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'Victoria' fishes at the Malleo River in Junin De Los Andes, Neuquen Province, some 1,600 kilometres from Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 29, 2006.
'Victoria' fishes at the Malleo River in Junin De Los Andes, Neuquen Province, some 1,600 kilometres from Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 29, 2006.

Start: Mark Evans

Stop making excuses and take time off Add to ...

The thing about running a small business and being an entrepreneur is that it's a 24/7 activity. It can be all work, all the time.

It's good to be the master of your domain, but it is also difficult to get away. Unlike employees who can go on vacation for a week without having to worry about the business, it is more difficult, if not impossible, for entrepreneurs.

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This is far from ideal. In fact, it's unhealthy.

Think about it: If you can't take a break from your business, wouldn't it be better to be an employee whose responsibilities disappear during a vacation? I'm being simplistic - there are many other benefits to being an entrepreneur - but life can't be all work.

I recently went fishing on a lake about a 45-minute flight from Whitehorse. There was no electricity, no telephone service and no Internet. As a result, there was no way I could do much work even if I wanted to. I might have taken some notes and done some thinking about work, but there wasn't any actual work done.

It was probably the first time in 10 years I went more than a day without being online. It's sad but true, and I would hazard to guess there are lots of people in the same boat.

The running gag among friends and family was that I would suffer from some kind of digital withdrawal, but I was looking forward to the break. It wasn't like going to a cottage, where you can sneak off to check e-mail, it was a complete break from the action.

And it was much needed. After starting my consulting business in late 2008, I have worked pretty much non-stop. It has been exciting and satisfying but also mentally and physically draining.

There are times when the battery seems drained and the ability to be creative and engaged is a struggle. But getting away completely has been difficult.

It's a common challenge among many entrepreneurs and business owners. The problem is, we think it's impossible to take vacation. Maybe there is no one else to steer the ship when you're gone. Maybe some people like to work so much they don't want to take a break.

And maybe some of us think of excuses not to get away even though there are things we can do to make it happen. It could be shutting down the business for a week, or it could be finding someone who can man the bridge for a few days.

There should be no excuses - a break is healthy for the body and soul. It is good for us as individuals, friends, husbands or wives, and fathers or mothers.

All of us need to recharge once in a while, otherwise we're missing out on a big part of running our own businesses, which is not working when we choose.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Mark Evans is a principal with ME Consulting , a content and social media strategic and tactical consultancy that creates and delivers 'stories' for companies looking to capture the attention of customers, bloggers, the media, business partners, employees and investors. Mark has worked with three start-ups - Blanketware, b5Media and PlanetEye - so he understands how they operate and what they need to do to be successful. He was a technology reporter for more than a decade with The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News and the Financial Post. Mark is also one of the co-organizers of the mesh, meshUniversity and meshmarketing conferences.

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