Self-employed and thinking about taking a holiday?
How to take a break whilst looking after your business at the same time
It’s cold, grey and it’s only February. How do we get through winter? Answer? Book a holiday. But if you’re self-employed you might think twice.
Most organisations give staff a number of paid holiday days per year. But if you’re one of those people who are self-employed, those rules don’t apply. So, what do you do if you want to take a holiday? Who will look after your clients while you’re away? Can you afford it?
Here are some things to consider before you pack your bags.
Manage your workload
Don’t take on any new work just before you go away. Give yourself time to finish anything outstanding. You don’t want to still be typing while the air steward asks you for the third time to put your computer in flight mode.
Let clients know
Let all your regular clients know in advance that you’re going away. If you write a regular blog for example, send extra articles before you go. They can use them while you’re away so won’t miss out and you still get paid.
If you’ve given warning, then most clients will be happy to wait a week or two to discuss a piece of work. To avoid frustration, make sure you:
- set your out of office
- change your voicemail, and
- have someone you could recommend instead.
The finance bit
Before you set sail, make sure your finances are ship shape. If you have bills due while you’re away, see if you can pay them early. A late fee isn’t the welcome home present you’d want.
Some invoicing software lets you prepare a reminder note which can go out if a payment hasn’t been received. You can relax knowing the money you’re owed is still winging its way to you.
I’ll be forgotten!
If you’re worrying that your clients will forget you, then don’t. Unless you’re planning to see the world for the next year, you won’t lose clients because you take a holiday. They like working with you because your work is good and you deliver when you say you will. That’s worth waiting for.
If something does come up and they really can’t wait, try and outsource it to someone you know and trust. Hopefully they’ll return the favour one day.
Can I afford it?
Unfortunately, being self-employed means no holiday pay. You’ll need to weigh up any financial losses with the benefits of taking a well-earned break. Hopefully, you can stockpile some work for clients or go away when you think it might be quieter.
Should I work on holiday?
Only you can answer this. Studies show that taking a holiday is beneficial to your health and well being. It can lower stress, improve sleep and broaden the mind. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You need a break.
If you’re happy to work on holiday or feel you really have to though, don’t feel guilty. Working for an hour while sipping a drink with an umbrella in it doesn’t really feel like work. Plus, it’s a small price to pay if it means you’ll then relax and enjoy your holiday.