Preparing For A Vacation As A Rural Entrepreneur


the blog

by sarah elrod



Apple Podcasts | Spotify


It’s vacation time! As you are currently tuning to this episode I am out of office and out of the country! Yes, I am laying on the beach in Mexico with a cold drink in my hand and life is good. But gearing up to this point has been stressful to say the least. Many hours were spent cramming as many episodes as I could to get ahead on work. Planning to leave the country with a baby is stressful enough. But also as an entrepreneur leaving a business behind comes with other worries. Will everything fall apart when I am gone? How am I going to make money if I take time off?

If you have ever struggled with wanting to take time off but are also in  #girlboss mode, then keep on listening. I’m walking you through my process of taking time off as an entrepreneur. This goes for vacation or even something like maternity leave. Because I really believe it’s just so important. But to start things off, I need to share with you the YEARS of preparations it took to get here. Because yes, it took some thinking ahead on my part to be able to do things like this. Today my hope is to point you in the right direction so you can do the same thing.


Envision Your Dream Life


Something I did YEARS ago, was sit down and dream about my life. Usually, I go outside and sit on my porch after a long day and dream out there because I feel the more inspired in that little corner of my property. I think about what a perfect year would look like for me. It was important to me to build something that allowed me to feel free and not tied down to work. I didn’t want to feel like if I were to just pack up and leave, or want to take a random week off, my business would not totally implode. It was important to have systems in place and to be able to know that things could run by themselves, with our without me. Now, it’s true, I have workaholic tendencies. And it’s easy for me to get lost in my laptop working on the next project. I want to be able to know that I can shut things off and everything will be okay. But also, on the contrary, when I return from time off and I’m ready to get back to work, I want to have a solid plan in place and something that excites me. Not be dreading my way back to my desk because of how much stuff I have to catch up on.


Executing My Vision


From the time of recording this I am actually about a week away from vacation, so my plan for this week is to record 8-10 podcast episodes, prep the content to go with them, pre record content for the Social Herd and make sure everything is up to date, and then when I am actually on vacation, just share our lives online and take tons of photos. By working ahead, this will help me know that everything is still running even when I am away. Automations are our friend!


Plan Ahead


After getting a better understanding of my vision, I wanted to make sure to give myself flexibly to change things and adjust as needed. Something I have learned to be true is the only constant in life is change. And that goes for everyday life and business. I can’t tell you how many times I planned out 3 months worth of content just to have to change everything because something happened that makes it no longer make sense. Now earlier, I stated that this was a few years in the making and that is true. When I first found out I was pregnant in 2021, I knew things were going to need to change in my business. I scaled way back as a wedding photographer and hired an associate team. And now? I have decided that this year is going to be my last wedding season ever. My team will still be working wedding days for me, but I am not going to personally commit to any. It’s all of these changes, big and small that have helped lead up to this moment of taking a sabbatical.




Remember how I said I love automation? Well, I really do! Some of the things I have come to automate in my business are scheduling out podcast episodes, youtube videos, blog posts, social media posts, email newsletters, and sales funnels. I actually recently came across a platform called Zapier that allows me to integrate platforms together that don’t already and it has been a GAME CHANGER. No they do not sponsor me I just have really liked the platform so far! If drinking a Pina Colada in Mexico while make money everyday sounds too good to be true, I promise it’s not! Some automations are simple, and others will take some strategy to perfect but I promise it’s so worth it. There is no greater feeling than knowing your audience is still being served so much value while you are resting with your toes in the sand.


Communicate With Your Audience


One of the biggest things I have also started doing is communicating with my audience about what they can expect will happen when I am away on my leave of absence. That way everyone is on the same page for what my break will really look like. I share about my travels on social media and bring people along with me. I also make sure to leave plenty of notice by telling people when I will be out of office so they can expect replies from me to be delayed. Most of the time, I find it to be extremely beneficial to share about vacation because people like to see your real life. Your audience wants to live vicariously through you and learn about the cool places you are visiting. And you can do this without feeling like you are on your phone the whole time. Take photos and videos throughout the day and save them to your camera roll and then post them that night when you are laying in bed. That way you can be present in the moment and only post when you have some down time. Or you can post as things are happening, but just a few times throughout the day. You can let people in just enough without giving them a full play by play.


Are You Actually Ready?


I could physically prepare for time off all I want. Plan all the content, batch everything ahead of time, and check off all the boxes. But something I struggled with was mentally preparing to take time off from my business. That in of itself takes a lot of work. For a while, I believed I was incapable of resting. Everything in me thought that my brain just functioned differently than everyone else and work was ingrained in me. I would get so stressed to take time off, and try to batch work and never be able to actually get ahead and then be stressed when I was actually taking time off and it was just a mess. So for a long time, I just never took time off. In my heart, I didn’t fully believe that the business I had built was something that wouldn’t fall apart or fade if I stepped back. I had to dream and visualize what I wanted my vacation to look like too. What do I see myself doing? For me, it’s reading a good book by the pool or splashing around in the warm water with Stetson who I know is going to love it so much. I dream of the quality time I will get with Tyler. Even though it’s a trip with his family, I always look forward to this time of year because we just get flirtier and it reconnects us. And the bonus of having family there is we have free baby sitters. Win win.


In Conclusion


So there you have it, my vacation vision. And how I prepared for taking this week off. I am really looking forward to logging off, and resetting and reevaluating. Especially considering this is right before Stetson’s first birthday and I have been reflecting a lot on this past year of motherhood. So in a way this trip feels like a little celebrating for surviving this first year. 10/10 recommend taking a vacation to celebrate being a mama cause it’s hard work.

If you have any other tips or ideas to add to this, I would love to hear them! Head over to Instagram @brandedcowgirlpodcast and share all the things! And that’s it for now, thanks for being here cowgirls, and hopefully next time you see me, I will have a golden goddess of a tan.


















I'm Sarah Elrod

The Podcast

Rural Lifestyle



I'm a Cowgirl turned serial entrepreneur.
I'm a horse trainer, western wedding photographer, business coach and ranch wife.
I help women in the western industry grow thriving businesses from rural America.
When I am not strategizing new marketing tactics, you will find me riding my horses, cuddling my cattle dog, or kissing my hot husband.
There is also a good chance I am buying way too many outfits from western boutiques.

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