PR and marketing agency owners often find it difficult to take time off. Others would like to take a 6-month or even year-long sabbatical but aren’t sure how to do it.
Gini Dietrich of Spin Sucks joins Chip Griffin of SAGA to discuss how to set yourself up for success so that you can take meaningful time away from your agency to recharge.
In this episode, you will learn 9 tips to help you prepare for taking the time off that you deserve — and that will help put you and your business in a better place for the future.
- Chip Griffin: “Some folks I work with struggle with taking an afternoon off because they’re afraid of what might happen.”
- Gini Dietrich: “Look at the cycles of the business. Every year I know that in August it seems like the whole world is off. There’s hardly any business, clients are not in the office.”
- Chip Griffin: “Start by taking a day off. My guess is you’re going to be surprised by how little you were actually needed that day.”
- Gini Dietrich: “People are pretty understanding. Just communicate it and be honest about it.”
The following is a computer-generated transcript. Please listen to the audio to confirm accuracy.
Chip Griffin: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the small… I don’t remember what show I’m doing. I thought I was doing the Agency Leadership Podcast.
Gini Dietrich: It doesn’t help with me sitting here.
Chip Griffin: I forgot to run the countdown timer. See, so some of you are probably picking this up literally in the middle of my sentence. And for that, I apologize because you know, the way when you go live with the different networks, they kind of are slow to, to get the recording started sometimes.
So it is what it is. It’s we’re rusty. We’ve been on a break here for the last few months, the Small Agency Talk Show – yes, that’s what this is – has not been live every Friday over the summer because we decided to take a little bit of a hiatus, but it’s after Labor Day here in the US. So it’s time to get restarted.
And I have back with me, Gini Dietrich of Spin Sucks. The co-host of the Agency Leadership Podcast, which is why I was confused at the beginning and started introducing this as the Agency Leadership Podcast. So in retrospect probably should have scheduled a different cohost for this episode so that I would be a little bit less confused.
Gini Dietrich: Or, you know, this just makes it more entertaining.
Chip Griffin: It, it could, it could, I mean, you know, whatever we need to do to keep the audience entertained before we jump into some actual substance, because we probably will do that here at some point.
Gini Dietrich: Eventually I would imagine. Yes.
Chip Griffin: So Gini, did you have a good summer?
Gini Dietrich: I did have a good summer. Did you?
Chip Griffin: I mean, it’s, it’s fine. It’s, you know, I know it’s actually kind of disappointing in the summertime for me, because we don’t have any school sports and I do sports photography. So, you know, I, I sit around at night saying, what should I do? What should I do?
Gini Dietrich: But you did start portraits.
Chip Griffin: I, I did start doing portraits too. Yes. Yeah. So that, that helped fill up some of the days.
Gini Dietrich: That helps fill up some of the time.
Chip Griffin: It does.
Gini Dietrich: And you’re very good at it. I hate to compliment you, but you are very good at it.
Chip Griffin: Well, we we’ll end that here shortly enough when we start getting into the substance of today’s episode. I’m sure. So.
Gini Dietrich: Yeah, I won’t – that’s the last compliment you get.
Chip Griffin: I just I’m I’m not used to, to doing a show with you without having voices in the background.
Gini Dietrich: Oh, I know. Or like appearances or, you know.
Chip Griffin: Yeah. Special appearances. Yep. It’s great. It’s amazing. Really haven’t seen the hamster in a while. Hamster’s still doing okay?
Gini Dietrich: You know, I actually, I actually thought about bringing the hamster today just in case, but you know, she’s fine. She’s over there. Mm-hmm she’s totally fine. I could go get her if you want.
Chip Griffin: No, I’m good. all right. So now that we’ve, you know, driven away all of our listeners, why don’t we actually think about some substance?
What, what should we talk about this week, Gini?
Gini Dietrich: You know, in the Spin Sucks community, somebody asked if, anybody had taken a sabbatical from their agency and not just like two weeks off or a month off, they were thinking about six months off. And I think his reasoning was he’s not super passionate about the work anymore, and he’s not super passionate about growing the agency anymore.
So he wanted to take a significant amount of time off of the, from the agency work to really figure out if it’s something that he wants to continue doing, reignite his passion, or move on to, you know, try to sell the business and move on to something else. And through that, there was, there was a good discussion, but I don’t think there was any kind of conclusion on how to do that. And Jill Manti commented ask Chip Griffin and I was like, well, that’s a great subject. So there you go.
Chip Griffin: Yes. And that’s very much, I think Jill’s suggestion is very much in the do as I say, not as I do, because I can’t even recall last time. I…
Gini Dietrich: The last time you took a day off?
Chip Griffin: A day off from any of my businesses, but it’s, it’s purely by choice.
And so, you know, obviously a lot of people are, are not wired that way, and there’s nothing wrong with that. And I frankly don’t think there’s anything wrong with being as crazy as I am either, but Hey, We’ll see. So I, I look, I, I think a lot of agency owners struggle with the idea of taking just that single day off.
Some folks I work with struggle with taking an afternoon off because they’re afraid what might happen. Right. And it’s, it’s a combination of fear of missing out. And, lack of confidence in the ability of the trains to run on time, if they’re not there to keep an eye on it. Yep.
So I think thinking about how you can take a day, a week, a month, six months, a year off is something that agency owners should be thinking about, and you should be setting yourself up for that because frankly, we all do need to take that time off and I joke about it, but I do take time off from time to time.
I may not take an entirety of a day, and I think that’s part of, you know, what goes into this calculation of figuring out how you take time away from your agency. Look, if it’s a small agency, you can’t really do a traditional completely gone away sabbatical for six months or a year. Right? You just can’t.
I mean, because there are certain, there are some documents you may have to sign, right? Because you may be the only authorized signer for certain legal documents. So you’re going to have to be doing something, but it can be a very little something. And so structuring your business and structuring the way that you run that business so that you can take a day, a week, a month or more off is very manageable and something you should be doing.
Because it’ll make the days that you are working better too.
Gini Dietrich: I would say also look at the cycles of the business. So every year I know that August is like the whole, it seems like the whole world is off. There’s hardly any business, clients are not in the office. We don’t get any emails. Like there’s nothing going on in the whole month of August.
And then Labor Day hits so that, you know, the stuff hits the fan literally the day after Labor Day, but look at the cycles in your business to figure that out too. So it’s, it’s pretty easy for me and I didn’t take all of August off, but I took some time in August off and didn’t really miss anything because nothing was going on.
So look at the cycles in your business to figure out, is it February? Is it the summer months? Is it, you know, whatever it happens to be, because that will help you kind of determine when the best time to take time off is as well.
Chip Griffin: Yeah. And, and I would say frankly, start by taking a day off, just pick a random day. A random day.
I mean, obviously one where you don’t already know that you have a client event or, or something, right? Yeah. Like that, but just please just, just circle a day on your calendar and say I’m not coming in this day. And see what happens. And my guess is you’re gonna be surprised by how little you were actually needed that day.
Gini Dietrich: It’s actually gonna be okay.
Chip Griffin: It’s gonna be okay. Yep. And, and so, you know, take those baby steps. And so figure out how you can take that one day off in a way where you’re not checking your iPhone every 15 seconds. And see what happens and you’re probably going to be okay. And frankly, even if you’re not, even if something goes amiss, you’re not gonna destroy your business.
Right. There’s virtually nothing that you can do by taking a day off that will completely end your business as you know it. Right. Yeah. You might have to clean up for a day or two afterwards.
Gini Dietrich: Yeah, even if you took a month off, you can’t destroy your business.
Chip Griffin: You can come closer. Probably.
Gini Dietrich: I think a month is probably, I mean, six months for sure you could, but I don’t know.
Chip Griffin: A month, it depends on how deeply into the day to day client service you are.
Gini Dietrich: Fair. That’s fair.
Chip Griffin: If you are the person that is shouldering the burden of actually executing on a daily basis, then I think you could kill your business if you walked away for a month because clients are presumably paying you for that month of work. And if you do nothing and you don’t have an alternative in place, that’s gonna be a problem. Probably not gonna go over too well, but look, the, the reality is that that as an owner, whether you are a solo shop or you’ve got a 20 person or 200 person team, you need to be thinking about what systems are in place.
So when you are away, the vast majority of the work is getting done. It doesn’t mean that you have to, to allocate every single task that you do to get done in those periods of time. Because there are things that can slide for a day, a week or a month that you just don’t have to do. Sure. And, and so, so focus on the things that just can’t go undone, right?
If you, if you deliver a daily report to a client and you wanna take a day off, someone else has to be the one to deliver it. Yep. But you should have that person lined up anyway. You should have someone who can fill in for you. Most solos have other trusted solos they work with who can pick up the slack when they have to take time off for whatever reason, whether it’s planned or frankly unplanned.
Yep. And I think a lot of people have realized over the last few years that there are times when you may need to take some unplanned time off. Yep. And it seems like in the last, you know, three or four months, everybody I know has gotten COVID who didn’t get it before. Right. They, a lot of them have, have gotten it pretty bad and have had to take time off. Yeah. And, and so you need to be thinking about if that happens, how do I get things done. And again, just the, the, the core things, the stuff that can’t wait a week. And we, we oftentimes believe that our clients will freak out if we don’t get right back to them that same day or the next day, or whatever, as long as we’re communicating with them, we have a lot more leeway, particularly if it’s an unplanned one for, you know, bereavement or illness or something like that. Right. The vast majority of clients are understanding of those things. And if they’re not, that’s probably something you need to address. Yeah. Yeah. Separately and, and figure out a better class of client to have.
Gini Dietrich: When I got COVID I was so sick that I was lying on the kitchen floor because I couldn’t move. And I was like, texting clients going, I am going to die and it’s true. Everybody understands. I really thought I was gonna die.
Chip Griffin: That was a very dramatic reenactment. And of course, since a lot of people are listening to this and not seeing your dramatic reenactment, you cannot see, but Gini actually laid back completely out of camera shot.
Mind you because we’re doing a side by side shot, so she completely goes out of frame. But okay.
Gini Dietrich: But I was lying on the floor with my phone about me texting clients to say, I have COVID and I think I’m going to die. And they were – everybody’s understanding because you’re right. I think pretty much 90% of us have had, I don’t think you’ve had it, but I think 90% of, of this world has had it by now.
And you know, it ranges between being really sick and not having any, any symptoms at all, but people are pretty understanding. So just you’re right. Just communicate it and be honest about it. Yeah. I, you know, it took me several days to get back to work after that.
Chip Griffin: Right. And, and the things that allow you to take time off, because I’ve worked with agency owners who have been afraid to take time off and, and I’ve worked with them to take as much as six months of a sabbatical off, you need to make sure you have the processes in place before you take time off so that people know how things are gonna get done.
How are decisions going to be made? You know, if there’s something that would normally come to you, who’s gonna handle that in your stead. Are there things, or not are there things, what are the things that are worth interrupting your time off for, because you, you should, I mean, as a business owner, you still have to, to make yourself to some degree oncall for absolute dire emergency type of things. Right?
Gini Dietrich: Of course. Yes.
Chip Griffin: Because you don’t wanna be in a situation where you’ve delegated to somebody to handle all client issues and a client wants to cancel and, and they just say, okay, sure, fine. And they don’t bother to tell you. Okay. No problem. And you come back a week later and find out that you no longer have a client because the person you delegated to was like, okay, sure.
Whereas you would’ve had the opportunity to, to discuss with them perhaps a different path forward. Maybe it’s successful. Maybe it’s not, but it should be clear what that threshold is for interrupting your time off your sabbatical, whatever it is. And, and if you do that, and if you are really clear about what those conditions are and, and really be thoughtful about it and minimize it, make sure that you’re clear with yourself that really you are the only person who can deal with it.
Because we do have this… I don’t know whether it’s a feeling of self importance or a lack of confidence in our team or whatever. We often believe that things have to come to us, but when you sit down and you start making that list, go through the list a second time and start crossing things off that, that don’t really need to come to you when you’re away.
Gini Dietrich: Yeah. I mean, we’ve talked about this before and I like to do this in my business anyway, but I have three lists. One is things only I can do. One is things I like to do, but probably shouldn’t do. And the third list are things that I do that I definitely should not do. And I keep that list updated as I’m doing work.
I look at it and go, oh, shoot. I really shouldn’t. Even though I really enjoy optimizing webpages, probably shouldn’t be doing that. So I have to get that delegated right? If you keep those lists updated and, and continually look at the, the kinds of work that you’re doing, it will allow you eventually to say, okay, this list, these are the things that only I can do.
And when I take time off it’s, if it’s a week, if it’s a month, if it’s six months, whatever happens to be. Only I can do these things. And then you present that to your team and say, okay, these are the, in these instances, this is when you should contact me.
Chip Griffin: Right. And, I would say to you don’t have it so that anyone on your team can contact you.
There should be one person, one person who is the gatekeeper. Yes. And I would suggest that you set up a secret email address that only that person has. Smart. That’s the one that you check. Put a standard out of office on your normal email, have it reference that other person or other people, if you wanna say, okay, for these things talk to so and so, for other things talk to so and so fine. But one person should be the gatekeeper.
One person should be the one who can decide whether they actually come to you. Because unfortunately, if, if you say you can always reach me in an emergency and you say it to your entire team, you’ve now got a whole bunch of different standards because everybody thinks an emergency is something different.
And you wanna have that one trusted person who can be that gatekeeper. And frankly, if you can’t designate that person, that means you probably haven’t organized your team particularly well anyway, because at a minimum you need a first among equals on the team. So that, I mean, let’s just say you’re on an airplane going somewhere.
Somebody should be able to make a quick decision to approve something or how do you handle something? Because. I mean, we all have periods where we’re unavailable for at least a few hours. And if there is something critical, there should be someone else on your team who can handle. In that even if it’s just to put it into a holding pattern.
Gini Dietrich: Yep. Okay. So let’s go back to the, the question in Spin Sucks. So he wants to take six months off. He wants to figure out if he’s still passionate about his business or if not and what he wants to do, what, so what the conditions are, what, when he can be reached in an emergency, what are some of the other process oriented things that he should have in place to be able to take that time off?
Chip Griffin: Yeah, so I think you need to, first of all, define what time off means to. Right, because for me, time off means I’m not working any more than an hour a day. Okay. That’s probably not everybody’s definition, but for me, I’m happy to spend an hour on email in the morning, usually before my family gets up or something like that.
And, and I can go through it. And frankly, it makes me feel better to have been able to go through it and just kind of make sure that I didn’t sniff out something that maybe needed addressing. Okay. Because for me, it allows me to relax more knowing that there’s not something festering. Now that may not be you, you may not be able to, to go in and, and turn it off right after an hour.
Or you may not even wanna do that. You may wanna just stop thinking about work altogether. And so that’s fine. So define what time off means to you. My suggestion, as I said, would be to have that one person who is your gatekeeper. My advice would be to have a regular call scheduled with that gatekeeper. So that little things can just be handled that way.
So that instead of, you know, wondering is your secret email address gonna get used for something. Hopefully, most of it can be done by having either, you know, a weekly or biweekly 30 minute check in where it’s just, Hey, anything going on, I need to know about. And it also gives that person, frankly, a little bit more confidence to know that they can bounce something off of you.
Yep. If they have to. And I think that becomes more important the longer it is. If you’re taking a week off, that shouldn’t be necessary. Right. Right. But, but if you’re, if you’re taking, you know, a month or six months or a year off having some sort of regular cadence with which you talk to that person who is the gatekeeper, I think would be helpful for both sides.
And frankly makes it a lot easier on that person because you have to keep in mind if you’re running a small agency, you probably don’t have a true number two. You probably don’t have someone who really is generally inclined to be running the business themselves. And so you need to think about how do you support that person.
And you also have to think about, you know, for your outside advisors that you’re using. Are they gonna interact with that person, particularly if you’re taking six months off, you know, if you have a contract question. Does that come to you? Does that go directly to your company lawyer? How are you handling those things?
And so think through those kinds of issues, because there may be some people that you have working for you that would feel perfectly comfortable dealing with a lawyer or accountant on something that needs to be done. My guess is probably not. My guess is if you’re running a true small agency, that the chances are that they’re not gonna be comfortable with that.
And so that’s something that’s gonna have to be reserved to you. And so you need to figure out how you structure your time so that you don’t spend a lot of time on it, but you still get done what needs to be done.
Gini Dietrich: Okay. So defining your, your definition of time off, which is good, determine your gatekeeper and then determine the conditions in which the gatekeeper will work versus what needs to come to you.
Chip Griffin: Yeah. And, and you have to live by your own rules too here. Right? Right. Because one of the, the big problems that we have is that, you know, we just, oh, we just wanna know how this is going. And so we just, you know, even though we’ve got a gatekeeper, we drop an email to someone, you know, further down the line, just say, Hey, how’s this going with, you know, client X.
And so now, you know, we’ve, we’ve started sucking ourselves back in. So, so if you set, these are the guidelines and this is what I’m doing and what I’m not doing, don’t violate them yourself, because that’s where the slippery slope really starts. You have to be true to yourself and, and keep those conditions in place so that you are not causing the problems.
Gini Dietrich: And do you think that this can work if you’re a solo entrepreneur and you have some trusted colleagues that can help you during that time?
Chip Griffin: So I, I mean, I would say if you’re a true solo, who’s more of a freelancer, I think it’s a lot harder. Sure. Can you still do it? Yes. Could you do it for six months?
Yeah, I think that would be hard. Yeah. I, I mean, I just, you know, honestly think that if you’ve, if you don’t have any kind of a support structure in place within your business, it’s going to be a lot more challenging. Unless most of the work that you do is already in partnership with other solos.
Right. So, maybe, maybe you’ve got sort of what functions a little bit like an agency, even though you’re all technically independent, right? I’ve seen that amongst a number of solos, that I’ve known over the years. But if you’re, if you are truly a solo verging on freelancer, it’s gonna be hard. But if you’ve got contractors that do work for you.
Yeah. I mean, I think that’s, that’s a lot more achievable. Yep. You know, it certainly does add a layer of complexity over versus an agency that has full-time employees and that sort of thing.
Gini Dietrich: Sure. Okay. So let’s say you have five employees. And you have your gatekeeper and how do, how are you? So I will say that one of the, the issues that I have is massive guilt.
So, you know, saying to my team, okay, well, I’m gonna take X amount of time off. I still expect a paycheck and you know, you don’t get six months off, but I do and I still get to be paid. Right. Right. So how do you handle, like, even just the conversation with the team so that they are willing and excited to step up while you’re out. And not be disgruntled by it.
Chip Griffin: Right. I mean, look, I mean, I’ll be honest with you. It’s a challenge. And, early in my career, I was on the end of seeing owners do things that I thought were like, wow, that’s great. Must be nice to be able to do that. Right. So, I mean, is, is it a challenge?
Yeah, absolutely. I think that the way that you address it as best you can is by communicating openly. And particularly if you’re gonna take a longer period of time off, you need to be honest about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, what you hope to accomplish from it and why it is overall good for the business.
Because I think when you start taking longer periods of time off, I think you run the risk of employees thinking, Hey, this, you know, my owner is checked out. They don’t really care about the business. Right. You know, are, are we in a good place? Right. What’s going on? And so in the absence of information, people will make assumptions.
And so you need to make sure that you’re not creating that vacuum by not being open and honest with the team. I’ll also say the longer the time is that you’re gonna take off the more planning and communicating that you need to do. If you’re gonna take a week off, you don’t need to do a whole lot and say, Hey, see you in a week. Yeah. Even a month for the most part, I think you can get away with. I think once you start looking north of a month, that’s where you really need to have a much more frank conversation. You really need to have a clear plan in place for how you’re gonna communicate with your team. When you’re gonna communicate this to your team, you don’t want to just announce, Hey, I’ll see you in six months.
Right. They need to know this is coming. Here’s what we’re doing to manage it. You also need to think about when you’re gonna notify clients. Right. If you’re, and obviously, if you are not involved in day to day client work, it becomes much easier. The more deeply involved in client work, you are, the more you have to prepare for this transition, even if it’s only temporary so that they know what to expect, and your team knows how they’re gonna work through the issues with the client as well.
And so I think that’s the trickiest. Like if you are, if you’re a small agency owner, whether you’ve got one employee, five, 10, And you’re deeply involved in client service work, that’s where the most planning has to be done. And it’s where it becomes much more difficult for you to do it. If you haven’t got the right processes and planning in place.
Gini Dietrich: Yeah. I mean, we’ve talked about this before on the Agency Leadership Podcast, but one of my I’m a big, big, big believer in the owner getting out of the day to day work. You know, in some cases, like I said, I love to optimize webpages and I love to create content. And I love the whole process of promoting and generating inbound leads.
Like I love that. So it’s hard for me not to do the day to day work. But one of the most valuable lessons I have learned in, in growing my business is if I am doing the day to day work and not just to have time off, but to really think about how a client sees the agency and how the client sees the team.
And so putting your team in a position to be successful with the client without you, is something you should be doing regardless. Whether or not you’re planning to take time off, really put them in the position to be the experts for the client and, and be the ones that the clients come to consistly.
It’s hard and it’s a little bit of a blow to your ego sometimes, but it’s the best thing for the business overall, because it allows you the freedom to grow the business, focus on business development, take time off, whatever it happens to be.
Chip Griffin: You also need to be thinking about this in terms of the rest of your team, though, separate and apart from you taking time off. You need to think about, are there people on your team that you don’t have a backup plan for?
Fair. If something happens to them, because this is an area, particularly in a small agency, that’s a really great point.You could run into issues where you have, you have one person that you’re incredibly dependent upon for an individual client or a particular kind of task. I mean, you know, let’s say that that you’re a web design firm and you’ve got a single graphic designer.
If you don’t have anybody else that you can turn to, if something happens to that individual, that’s a material risk to your business. You need to figure out well in advance, how you’re gonna handle that. So you need to look through every single team member and say, what’s the backstop. If, if suddenly this person called up and said, I can’t come in for the next two weeks, because you know, I’ve got some illness or whatever, what do you do?
Who do you turn to? Right. And you should have a backup plan for everybody. Ideally, it’s someone in house, but if it’s not, it should be a contractor that you know, that you can call up. Or maybe it’s one of three contractors that you’ve built up relationships with over time. So hopefully at least one of them is available.
You need to think these things through, regardless of whether it’s you or someone else on your team, because these are all big problems for you if you’re not thinking about them. Because they do, they happen from time to time. Someone just up and announces they quit. Okay. Great. Now what do I do? If you’ve thought about that in advance you can start operating from a position of strength in figuring out how to replace them as opposed to panic. Yep. And anytime you panic, you make bad decisions and you make bad hires and you spend money you shouldn’t. Don’t do it.
Gini Dietrich: Yes, you do.
You know, I had a business coach early, early on who would say, always keep the pipeline full of candidates.
And I remember at the time thinking that was really strange because if you keep the pipeline full, you have to sort of string them along. And throughout my, throughout the business life cycle of my career, I’ve discovered that it’s less about stringing them along and more about having opportunities to find work together.
So in some cases it may be a contractor or some cases it may be somebody that I really would love to hire. We don’t have the position for them right now. So maybe there’s some project work we can do together that they can moonlight on, you know, while they’re still working. So there are lots of opportunities for you to keep the pipeline full of candidates so that when, and it will happen, when that happens, something like that happens, you have it’s, it’s an easy way for you to get that backstop going pretty fast.
Chip Griffin: Yeah. Look, it’s not stringing people along as long as you’re honest with them. If you say, Hey look, you know, I really like the, the work we’ve done together or whatever, or like the work that I’ve seen you do. I’d love to try to find a way for us to work together in the future.
Let’s keep talking about what opportunities there might be. Right? So it’s not stringing them along if you’re just being honest. I don’t have this opening. I don’t have something specific right now, but I’d love to find one in the future. It, it is also why I encourage people to build relationships with contractors.
Because contractors are the easiest way to backfill. So easy, easy in an emergency. Yep. And so I always encourage you, if you can, you know, farm out little pieces of work to a variety of different contractors for all of the key things that you do so that you’ve got these relationships and you’ve worked with them before.
So, you know, can they actually fit the bill for you? Yep. And also they feel a little bit more loyal to you because you’ve sent them money previously. So in that example, I was using with the graphic designer, have two or three outside graphic designers that you just throw small projects to from time to time, even when you maybe don’t really need to outsource it, just to keep that relationship going so that you have options in the future.
And for you, if you’re thinking about taking time off, think about those core things, what are the things that you do for the business that right now, nobody else does. Those are the things to start building relationships with fastest. Start getting some contractors who can take little stuff off of your plate. If you’re the primary writer for your agency, start building relationships with other writers, so that if you want to take time off, you know who can take the lead on some of those things.
And so think about what’s the expertise from a client service standpoint that you bring that nobody else does. And backfill those as quickly as possible.
Gini Dietrich: Yeah. And you mentioned, you know, trusted advisors as well. Are there things that your attorney can take on? Are there extra things that your accountant can take on?
Are there, have you outsourced your HR? Are there extra things that they can take on? You know, those kinds of things. Think about, you know, we’re going through renewal process right now on insurance. So if, if your time off includes the renewal process, think about getting ahead of that so that you can make those decisions before the renewal process comes about because it’s during your time off.
So these are all the kinds of things you have to be thinking about. It’s, doesn’t have to be super stressful, but they are things you should be thinking about.
Chip Griffin: Yeah. And, and I think if, if you start planning at least one to two times the length of your departure before, right. So if I wanna take six months off, I should be thinking about that at least six to 12 months out.
Right. So, so that I can start doing the planning that needs to be in place. If I wanna take a month off, I should be planning that out at least two or three months out. Right. So if, if you give yourself that lead time, it allows you to figure out, you know, what adjustments do you wanna make? How do you wanna position things, you know, and, and, and think about how the rest of your business is impacted.
For example, Don’t launch a new line of business right before you go on a six month sabbatical. It sounds obvious, but sometimes you’re like, oh, I just need to get this done before I, before I leave. Well, do you really want to launch a new initiative, sign a brand new giant client, something like that right before you disappear.
Right? Think about it. I mean, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it, but, but if you’re going to do it, be really thoughtful about how you’re going to handle that because. Any big change to the business that takes place right before your departure as the owner for an extended time off… that can be a problem. And, and so think about it and plan for it if you’re gonna do it.
Gini Dietrich: All right. I have nine things. Define your definition of time off, determine a gatekeeper and have a weekly check in with them. Determine your conditions, figure out what constitutes an emergency. Be open and honest about why you’re leaving. Notify clients and prepare for transition, have a backup plan for the backup.
Think about and plan ahead of time. And don’t launch anything new before you leave.
Chip Griffin: And, and we will not launch anything new before we leave today. This will be the way that we draw this episode of the Small Agency Talk Show to a close. Because it’s perfect. Right? Why start something new? But let’s talk about something old.
If someone wants to find Spin Sucks, where can they find you? And I mean, tell us about the Spin Sucks Community too.
Gini Dietrich: Really easy. Spinsucks.com. Everything’s there including the community.
Chip Griffin: And the community is a great place. We encourage you to join because frankly, it’s a great place for us to get topics for this show, the Agency Leadership Podcast.
Gini Dietrich: Thank you very much.
Chip Griffin: For blogs and articles. And, and if you do not join the Spin Sucks community, we will have to come up with our own ideas. You don’t wanna see that. Bad idea, bad idea. So with that, everybody have a good weekend. I’m gonna take a week off from this show, but I’m gonna be open and honest with you and tell you I’ll be back next Friday with another episode of the Small Agency Talk Show. So everybody have a great weekend. Thank you for joining us. Thank you for listening and thank you, Gini.
Gini Dietrich: Thank you, Chip. I’ll see you on Monday.
Chip Griffin: Bye, now.