As an entrepreneur--especially in the early days of a startup--it's not uncommon to work around the clock. For many, it's all worth it. Being your own boss, being in charge of your own earnings, and oftentimes working from home can all add up to better perks than being a cog in someone else's machine. Then the holidays hit. You find yourself wondering if you're giving up too much in order to chase the dream.
The reality is that vacations matter (check out The Atlantic's coverage of why) and eventually you need to come to a point where they're a priority. However, when you're first getting your (most likely very lean) startup off the ground you may need to give up pieces of those major holidays in order to thrive. A good rule is to play it by ear the first five years you're working for yourself, then commit to a certain number of holidays/days off each year.
Here's why working through the holidays is a good thing for early entrepreneurs:
1. You're offering what the competition isn't
This all depends on your industry, but for the most part you may be giving clients and customers service that nobody else is. Of course, if you're a retailer open on Thanksgiving like K-Mart, your competition might be keeping pace with you. You be the judge of whether or not working will give you an edge, and if it won't it might be worth taking off after all.
2. It's catch-up time
There simply won't be as many partners, clients and the like vying for your attention on major holidays so you can play catch up. Holidays are notoriously slow in most industries, and for some entrepreneurs that's exactly what you need. In fact, Women's Agenda reports that many times quiet equals more productivity, and when you're not getting bombarded with requests from all angles you might be able to achieve more.
3. It helps you appreciate the holidays more
How many holidays have you spent at least a little time zoning out to a Christmas special, playing on your phone, avoiding certain relatives or sneaking in a nap? Unfortunately, most people aren't 100 percent present during the entire holiday (or even afternoon) spent with loved ones. When you're working on time management and squeezing in some analytics in the morning, it might help you remember to make the most of the family time you do have.
4. It reminds you that holidays aren't a requirement
Just because it's the Fourth of July, that doesn't mean you're forced to attend barbecues. Not a feeling the holiday spirit or your family is a thousand miles away? It could be a good time for you to take care of some tasks so you're ahead when holidays that you feel are absolutely mandatory do roll around. Not every person is into every holiday, and that's OK. However, if you really want to drink some eggnog with family and friends during the holiday season, working ahead on other major holidays can allow you to do so.
Working on the holidays isn't nearly the sinful thing people make it out to be, so let your own desires take center stage. Celebrate when you can (and when you want)--not on someone else's agenda. Take advantage of those quiet days to work on the project that's got your heart. There will be plenty of other opportunities for ugly sweaters, overspending on gifts, and overindulging in your aunt's fruitcake.