Freelancing comes with a lot of advantages. You set your hours, you decide your workload, and eventually, you can pick and choose your clients. It also enables you to work from anywhere in the world. But it can be hard to take a break! These are our top tips for how to take a vacation as a freelancer.
Wonderful as freelancing freedoms are, it can make it challenging to take time off – because there’s nobody to run things while you’re away.
As technology becomes ever-more sophisticated, our emails are only a swipe away, and anxiety about missing new opportunities can get the better of us. It’s much too easy to succumb to the temptation of working while on holiday. So, here’s how to take a vacation as a freelancer – for real!
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How To Take A Vacation As A Freelancer
Notify Your Clients
If you’re worried about how to take a vacation as a freelancer, the first step is to let your clients know about your availability. In particular, you want them to understand when you won’t be available to assist them with work.
Doing this helps you manage deadline expectations while setting firm boundaries for clients.
Boundaries are crucial because they determine when your clients can and can’t contact you. For instance, you might decide not to answer any new emails after eight o’clock in the evening.
As much as you need work, you don’t want to give the impression you’re constantly available. And reinforcing those boundaries can help you take a vacation as a freelancer that is a holiday and not a working holiday.
Use Email to Reinforce Your Time Off
There’s always a chance a client will need revisions or alterations made to the work you’ve done for them while you’re on holiday.
Assuming you notified your clients beforehand that you will be away, one of the best ways to plan for vacation as a freelancer is by setting up an automatic message that replies to client emails until you return.
How you do this varies depending on the email server you use, but finding a suitable tutorial is typically a question of running a search on the search engine you use.
The message doesn’t need to be lengthy, but it does need to be professional. Some email servers even come with a template for you to work from so that you can let people know you are taking a vacation from your freelance business.
The automated message addresses the incoming query from your clients while still making it clear you are not in a position to do the work until your return.
This is essential when it comes to taking time off as a freelancer. Because of how prevalent electronic communication is, people, including your clients, expect ever-faster responses to their emails.
If you leave them languishing while taking time off as a freelancer, they may well look elsewhere to get the job done. The automated message satisfies this need for an instant answer while still allowing you to take time off from your freelance business.
Build Vacation Time Into Your Schedule
Generally, pre-emptively designating time off helps those who wonder how to plan for vacations as a freelancer.
Planning for your vacation from your freelance business can be as simple as writing your vacation plans onto the fridge calendar in red pen or as complex as highlighting whole weeks on a Google spreadsheet.
However you plan your time off as a freelancer, writing it down somewhere gives you a firm deadline. There is now a tangible reminder that you will be taking time off from your freelance business, and for that to work out, you must meet all deadlines before you leave.
It will also prevent you from overbooking clients because you will have a concrete reminder that certain weeks on the calendar aren’t available for work.
Budget for Vacation Time
Remember to properly budget if you’re worried about how to plan for time off as a freelancer.
Regular workers receive paid time off, but freelancers don’t have that luxury. So, when planning to take time off from your freelance business, you need to ensure you can afford it.
An excellent way to do this is to set up an account separate from your savings account. Then, designate this as your business account and direct your freelance earnings there.
Then, set up an automatic transfer at regular intervals to have money going into your savings account. Whether you do this weekly, monthly, or every two weeks is a matter of taste.
The important thing is that you create a sense of a routine paycheck to help you budget your earnings. That way, when it comes to how to take time off as a freelancer, whatever other issues you experience, finances won’t be one of them.
Front Load Work (Where Possible)
Meet your deadlines early if you’re looking for solutions to take time off from your freelance business.
Understandably, it may not always be possible. However, suppose you can get the work done early without increasing stress. In that case, you will have a significantly easier time taking a vacation as a freelancer because you will have addressed your outstanding assignments.
The other benefit to frontloading projects is that you can tackle any necessary revisions before your holiday, provided you budget your time appropriately.
One of the drawbacks to this approach to taking a vacation from your freelance business is that you can end up with an exceptionally busy two or three weeks. But, on the other hand, when you finally take time off as a freelancer, you’ll feel you earned the rest.
Final Thoughts: How To Take a Vacation From Your Freelance Business
It can be hard to work out how to take time off as a freelancer. But everyone needs the occasional break, whatever their business model.
As you organize your holiday, remember to:
- Notify clients in advance
- Set firm boundaries
- Meet deadlines early
And never underestimate the value of an automated response. It will stop you from agonizing over replies and help you take a vacation as a freelancer that is relaxing, not a working holiday.
That done, you can sit back and enjoy your holiday until it’s time to get back to work.