Every female business owner confronts the issue at some point in her career: to vacation or not to vacation? The answer to the question lies not only in whether she has enough time and money to take a few days, or even a couple of weeks, away from her business, but also, in whether her mindset will allow her to do so. Because each entrepreneur has her own set of beliefs, habits and characteristics, each entrepreneur will make different considerations when thinking about vacationing.
A recent study reveals there are five distinct types of women in business. Based on professional market research of more than 2,500 women in business, this study shows that each type of business owner has a unique approach to running a business and therefore each one has a unique combination of needs. This article outlines three of the five types and provides tips for taking a break – and keeping business running smoothly meanwhile.
Jane Dough is an entrepreneur who enjoys running her business and generally, she makes a nice living. She is comfortable and determined in buying and selling, which may be why she’s five times more likely than the average female business owner to hit the million dollar mark. Jane Dough is clear in her priorities and may be intentionally and actively growing an asset-based or legacy business. It is estimated that 18% of women entrepreneurs fall in the category of Jane Dough.
Jane Dough is what many people would consider a “natural born entrepreneur.” She has a clear vision for her business, and is very successful by traditional standards. In fact, 15 percent of Jane Dough business owners own million-dollar-plus businesses, and 22 percent of the women in this group earn $100,000 per year or more. Members of this group report high levels of satisfaction with business ownership.
Jane Dough’s success and personal satisfaction are due to her ability to prioritize and to stay true to her boundaries. Therefore, she is very likely to make time to vacation – and to really be able to check out and relax. She may bring her laptop and check her e-mail from time to time, but her ability to stay true to her boundaries means she can step back from her business and take the time to truly enjoy herself.
One of Jane Dough’s challenges is that in her desire to achieve growth quickly, she may over-delegate authority. She may hand implementation entirely over to her team, trusting team members to plan and execute without significant input. Therefore, when it comes to vacationing, Jane Dough might provide team members with a to-do list and expect them to carry it through to completion before she returns. The speed with which this type of entrepreneur operates sometimes leaves team members in need of a little more clarity. So Jane Dough needs to be sure to slow down enough to provide detailed instructions and clear expectations before she turns off her phone. Then, once she’s gone, she needs to make herself available periodically so that her team members can get any answers they need.
Go Jane Go is passionate about her work and provides excellent service, so she has plenty of clients – so much so, she’s struggling to keep up with demand. At 14% of women in business, she may be a classic overachiever, taking on volunteer opportunities as well, because she’s eager to make an impact on the world and she often struggles to say no. Because she wants to say yes to so many people, she may even be in denial about how many hours she actually works during the course of a week. As a result, she may be running herself ragged and feeling guilty about neglecting herself and others who are important to her.
Despite the fact that Go Jane Go business owners take home the highest personal income of all the five entrepreneurial types, members of this group are the least likely to make time for themselves. In this case, vacationing often isn’t a function of finances; rather, it’s a function of the strict demands Go Jane Go makes on herself. Go Jane Go burns with a passion to help others, and she relishes knowing that she frequently accomplishes what few others could or would be willing to do. She utilizes her outstanding skills and abilities to tremendous advantage for others – but rarely takes the time to get clear on how she can leverage her gifts to create what she also wants. Go Jane Go often feels overwhelmed by the demands of others – and unappreciated as well. Still, because she fears that others won’t live up to her exacting standards, she has a tough time delegating work. For Go Jane Go, then, vacation may seem like a distant, impossible dream.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way – and it shouldn’t be that way. The first thing Go Jane Go business owners need to come to terms with is that when people feel more rested and happy, they possess more energy to meet their responsibilities. For Go Jane Go business owners, it is absolutely critical to define what, other than work, feeds them and gives them joy. If they don’t give time outside of work ample attention, they will crash and burn. One way to find time for self is to schedule it into the appointment book – literally – and to treat these appointments with the same dedication as the appointments dedicated to clients, friends, and the business. This is the only way to protect “self-time” for busy Go Jane Go entrepreneurs. Another option is to create “total unplug times,” during which the entrepreneur lets everyone know she is unavailable for an extended amount of time.
Go Jane Go entrepreneurs often report that they can’t get away because they have too many responsibilities. However, refusing to take time off means Go Jane Go and her family members suffer. Also, refusing to take time to recharge deprives the world of knowing Go Jane Go at her best because stress and exhaustion prevent her from performing well. If a real vacation isn’t possible now, she can at least schedule it six months from now, look forward to it, and then enjoy it.
Here are some examples of positive ways to think about vacationing:
• “My customers will respect me even more because my ability to leave the business with a capable team demonstrates to them that I have built a strong organization.”
• “This is a wonderful opportunity for my team to grow. I’ve trained them well and they are prepared to handle nearly every contingency.”
• “I have planned this vacation well in advance and I will make sure I take care of my customers’ needs before I go.”
• “I’ll come back rested and ready to perform at my absolute best. Everyone will benefit.”
Go Jane Go business owners will have more energy, and will see their work flow more effortlessly if they put their personal priorities on their calendar and make them happen.
Tenacity Jane is an entrepreneur with an undeniable passion for her business, and one who tends to be struggling with cash flow. As a result, she’s working longer hours, and making less money than she’d like. Nevertheless, Tenacity Jane is bound and determined to make her business a success. At 31% of women in business, Tenacity Janes make up the largest group of female entrepreneurs.
Of all five types of business owners, Tenacity Jane is the one whose ability to vacation is a function of her finances. About 44 percent of Tenacity Jane business owners cleared less than $10,000 annually, and nine out of 10 reported dissatisfaction with cash flow and unhappiness with revenue, business costs or personal income drawn through the company. It’s no wonder then, that Tenacity Jane business owners often report feeling frustrated or stressed. Here’s the good news: Tenacity Jane is the most common type of business owner, and nearly all of the financially successful women Jane Out of the Box interviewed reported having gone through a Tenacity Jane phase and using lessons learned during that phase to find financial profitability.
In examining her habits, Tenacity Jane may discover that in her determination to create success for herself and her business, she is working all the time, and is constantly available to team members and clients. This will likely wear her down. To avoid burnout, t is critical to block at least one day per week to be work-free. Although it is less likely that a Tenacity Jane business owner will have the money to take a long, faraway vacation to a tropical paradise, it is still essential that she find time for herself. She may consider taking a monthly or bi-monthly mini-vacation, even if it is a one-night stay at a local resort where she can lay by the pool, eat dinner out and then sleep late the next day. Or she may simply schedule weekly hikes or window-shopping trips. The activity itself doesn’t matter as much as the fact that this often-overwhelmed business owner takes a day (or longer, if possible) to recharge so she can work smarter when she returns to the grind. Also, since many Tenacity Jane business owners are less experienced, new knowledge can jumpstart profitability. Tenacity Jane may consider combining a workshop or retreat with a little time away. For example, she could attend a conference during the day, and relax in her hotel room at night, reading a good book, enjoying her favorite movie, or talking to a friend on the phone.
Despite the differences in business owners’ styles, habits and characteristics, all business owners share one thing in common: the need to recharge. Getting away from the business and spending time doing something revitalizing (whatever that might be) is an excellent – and essential – component of finding the right balance and personal satisfaction.