'd ever been on.
For a busy startup founder, downtime is important to reflect on the things you have been working on. Everyone needs to stop, pause, relax and rejuvenate. The last thing you want is to burn out before your business takes off.
I actually can’t believe that some entrepreneurs preach working all day and slogging it out without a break. That would be being a slave to your business. Personally, the whole point of building a business is to have it run without you. If it can’t, then you are as good as self-employed.
So, let’s say you actually decide to take a break over the next week. Thoughts about your servers, customers, upgrades will slowly creep in. Worry is the enemy.
The key is to plan, prepare and switch off. This post will go through points to help SaaS founders plan better before they set off the grid and relax a bit on their much-needed getaway.
As an avid traveller, I used to get a bit anxious about my business. However, over time I have trained my mind to let go of work and instead enjoy a stress free vacation.
“I’ve had thousands of problems in my life, most of which never actually happened.” — Mark Twain
Spend the last week with each of your team members and plan out deliverables for when you return. I normally plan three to four important tasks for everyone with priorities highlighted.
I also discuss worst case scenarios so the core team knows what to do in case they need to handle a crisis. Make sure everyone is prepared so they don’t have to interrupt your time off should something go wrong.
Everyone handles support
Answering customer emails should be a team effort and should not be dependent on a single “support agent.” At Brightpod, everyone, especially developers, are looped into incoming emails from customers through Intercom. This way, customers are responded to in a timely manner each day and there is no single point of failure.
I have always hosted with Rackspace – I personally just love their level of support if something goes wrong. Paying a premium for support is worth not having to deal with the headaches when an emergency occurs.
Besides, I want my team to focus on building software and not worry about network and server issues. Managing servers is not our core business; building awesome software is.
We backup all data daily so in the event of a failure everything can be restored. This helps me sleep better at night and of course, enjoy my vacation. Backing up is so crucial, it’s amazing how some of us can manage to neglect this small but important task.
Are the bills paid?
A week before I am heading out, I do a quick check to make sure all our bills are paid (e.g. hosting, SaaS services etc.). I also make sure my credit cards are cleared for travel (domestic or international,) are not expiring while I am away and that they have sufficient balance for automatic business expenses.
I also keep a separate credit card only to be used for SaaS services. Again, good to have backup, always.
Schedule email checks
On a break, I will check my email twice: Once after breakfast and once in the evening.
You can’t be always worrying about something going down. That is just a lame way to live.
Say screw it
Being on a vacation is MY TIME that I have earned it. No one can take it away from me. Sometimes you just have to say “screw it” to everything that is nagging you and just enjoy the present moment.
Most importantly, trust your team to deliver while you are not present. This will be an amazing exercise in knowing whether your business can run without you.
Enjoy your next break and thanks for reading! Would love to hear your comments on how you prepare yourself and your business for a stress-free getaway.