Well, I made it back.
After 16 days spent in Europe I’ve returned to my home country, and my home-based business.
Surprisingly, it didn’t all go to hell in a hand basket while I was gone.
Though I shouldn’t say “surprisingly,” really, because I prepared my ass off.
I did have to check in occasionally when I had available Wi-Fi to access with my smart phone when there were questions or custom order requests that my assistant didn’t know the responses to, but she let me know when they were there so I wasn’t having to constantly check or stress that messages were being left in limbo on the days when I didn’t have internet access because. (I had given her some response templates to let these inquirers know that I would be getting back to them within the next few days, so no one ever felt like they weren’t being heard.)
In the past, when I went on vacation for longer than an extended weekend, I had to set my Etsy shops in vacation mode and/or deactivate the majority of my listings. This meant, of course, that sales stopped and inventory remained. Ultimately this not only temporarily endangers cash flow, but can also hurt your site’s SEO (because when the Google-bots come crawling, they won’t see your stuff!), it removes the possibility of any PR and partnership opportunities, and much more.
It’s funny how many of us go into business for ourselves because we want more freedom (to travel, to spend with loved ones, and so on), yet we feel even more chained to the work of our business than we do our day jobs.
(At least at the day job I get 2 weeks paid vacation!)
So it’s nice to conclude that it doesn’t have to be that way. I have to confess that I was really nervous about leaving my business (my baby) in the hands of someone else, even someone who I trust and have thoroughly trained. The only listings I deactivated while I was gone were my made-to-order pieces, which don’t take up a lot of the virtual space on my site anyway. Even that was being overly cautious, as I could have simply had my assistant message the purchasers of these listings in the event of any of them selling, to let them know that there would be a delay prior to the creation of their item, along with putting the information in the item descriptions. Refunds could easily have been made to customers who may have missed the warning and thought they could get their items within my usual time-frame.
Oh, and Europe? So fabulous. I can’t wait to go back and explore even more of the continent. Next time, with even more confidence that my business can keep on going while I’m away.