SEO Cash Flow Vacation
[00:00:00] Olga: Hi everyone. Welcome to SS e o Cashflow. This is another episode with me and Miriam. Miriam, how are you doing?
[00:00:09] Myriam: Very good. Not too hot, not too cold. Just fine,
[00:00:14] Olga: but it's very hot here, so yeah, it's definitely too hot here. So do you understand
[00:00:19] Myriam: why I'm saying I'm doing very good for you now? Yeah, no air conditioning and it works.
[00:00:24] Myriam: Everyone else is on fire, but nope.
[00:00:27] Olga: It's vacation after. All right? So it has to be hot. You, you
[00:00:32] Myriam: would expect it to be, but the thing about vacation is that you always wait for vacation. You can't wait for it. And then, and then you forget about it. Like you're on vacation, you're like, I can't relax. So I would say that um, this summer I've taken the time to really do take some days off for real and enjoy myself and.
[00:00:55] Myriam: And I'm happy because during those days it hasn't rained and it hasn't been too hot. I think the heavens have looked upon me.
[00:01:02] Olga: Yeah. What about you? That's awesome. So vacation is actually our topic today, so I'll be happy to explore that in more detail when it comes to me. I haven't really had a lot of days off as of this year except for January, but it, I don't think it counts.
[00:01:22] Olga: I'm planning on taking a few after my done surgery, so I will have to take a few days off. But before that I was thinking, I was thinking a lot and hard. How do I approach vacation time off or getting ill, which is basically the same for us, whether we cannot work because of like health matters or because of our personal choice.
[00:01:48] Olga: How do we approach that as s e o consultants? Should we get paid for those vacation of days or should we, what can we do?
[00:01:58] Myriam: I, I like your, the way you're thinking about it. I had a different approach in the sense that I always took for granted that since I am a freelancer, like I'm a consultant, I may have my, even if you own your own agency, you're in this situation where, Who pays for your vacation?
[00:02:14] Myriam: Who pays for your days off? And these are questions that I haven't even thought about Olga, because for me there's, I'm like two steps behind you. Um, I have two tragedies in my life. Number one is yes when you first get started, like the first three to five years, and I don't care what anybody else says those first three to five years, um, Taking time off even when you're sick is so incredibly hard.
[00:02:42] Myriam: It's not even about the money. You're like, can I even afford to? It's a whole nightmare to cancel my meetings and explain to clients that I'm actually a human and I get sick. But if you don't take that vacation, you may end up burned out, which happened to me multiple times. Or, and or as soon as you go on vacation, your body gets sick as.
[00:03:05] Myriam: All hell. And you're like, but that was the moment I was supposed to enjoy myself and rest and like restore. Why are you sick body? And it's kinda like, well, it's the only time you give it to genuinely rest and break down, so of course that's gonna happen. So these are things that nobody really understands and even if people explain it to you while you're doing it, while you're living the consultant life.
[00:03:30] Myriam: You can't stop yourself. So how long did it take for you to realize, Hmm, I have to talk to myself, I have to talk to my boss about vacation time?
[00:03:40] Olga: I think it took me about a year or so. I've been like so good. I've been working very, very hard for like, the past, I would say two years and last year I felt that I have had enough, so that's why I quit my other jobs.
[00:03:57] Olga: I, I decided to focus on being an an ss e o consultant only, but now, when I'm independent I'm struggling a little bit because I cannot stop working, even though I thought I would now, I would be my own boss, so it would be very easy for me to work like six hours, five hours a day, but I just can't stop one because I love this very much, and two, because there is, this is like this initial phase of being on my own and I don't want to mess this up.
[00:04:30] Olga: So I'm struggling and you are my mentor. Can you,
[00:04:34] Myriam: do you have moments where you can't stop yourself from looking at your inbox? You didn't, you don't even notice that you're in your inbox. You're like, wait, how did I end up reading emails? Yeah. Yeah.
[00:04:45] Olga: It happens to me. Yeah.
[00:04:46] Myriam: Yeah. And, and it's, it's this thing where when you love what you do and you're your own boss, it becomes a compulsion.
[00:04:53] Myriam: You, you are either obsessed with doing the work or like not letting people down. And the thing is, your clients don't think about vacation the same way you do. I have clients that, um, when you work with agencies, for example, that's, I'm, I'm using agencies, but it's not just agencies. It's an example. I would get these emails at like Friday, four o'clock in the afternoon going, I need this done for Monday, or I need this done for end of next week.
[00:05:25] Myriam: But it's like this thing that would take three months to do. Because the person's like, well, I'm gonna be off, so like when I come back, this needs to be done or I'm gonna be off. So you're gonna hand this off to my colleague. What they did is like, take their work and dump it on you. And one of the things that I've done is.
[00:05:45] Myriam: Refuse any meetings and or communications on Fridays. So that has literally cut off a few things. 'cause even if people send them to me, I'm like, thank you. I just looked at this on Monday that I have. You found another solution because the deadline has passed. Yeah. So this is something that you can use, but it's not, it's not the only thing I know in Canada, for example, some companies have summer, um, hours.
[00:06:09] Myriam: So some people will try summer hours and say, Hey, this is summer, I'm not available. Or, Hey, I'm actually working on a big client project. I'm not, not available these days, or I'm trying this thing with my inbox. So we are all suffering from this. We're all trying to mitigate it. And Olga, everything I have described to you still not a vacation.
[00:06:31] Myriam: Yeah. So. What's your take on it?
[00:06:34] Olga: So I have come up with a short list of what we can potentially try to do. The first most obvious thing is transparent communication, saying to your client that those months, you will be unavailable and you will, for example, do the work in advance or you will make up for it after you come back.
[00:06:56] Olga: So this is one solution where you don't lose money, assuming that you don't want to lose money. Another thing is you can, you can for example structure your retainer around the. Work done instead of hours. If it is work done, then again, you can do this before or after. You can be off for, for a few days.
[00:07:19] Olga: Do you, what do you think about those two? I have three more to go. I was just
[00:07:23] Myriam: gonna say something. Um, you need a c y a so everyone thinks that putting a little line in your email signature saying you're off. Is the big announcement. Nobody reads that stuff. This is a cover your ass, c y a.
[00:07:38] Myriam: So when people start complaining to you, like, I didn't know you were on vacation because you told them four times and they forgot you go, but it's been in my signature for four weeks. So that's one way, but. I think of it differently. So I like the way you're considering that it doesn't disrupt the flow.
[00:07:57] Myriam: What I will usually do is tell people, for example, I know you're gonna want me in in like November and December for the last minute, black Friday, Christmas, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Sales, I'm sorry, I'm not available. So you need to plan either ahead with me. But that's when you know you're gonna be off.
[00:08:15] Myriam: Mm-hmm. When you don't know, I think that the advice you give is really important because it shows that you're proactive. So what about the other three tips?
[00:08:26] Olga: So when you don't know, because probably, you never know when you get ill. You may have a, a trusted partner who will take over if for some reason you cannot do this, I think you'll, this is, this is probably.
[00:08:39] Olga: That your safest. But if you know that, okay, I am, I'm ill, and now my husband will take over. It's safe for assuming that he can. Yeah.
[00:08:48] Myriam: It's safe for you. Let me explain why. So you need two big things for this to happen. Number one, the person has to be, if not the same level of expertise, expert enough to actually take over course, which is not always the case.
[00:09:01] Myriam: Like it, let's say hypothetically that we are talking about E E A T stuff. Don't come to my work partner for this. It ain't happening. Like if you need some, yeah. BigQuery stuff like, yeah, we can exchange. So up to a certain level of expertise. The second thing is, um, if this person is not working with you or if they are working with you as a collaborator, you don't want to run the risk of the person stealing your contract or stealing your clients.
[00:09:27] Myriam: So you think about this in terms of you have trusted people, not everybody does. Yeah. Yeah. So this is a good solution if you have the right network for it. You always need to have a fallback, but you have to be very comfortable with the fallback and have strict boundaries.
[00:09:43] Olga: Yeah, yeah. Totally. Totally.
[00:09:45] Olga: Because you can really do more harm for yourself and for your clients if you, if you don't think about this in in depth before. Mm-hmm. Okay. So, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. So another thing I came up with is that when I sign up a new client for like, let's say for a year, I take account of like my free time in the pricing simply, I still get paid month by month, a specific amount, but with within that there are like 20 days off for me or something like that.
[00:10:21] Olga: So
[00:10:22] Myriam: I like the way you approach this. I'm going to give another perspective onto this. Folks. I do not have retainers. I'm one of those weird ones. I maybe have like maximum a handful of clients and they are hellbent on keeping me because of my personality, the way I do things. I much prefer to be the person that comes in, trains you or audits things for you and tells you which framework, which process you should adopt.
[00:10:48] Myriam: And testing it out with you until it works. And then like Mary Poppins, I disappear. So this means that I will have some projects or retainers that are either very flexible because clients know me and know how I operate, or I don't, which is fine as well. Like I have some, some clients that keep coming back to me, but we do not have a signed agreement that they keep coming back to me.
[00:11:09] Myriam: So that's, that's a topic for different, um, yeah, cash, e o cash flow, but, What this means is I also make sure to present myself to my clients. Hi, I'm an international consultant. What does this mean? It means that I'm great at international ss e o. It means that I speak at events around the world, and it means I'm also a digital nomad who travels.
[00:11:34] Myriam: Why am I doing this, and why am I breaking the fourth wall and being honest about who I am as a human being? Because number one, yes, it helps them brag about it. Like I'm working with a great consultant. They're renowned, they give conferences, so that's a plus for the client communication. Cool. But it also enables me to say, Hey, I'm not gonna be available here because I'm traveling for this conference.
[00:11:58] Myriam: I'm not available here because I'm traveling, period. Am I train, got delayed. And the third thing is they are, the clients are more sensitive to the fact that it's not a timing. Situation. It's more, as you said, a delivery situation. So sometimes if I'm going on vacation or if I have like an unexpected time off, I will tell them, Hey, we can't have this meeting.
[00:12:22] Myriam: Can you record yourself explaining this to me in under five minutes, 10 minutes? I will reply to you with a video explanation. This also works, so you have to, if we're to recap, you have to be flexible with yourself. You have to have strict boundaries with clients as well. Like you are polite, but if things don't work out, you're still a human being.
[00:12:43] Myriam: You're not gonna be working from the hospital bed. I hope you're not. And the the third thing is you have to think of yourself as you are a company. But you're also a human being that has needs and if you don't take care of them, um, yeah, they will signal you will have health problems.
[00:13:04] Olga: Yeah. Yeah, totally, totally.
[00:13:05] Olga: So my perspective on that is a little bit different because I am not, at least not yet a digital nomad. So I mostly work now with retainers. So my s e work is kind of structured around, around those clients and my s e o sly project. So, so for me it is a bit different. It is, I structure this a little bit as if I had.
[00:13:27] Olga: I had job more or less, except that I'm the boss. So that's why I want to kind of be available for my clients as much as possible, but if something like happens, I, I want to let them know. And of course, I want to remember, and, and I do remember about some boundaries, so I am not available 24 7. I try to be as flexible as possible because I know this is something that my clients value, especially that, that direct communication they have with me and the fact that I am the person working on their website not just having like other people working or outsourcing people.
[00:14:08] Myriam: So, To, to recap what we both brought to this, when you are working with yourself or yourself, et cetera, and you are having issues taking vacations, you should keep in mind a few things. Number one, you need them. Number two, you can go like Olga does, which is plan. Like you know that somewhere in August there's gonna be time off.
[00:14:31] Myriam: You know that somewhere in that month there go, there's gonna be time off. So you can already tell your clients, Hey, you should be made aware of this. Here's how it works. I work on big projects. So for example, um, right now, um, a company I work with, so we collaborate a lot. They have to pitch to a big organization, a big project that I can't talk about because NDAs, I told them, here's the timeline for the Gantt project, how long it would take for me to do things.
[00:15:03] Myriam: We're prioritizing when I do things, when they do. Then I came in with my dates going, well, there's Brighton, s e o, there's dev reach. There's like all these events that I'm attending at these dates, and there was somebody else who is doing the work and telling me, Miam, we may have a point of friction here, here, um, you can do the work, but you can't meet with clients, et cetera.
[00:15:23] Myriam: We hash it out to make it work. So whether it be a retainer or like planning in the future, it, it's a bit headache into inducing. But it gets done. You need to flag it. You should not be apologizing for taking a vacation. Like, Hey, this is gonna cause some delays. I know we're gonna be creative. Let's figure it out.
[00:15:45] Myriam: Don't feel bad. And usually clients will work with you to find a solution. Yeah, but there's another thing too, and like, I think that's our last tip because. Everything we have spoken about, you can implement. It's not pleasant. It's not easy. It takes some practice, but you can implement it. There's no magical bullet.
[00:16:03] Myriam: You really do have to go in and say, Hey, I'm gonna be off and deal with whatever the response is going to be. Okay? Yeah. But there's one last thing. We don't talk about Olga. When clients go on vacation, That creates delays. So yeah,
[00:16:19] Olga: I know the pain.
[00:16:21] Myriam: So though I used to get stressed and do the work for them, now I send an email going, this is going to delay us.
[00:16:26] Myriam: Here's the impact I. Yeah, we will deal with it. Document it. Do not let it slide or go. I'm not gonna say anything as long as they don't get back to me. I don't get back to them. No. Document it, but also leverage it. I know that in August things are more quiet. People are are more and more on vacation. It gets harder to make meetings.
[00:16:47] Myriam: If after two attempts at scheduling a meeting, a deliverable, whatever, I'm not getting answers or it's complicated, just say, Hey everyone, do you mind if we push this back to September because then everybody's gonna be available. And usually people go, yes, let's have a headache. Let's stop fighting for it.
[00:17:03] Myriam: The end makes perfect sense. So, I, I hope that these tips have been useful for you and Olga. Do you have one last that's popping in your mind, or are you, are you already on the path to vacation in your head? To be
[00:17:16] Olga: honest, I think the last one, which maybe that's, that's a simple one, that are some things that you can automate and, for example, if you are posting.
[00:17:29] Olga: Articles on behalf of your clients. Let's assume you, you're doing that, you can schedule them in WordPress. The same for some automated reports. Some reports are automated. You, you can just schedule their sending when you are away so that they at least have a sense that something is still happening even though you're not there.
[00:17:48] Olga: And I know you're big on automating, for example, your social media posts. So that's, that's also something you can, you can leverage. For your clients when you are away.
[00:18:00] Myriam: So to, to bounce back on this, please do smart automation. There's nothing worse than receiving something where you can tell the person has automated it and it doesn't even work that well.
[00:18:12] Myriam: So that's like the Yeah, totally double death. Yeah. So, yes, I, I think that peace of mind is important so you can automate, for example, some checkups. Um, I have some P P C clients that I help, I do not do. The campaigns. Okay. I trained the person, they've been going for years, but we have tools that set up alerts where we're like, Hey, we need to talk about this.
[00:18:33] Myriam: Yeah. So they know that when I get back, they're gonna talk about this. We keep saying it's the last one, but I have one tiny, tiny added thing. Okay. Something, go ahead. Work out without you. Like that's it. Noga, some things will work out without you. What I mean by that is a lot of people rely on you, but sometimes when they can't.
[00:18:54] Myriam: They will fix the problem by themselves. So that could be a bad thing for you because they're not hiring you as much to do it. But in my book, yeah, totally. It's a very good thing. Like please, yeah, handle your adventure a bit more. So I hope that this has been useful for everyone, and we'll see you in the next episode of SEO
[00:19:13] Olga: Cashflow.
[00:19:14] Olga: Yeah, that's it. See you, everyone.