When you work for yourself, one of the best things about it is that you are in control of your own time. However, reality hits everyone eventually. You can’t just take off time whenever you feel like – unless of course, you feel like having no money!
When that realisation dawns on a freelancer, it often becomes a bit of a worry when you need to take time off. Back when you worked in an office, you applied for holiday time and that’s all there was to it. You still got paid.
When you work for yourself, the thought of taking a week off from work (and your clients giving someone else that work instead) is enough to fill anyone with dread.
In the run-up to Christmas and the New Year, this is a common worry that creeps up. Can you really afford to take time off? Here are some ways you can prepare for taking some time off as a freelancer.
Let your clients know when you will be available
Lots of people take this time of year to have a break from work. However, it’s still good to let clients you work with regularly know when you will and won’t be available.
You might also want to set an out of office auto-responder for anyone who emails your business when you’re away, just so they know you’re not ignoring them.
Chase up invoices
Now is a tricky time of year for freelancers. Lots of businesses are either hesitant to pay invoices or simply forget because they have a lot to do before the end of the year. Make sure you chase up November’s invoices as soon as possible so you can plan ahead for the rest of December.
Invoice as soon as you can, if you can manage this before people start to break up for Christmas. Also, try to set up reminders and be ready to follow up if you still have invoices that haven’t been paid by the end of the month.
Make a plan of action for when you come back
If you’re taking some time off over the holiday period, then it’s always good to have a plan of action for when you return in the New Year. It’s a good opportunity to start trying out new things and have a fresh start for your business.
Use the time in the run-up to Christmas (when it’s usually quieter) to make new business plans, put marketing strategies into place, conduct research or enrol on a course to further improve your skills for next year. You might want to also take this time to rethink your work routine or even your workflow management. Do that now so you’re ready to hit the work head-on in the New Year when things start to get busy again.
Set some money aside
Ideally, you should be setting aside some money each month for emergencies. If your workload can cover you over Christmas, great, but if not, it’s really handy to have a little pot of savings to cover any shortfall for bills. If you find yourself struggling this year, make it your New Year’s resolution to set up an emergency fund in the future.
How are you preparing for taking some time off over the winter? Do you take time off or work throughout the holiday period? Let us know your thoughts below.