I know what you’re thinking. You’re looking at the title, and you’re shaking your head in disbelief, and you’re thinking to yourself, “not.even.remotely.possible”, because;
Digital marketing agency.
It doesn’t seem possible, right?
And we hear you, believe me, we hear that doubt and raise you x1 “how-to”, because in all honesty? We didn’t actually think it’d be possible either, … and even when I was on.the.plane to.Bali, I still thought to myself, … there’s no way I’ll actually completely switch off.
But I did, and I want [no, need] to share with you all my journey from small business digital marketing agency start-up x3 years ago, to full two week digital detox.
Let’s start from the beginning, … the launch of TDP.
So much adrenalin. Ambition. Rose-coloured glasses. 2am finishes. 5am starts. Not even remotely tired, because we were all brand-new-parent-with-a-sleepy-newborn-yet-to-wake-up screaming, “oh wow, this is easy!”.
… then the baby wakes up, or in our case? The business takes off.
In our first year of business, I don’t think we legitimately worked less than 60+ hours per week, just bringing this dream to life.
Week in, week out, sheer adrenalin keeping it all feeling like this is completely do-able for the rest of our lives.
Enter year two.
The adrenalin dissipates, and it’s replaced with utter exhaustion.
If we weren’t workshop’ing in Melbourne, it was interstate, back to Melbourne, regional workshops, interstate, Melbourne.
… it goes without saying that our husbands were just as exhausted as we were holding the fort at home whilst we were barely home of a weekend, and psst? … Business buddy to business buddy? We’d be positively *lying* if we said year two of TDP was the most happily we’ve been married, ha!
Yes indeedy, … many a marital spat!
I [Cherie] had to have regular sit-down’s with the husbuendo, and just kept reiterating, “I hear you. I know. You’re exhausted. Me too. But this thing? It has potential, … and I really want this to work. And I can’t do this without you”.
Added to the exhaustion was the whole not-paying-ourselves thing [which is part-and-parcel in any business’ infancy stages, so it goes without saying that you’re not only exhausted, … but completely broke too, ha!
It wasn’t just a yearning / craving for a holiday from the business [our very first holiday from the business], but an overwhelming *need* to make this a priority.
It’s like we both crashed at the same time. Y’know, like the adrenalin wore off within us at exactly the same time. The 2am finishes of the first year? But a distant dream, because we’d be blinking away the tired’est of eyes at 10pm every night.
It was time for a holiday.
So, how did we do it?
Well, not the most strategically actually, i.e the cheapest airfares were post-school holidays, so we both took off to Noosa and Bali at the same time, i.e #notideal.
But we were so overdue for a holiday, … that we just kinda didn’t care.
So, here’s how we made it work;
- We set up an out-of-office-email-responder for all e-mails, … for 2 weeks, ha!
- We blocked out custom sessions from being able to be booked for 2 weeks
- We worked until 2am every night in the lead-up to our holiday to schedule / automate as much as we could, right down to twice daily posting on our socials
- We scheduled our client’s socials
- We outsourced our client’s social media engagement
- We got our beloved SM strategist Mel to hold the TDP fort while we were gone
- We asked our divine intern-now-social-media-co-ordinator Gemma to manage our social media engagement on Facebook and Instagram, and she did such an incredible job at nailing our voice? I actually wondered if I’d accidentally replied to people in my sleep?!
- We promised each other [both perfectionistic / work-a-holic / OCD control freaks] not to contact each other at all [work, or personally], because x3 years of business partnership calls for a wee break from it all, y’know? 😉
And then? We took off.
Cat to Noosa. Me to Bali.
As soon as I arrived in Bali, I put my phone onto flight mode, and disabled international roaming. Even if I felt tempted to check things out? … I couldn’t.
Guys? I can’t describe what happened, but I got to thoroughly enjoy the very best version of myself, and I haven’t enjoyed that version of myself in a really long time. It’s amazing. When you block it *all* out like that? You get back to being you, … really you.
By day 3, I wasn’t as stressed any more. And by the first week? I felt completely un-stressed [a first for me, in a really long time]. I lost the bad mood. I got my sense of humour back. I laughed at my husband’s jokes. We got drunk together. We ate good food. We “date night’d” regularly [courtesy of an amazing Nanny in Bali]. I didn’t bother with make-up. I let my skin have a rest. I embraced my curls. I let my freckles see the light of day. My head was quiet. I could see everything … so clearly.
No notifications. No noise. No bombardment. No “everybody needing me”. All the time. No crisis-solving. Just … quiet. Just my husband, and our children.
And that? Was … invaluable.
What we’ve learnt?
We need to not go x3 years before this happens again.
We both came back so zen, and really clear about our future. And sure, the zen didn’t last long [i.e roughly x3 days], but we know now that we can do this again. It’s not just us any more, because we have a [growing] team.
And just because you work in digital? Doesn’t mean you have to be permanently contact’able / working your business, 24/7, for the rest of your life.
It’s really ok to put a 2 week out-of-office on e-mails, and work through the pile when you get back.
People? They can wait. Your entrepreneurial health? It can’t.