I can’t explain why I believed I had no time for an annual vacation, particularly in the earlier years, which are often the toughest in the life of a business. Ironically, it’s during this time that you most need the vacation you believe you can’t take.

My problem might have been the affliction from which many small business owners suffer—the belief that my business couldn’t operate without my presence and would simply unravel if I weren’t there to hold it together. It’s utter nonsense of course. It might be perfectly valid to believe that your employees can’t run the business as well as you can, but believing that they can’t do it well enough to avoid disaster for, say, two weeks is ridiculous (in most circumstances).

If you can’t take two weeks off because you and only you can run the day-to-day activities of the business, and you also can’t close the business for two weeks, you’re in the wrong business. You should get out. You can’t live a healthy life this way—it will eventually break you and your business.

You absolutely must make the time for at least a two-week vacation at least once a year. And when you do take a vacation, never, ever do what I did on my first family vacation as a business owner and call in a couple of times a day—paranoia does little more than annoy everyone around you.