Hi everybody. I have a great appreciation for wedding vendors and know first hand that the wedding business is a full time job.
Do you all take calls days/evenings/weekends at anytime? Do you ever just shut down for one day a week to re-group or do you find your business is seasonal so you can rest over the slower months?
I make myself easily accessible, but I am NOT available to my business 24/7. Tried that. Ended up with a $34,000 hospital ER bill because I thought I'd had a stroke. I couldn't choose my words correctly. Sometimes I couldn't speak at all. I dropped things. I fell. My diagnosis: I was really really tired. And then it occurred to me that I tell my couples to make time for each other - to make their partners and their children important. And I was making everybody 's partners and children important - but my own. No more. I give undivided time to my husband. I have frequent contact with my children and other family members. I see my friends regularly. I don't want to cheat them out of their time with me by taking a call or returning an email to a client unless it is truly an emergency. As service professionals, especially those of us who work from home, we have to have boundaries. We have to take time to rest and recover. You can choose what that means to you. Everybody is different. I can work for about 10 days. Then I need a day or two to focus differently. After that day or two, I have the renewed energy it takes to go above and beyond for my couples during the time I devote them. Take care of yourselves. Nobody will do this for you. Take care of the ones you love - your duty lies with them. They count on you. I say give every couple your best. But don't give them every last drop.
I try to have day of work as I like to have a family and personal life.
So i don't take call or don't answer mails on Sunday, we generally have weddings on Saturday.
Anyway if i have a client who really need help and following i'll take the time to answer him on those days.
From Monday to Friday i'm at my office available from 10am to 8pm.
I also think is really necessary to set a shuddle, if not you can be really upset because you've not time off and free.
I work with my dad-in-law - he answers his phone 24-7-365, much to the great frustration and annoyance of his wife, family and many of the people we work with regularly (he could be helping someone do something and let them stand there holding on, while he takes a call).
I'm trying to learn from that - I have my blackberry with me at all times, but will turn on 'phone calls only' setting at night. I forward our office phone to my cell phone when we are not in the office, to not miss any calls, but subscribe to call display - and I screen calls during supper and into the evening. Because I have my BB with me, I explain to clients and vendor-partners that the best way to reach me is via email, so that if my hands are full or I'm in the middle of a project detail, I'm not short-changing that, and I reply as soon as I'm able, even if just to explain that I'm in the middle of something and will send a detailed reply soon. (yes, there are exceptions).
To answer the question above, we take calls anytime. Vacation happens when it can be fit between events, but still have cell with us, just don't always reply immediately to most messages or calls. Shutting down completely even for a day hasn't been possible, something always comes up.
It's a difficult thing to balance, work vs non-work time, especially when it's a family business - my in-laws have grown accustomed to the way the head of house works (he's been doing this work for 53 years now), and understand my time commitments - work pays the bills and must come first. However, I do think everything in moderation, we pride ourselves on going above and beyond for all of our clients but I still need time to de-stress and recover, so able to provide that same level of service for the next client. And still have time for me, myself and my family.