First of all I want to point out this blog post wasn’t planned as I am right in the middle of a 2 week vacation. We have hired a boat and are currently cruising the Norfolk Broads. Here’s a picture of our boat, The Fair President.

It’s huge and has taken some getting used to, I feel like I’m cruising on the Titanic, and we all know what happened to that don’t we? 🙂

Usually when I go on vacation I break all ties from my business, as for me a vacation means being away from my computer and not checking emails on a daily basis, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 5-6 days.

However, this got me thinking, even though I am away from my business it is still making me money and running like clockwork because I have learned to automate my business, allow me to explain.

First of all let’s look at support.

If you are like me you will want to reply to customer support tickets within 24 hours. I take great pride in my support, however it does not take up much of my time as my support is taken care of, as it is ran by Paula who manages my support desk. This means I don’t have to worry about my customers getting the support they need, I also wont return to tons of angry emails from people wondering where I’ve been for the last few weeks.

Let me tell you that this should be the very first thing you outsource as you begin to become successful. The last thing you should be doing on a daily basis is answering questions from customers. Obviously when you first start out this is something you will probably do yourself, but once you begin to spend over an hour per day dealing with support it’s time to outsource this task so you can free up your time building your business.

So where do you look?

I found Paula who runs my support desk via one of my forums, Paula was very active in the forum and she was always looking to help others so it was a natural progression, so maybe if you run a forum you can look there. Another place to look could be a Facebook group or your Facebook friends list, or possibly even a personal friend. Failing that it’s possible you have a very active customer who may be willing to help.

One thing I recommend you make sure you do is not outsource this to a stranger or an outsourcing company. To be truly free of support you need to give your staff personal information such as passwords, sensitive login information, FTP details, etc. This is something I simply wouldn’t be comfortable doing to someone I don’t really know.

Once you find someone it’s just a case of setting up a helpdesk so you can both look at tickets that come in. Your staff would simply flag any tickets they are unsure of and leave them to you. Once you answer them they could look at your answer and the next time a similar ticket comes in there would be no need for you to deal with it. Over time they would end up flagging less tickets as they learn more about your business.

Just in case you are wondering what helpdesk software I use it’s called Kayako. It’s a little pricey and if you’re just starting out there is free helpdesk software out there, just search Google.

So now you have taken care of support, what next?

Obviously if you are planning a vacation you still may want to plan ahead and set up some promotions, you may have noticed I have promoted a couple of products so far whilst I have been on vacation. I also have another promotion scheduled for the next couple of days. This is all possible because I have already set the dates for all of my emails before my vacation started and plugged them into aweber. This is a great feature aweber provides that enables you to plan ahead. In fact I could have scheduled this blog post if I wanted to as WordPress has a schedule feature, I could have then set the email promoting it to go out just after it went live. However I assure you that this post has been written while I am on vacation.

Finally, if you want to be sure people know you are unavailable set an ‘out of office’ response so people who email you will receive an instant response letting them know you are away, most email accounts have this feature. One tip I can offer here is to let people know when you will return and tell them if they need a response from you to resend their email after you return. This means you can come home and start with a clean inbox as everyone knows they need to resend their email to get in touch with you.

So there you go, while I am on vacation my business is running itself, so I can enjoy a beer or three at lovely locations like this.

And this!

As always your comments are welcome, although it may take me a while to respond as after all, I am on vacation 🙂


    26 replies to "Automating Your Internet Business While On Vacation"

    • Peter Wood

      Personally I like Tropical Gem 4 – much older boat (Richardsons), handles like a dream, only sleeps two – a four-poster bed in the aft cabin! Oh, and it’s cheaper – that thing you’ve got must be about £2.5k per week.

      Enjoy your holiday.

      Peter

    • John Coates

      Looking at it from the other side of the fence, I couldn’t agree more.

      The other side of the fence is undertaking the same role as Paula – customer support.

      It’s very satisfying to know that you have been given responsibility and the trust to provide the level of service while someone is on vacation.

      Earlier this year, having provided support cover for two weeks, I was then asked to take on additional responsibilities within a coaching program.

      The benefits? Higher level of income, more in-depth interaction with students and a higher profile.

      Keep taking those vacations and we’ll be running your business for you…;)

      And if you’re wondering do I ever take a vacation…well, living in Spain is one long vacation.

    • pavan

      Hello john,

      I Would love to be in your situation. I am going thru your wso domination and am sure it will help me to achieve the freedom to go on vacation 🙂

    • Carl Picot

      This looks fantastic John …. I know that if I work hard and focus that it will only be a matter of time before I can follow in your footsteps.

      Still playing with JVzoo and JV sign up pages but will get there in the end so that I can get this Auction Profit Avalanche product released 🙂

      I’m glad that you are enjoying the hols mate!

      take care and thanks for a great post

      cheers

      xxxxcarlxxxx

    • James Hughes

      Have a good un mate. Watch the amount of coronas before you try and steer that thing 🙂

      Automation is the way forward..

    • Paula Brett

      Hi John

      Glad you’re having a fab time. All is well here, just to let you know, I’ve flagged 439 tickets for your return 😉

      P

    • Mark Sherman

      Great post John! I have done customer support for many years and it is very important for any business who wants to stay in business.

      Thanks for sending your vacation pictures, as it is a great motivator to see what is possible when you become successful in life.

      I hope you are using sun tan lotion because you look very red in the second picture above. Well, at least you had a Corona.

      All the best!

      Mark

    • Geoff Lord

      Hi John

      Have a great time…Dont worry about a thing…we have you covered !!! LOL

      We will all continue making silly request to the support desk as usual so that Paula does not get bored…we will continue reading and commenting on your Blog to waste your valuable Holiday time…and we may even buy the odd product your care to share with us ….LOL

      Have great time….make sure your dont fall overboard….but if you do send us the video to post on “Youtube” just so we dont get bored too …LOL

      Geoff Lord http://www.AppAttract.com

    • Mike J Flynn

      Thanks for such great info John, Have a brilliant holiday I went boating on the Norfolk Broads with friends and loved it. Look forward to reading and learning more in future posts

      Mike

    • Dan Sumner

      ahh the life of passive income! I know what you mean JT. I was in Spain for a couple of weeks and although I did check my email a few times and got told off by you for doing so, I did earn an income while on vacation.

      Great stuff mate enjoy your vacation captain 🙂

      Dan Sumner

    • Eruwan Gerry

      Hi John,
      Thanks for your great sharing,
      I’ve only started outsourcing a few of my activites but have yet to outsource the customer service part of it.
      My worry is on the confidential part of my business. How do you ensure that the person you hired won’t take advantage of your business since that person will have access to all your product download pages and etc.
      Hope you can share your thoughts on this.
      Thanks again for this sharing.

    • zora

      Hi John,
      Thanks for such great post John, Have a great holiday.
      It looks a little sunny make sure you take a lot of 12 once liquids with you.

      Watch out for iceburgs
      Zora Blume

    • Donald MacLeod

      John,

      Nice tan mate. Lucky git. Hope you’re having a ball, looks like you are. Corona or 4 plus a wee malt maybe… Watch out before you get torpedoed..

      Another great post.

      Kind Regards

      Donald

    • Ian McConnell

      Great stuff John and enjoy the holiday.

      I’m looking forward to the new stuff you put out after your batteries are fully recharged.

      Cheers
      Ian McConnell
      Western Australia

    • Steve Cottrell

      Hey John,

      Great info as always. Hope you enjoy the rest of your jolly on the Broads.

      Never been a boater myself, much prefer the big metal bird and guarunteed sunshine!!! You know what the weather can be like here in the UK!!

      All the best,

      Steve.

    • Galen Anderson

      Thanks, John, for an interesting post, which sort of gives us an inside look at your business. You were very prepared to take a vacation, for one thing hiring Paula. She has responded to one of my tickets in the past, and might I say, in a very professional manner. You are lucky to have found her. But the question is, how far ahead did you plan your vacation, with the promotions, etc? You are very blessed to have a staff who carries the load while you’re away! Have fun!

    • Tasleem

      Hi John,

      Your support is great, e-mailed Paula twice this week and within 12 hours she got back to me! 🙂

      As always great post and enjoy your holidays 🙂

    • Tim Bonner

      Hey John

      Have a great holiday. That boat looks huge!

      I was over in Ireland for a couple of weeks not long ago. I couldn’t help but switch off as the data roaming charges would have eaten me up if I tried to look at my business on my iPhone.

      Tim

    • Ron Mayer

      Wow John,
      Inspiring!!!
      Looking forward to a vacation like that in the future.

    • Matt Morgan

      Have a great time away, it is nice to have a break to clear your mind from the marketing stuff,

      but it’s also good to be away which lets you think about your marketing from a new/different surrounding to the usual layout you work from.

      Then coming back to it is also great too.

      Don’t forget to send us a post card.

      Matt

    • Steve Fairburn

      Hi John,

      Great blog post. In my ‘Network Marketing’ business I don’t have the luxury of being able to fully automate it as such, not in the way you can anyway. For me, this is a massive attraction to Internet Marketing and the power of passive income. I’ve got a long way to yet, but following someone as inspirational as you, I’ll be there.

      I’ve had experience of your support and concur with the other comments above… very very good indeed. Paula is excellent.

      Kind regards,

      Steve

    • Matt Greener

      Nice boat! Hope that people realise that while it’s good to outsource support, you have to ensure that the quality remains high or increases. No one likes to be outsourced to cheap customer service.

      • John Thornhill

        I agree 100% and that’s why I don’t recommend you outsource to an outsource company and you look at your close contacts first.

    • Ruth

      Hi John:
      You’re easy to get in touch with????
      I’ve tried eveything I know to try, but have not neen successful.
      Maybe you can drop me a line when you get back home.
      But I am glad you are enjoying your vaction. I wouldn’t know what to do with one.
      Regards,
      Ruth

    • Mat Gallaugher

      Hey John! Does your wife know you’ve taken on the broads?

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