Take a Break: How Vacations Can Save Your Business
It's good to work hard -- it's not good to work hard without giving yourself a chance to rest.
If you're launching a start-up or scaling a business, you know how hard it is to keep going and growing. Putting one foot in front of the other might sound easy, but at the end of the day, you're constantly pushing against a wall, relying on a nearly-empty tank.
Pushing one's self as an entrepreneur means something different for everyone. There are so many industries with unique challenges. It's impossible for me to sum up the struggle that every single founder experience. For me, that struggle manifests itself in long workdays with very little sleep. The little sleep I do get is rarely restful. My entire mind and body is consumed with the need to move forward and outperform the competition.
So, when someone tells me to take a break, the very concept of stepping away from the grind is hard to stomach. But, there's one thing that trumps gut instinct: science.
Many scholars and entrepreneurs say that taking a break is the best thing you can do for your business. At some point, you will experience a diminishing return on investment. A break allows for your mind and soul to take a break, refocus and sharpen for the days ahead.
Making travel affordable for everyone
A real break takes you away from your comfort zone. You need to get away from the things that you associate with work. Fresh air, blue skies and the sound of waves crashing on the beach can make a world of difference.
Thankfully, the start-up world is doing a great deal to help minimize the cost of travel. Below are two key areas where the cost of taking a break is becoming significantly more affordable, thanks to start-up ingenuity:
- No more booking fees. Start-ups like Tripz are creating online platforms that eliminate booking fees. By allowing travelers to directly communicate and book their lodging with the property owners, the traditional middle-men are cut out of the equation.
- Remove the uncertainty of international travel. TravelPay allows travelers to pre-pay for their holidays through an installment plan. This is great for international travel, as exchange rates have a pesky habit of changing the total cost of travel. In an uncertain world, taking exchange rates out of the equation for big-ticket travel packages is a huge advantage.
As I worked harder and longer hours, I began to look at a travel budget as a necessity. Just as my 401(k) and benefits contributions were deducted from my paycheck, travel became a regular savings account I contributed to.
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I joked with my accountant that I was building a sanity fund. Working even harder and longer days, I was able to power through adversity by remembering that my hard work was helping to fund a trip in the coming months.
Anyone can say they want to take a trip, but when you sign on the dotted line and start making payments, there's something much more real and tangible at the end of the rainbow.
Broadening your horizons through travel
New experiences can provide a new, fresh perspective to the day's challenges.
For example, I recently travelled to Jamaica. Seeing how others lived under a corrupt regime gave me a sense of entrepreneurial purpose. Witnessing the hard-working street vendors and exuberantly friendly merchants reminded me that service with a smile is hard to resist. Even when times are tough, a smile is free.
Lying on the beach, I looked up at the sky and was emboldened by a new sense of gratitude for the fact that I won the genetic lottery. I live in a democratic, entrepreneurial society. It takes hard work, but success is always just a few more pushes away.
With the proper rest, those extra pushes don't seem so difficult.