It’s July. The sun is showing its face (once in a while) and schools are just about to break up for summer. Although the days of education and six week holidays are a distant memory, having a summer break doesn’t have to be. As a freelancer or business owner, weekdays and weekends can blur into one, and taking a ‘real’ break from your work can cease to exist all together.
But, it doesn’t have to be this way.
The trials and tribulations of building a client base and establishing a solid reputation can make it difficult to walk away from work. However, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a break. Reports show that one in four freelancers don’t take annual leave, and of those who do, 45% take work with them, so is it truly a holiday or just remote working?
While you might think taking a break could damage your relationship with a client, it’s always worth asking, as you might be surprised at the positive response. If you take time and plan a holiday in advance, there’s no harm in warning a client before you agree to any deadlines that you might not be able to meet. Compromise and negotiation is key.
So forget your suitcase, these are the essentials you should be packing for the ultimate freelancer wind-down:
Essential 1: A Plan
A little planning never hurt anyone. Before your break, it pays to plan both your time and the clients’ out in advance. This might mean adding some extra hours to your week in the run up to your break, working extra hard to tie up loose ends. But that little bit of effort could go a long way when you get your well earned break relaxing, taking time to do whatever makes you happy.
Essential 2: A Happy Client
If you are worried about what your clients might think about you taking a break, think again. Give a reasonable amount of notice or even better, inform them of your break before you sign a contract. It will present you as a reliable and considerate person, and they will appreciate the advance warning.
Essential 3: A Budget
As a freelancer, you won’t get the luxury of paid annual leave. However, there’s nothing stopping you from creating a pot to save up money for when you do take well-deserved time off. Going back to the golden rule of planning, look at your finances in advance so you can calculate your holiday budget. You can also work out the ‘loss’ of income from not working, and how you can absorb those costs before, and after your break.
Essential 4: A Back Up
Made a group of friends in your field? This is the time to use their skills. Have a friend on call to support while you’re unavailable, and you can provide the same service for them in return. Generally, you shouldn’t need cover you unless there is an emergency that you can’t attend to. But, it’s great for piece of mind, and anything that increases your ability to relax is always a plus.
And finally…enjoy your break!