Why running a surf camp may not equal a stress-free life, and how it could

Running your own yoga or surf retreat can be stressful at times. You feel like all tasks and actions to take are your responsibility, therefore they rest on your shoulders. From operational tasks such as answering emails and phone calls, staff planning, purchasing, coordinating activities, to administrative tasks like administering bookings, payments, and deposits, etc. It is not surprising that this all together, can be overwhelming and your days feel like a constant race against the clock to get everything done. It’s hard to keep this up day in, day out - especially during peak periods. If you haven’t done so yet, you need to start delegating tasks or look for tasks you can automate.

Here’s how delegating and automating can help you run your business more efficiently, but also more effectively. It will leave you with less stress and more time to do the things you love.

The art of delegation

If you feel stressed and overwhelmed or feel as though your retreat business has become stale, then it’s time to work on your delegation skills.

Often stress is caused by tasks that keep piling up or ones that keep returning on a regular basis. This often tempts you to put in even more hours a day to manage them all or to do tasks even faster. You can do the math and know there are only so many tasks you can achieve within a given day, no matter how efficient you work. That is why you need a little help from your staff, simply because you’re running short on time. This is often the most important reason for business owners to delegate, but there are four other reasons why delegating is for the good;

  • You’re too expensive to perform all tasks yourself
  • You help your staff to develop their skills when you delegate
  • You make for highly motivated staff when you delegate work to them
  • You’re not always the best person for the task at hand

This makes sense, so why do some retreat owners avoid delegating tasks when it can actually profit their business?

What part of the work do you delegate? You might feel you don’t have the time to train someone to do these tasks for you. This is a valid reason, but nothing will change until you do. When you think about it; the profit from this time saving will come back to you in the long run. It’s a matter of changing habits and investing some time and effort into it now to reap those benefits soon. Your business will profit from having well-trained staff. You get to focus on more important tasks to complete, but they also get more efficient soon after they have taken on these extra responsibilities.

Tips to delegate well

First of all, you will have to remember to be patient with your staff when you train them something new. You, as the expert, will do this task better and faster than any of them in the beginning.

Second, free up some time to train your staff properly on the task or tasks you want to delegate. Make a description, you can also do this together, for your staff to fall back on later. Lastly, you should be willing to give feedback after the task has been completed to leave room for improvement.

![go-surfing]({{ site.baseurl }}/assets/img/blog/stress-free/go-surfing.jpg)

Save more time by automating tasks

There are software and apps for anything these days. If we look at accounting tasks in a business, most of us use accounting software to help us with this just for the sole reason of time-saving, as doing it ourselves would cost a lot more hours. Why not do this for other administrative tasks too? This is the first and foremost type of tasks that help you be more efficient once you start automating them.

When it comes to your daily business, there is a lot of tasks that can be supported by digital products to make your life easier. A lot of these come for free when you are running a small business or give you the opportunity to take a free trial to see if they suit you. At Bookinglayer we do the same for our clients with our reservation management software. Our aim is to make reservations simple, both for you and your guests, and to help you save time. We do this by offering a direct booking form for your guests and a backoffice for you to manage everything related to your bookings, activities and finances. For seasonal or small businesses we offer a [Flex plan]({{ site.baseurl }}/pricing) and you always get to start with a [quick walk through and trial account]({{ site.baseurl }}/request-demo) to get to know the product first.

Another business area that is suitable for automation is marketing. When you make use of social media to market your retreat business, think about automating your social media posts with a service like Buffer or Later. Rather than stressing to find the time to post something on Facebook or Instagram in the morning, let them do the work for you. Both Buffer and Later allow you to transfer your posts into the system, from which they select the best time to post it to your audience. This makes you get to plan your social media posts whenever you want, ideally at a time of day where you have some time to breathe. Another useful marketing tool is MailChimp to automate your e-mail campaigns and to easily craft a nice looking newsletter.

Tips to automate tasks

Have a look online to see which software solutions can help you save time running your retreat business. Capterra is a useful website that holds over 400 categories for you to search. You can of course also ask friends within the business to see what tools they use. Try out and see what works best for you and your staff, as tools are only efficient when they match your way of working. What tasks to delegate or automate? Maybe you have difficulty defining tasks that can be delegated or automated. If so, go and make a quick list of your activities of last week and mark;

  1. all activities that constitute as being a core activity of a business owner
  2. all activities for which you know there are digital solutions (as mentioned above, there are numerous)

Done? Now go over it again and be even more critical this time. Especially if you find it difficult to delegate because of the fear of losing control over some aspects, you might still keep a lot of tasks to yourself. Read the five different reasons to delegate again at the top of this article if needed.

Once you have filtered out the activities that you feel should still be done by you as the owner of your business, you can start looking to delegate or automate the others. Where possible and more effective, choose automation over delegation, simply for the reason that you want a less stressful working environment, also for your staff.

For some of these tasks, you will find a combination of automating and delegating. Get started now and make next year about less stress, more time, and getting your lifestyle back.

Bookinglayer helps businesses like camps and retreats with an all-in-one reservation system.