This is not a gripe at the unfairness of it all when you are a freelancer; obviously there are many more positive aspects to choosing the way of forging a career, but taking holidays can be a little tricky. You don’t get paid for them for one. But also, the nature of the work means that it’s really difficult to take time off when you don’t do any work at all. Often you find yourself as the only one with your laptop out when on a vacation, and it gets disapproving looks from partners or friends, even though they know the score. In short, you want to avoid this scenario on future trips, but you’re not sure how to go about it.
So how do you organize yourself so you can enjoy vacation time when you are a freelancer.
Give your clients plenty of notice
Clients don’t like surprises. Although all clients are different, and the nature of the relationship you have built with them is different each time, most will not begrudge you taking a bit of well-earned time off, but not many will thank you for it if you spring it on them with only a moment’s notice. In that way, it’s impossible to plan around it.
But you may feel that you can’t even ask, and that’s not a good situation to be in either. The fact is if you have formed a good working relationship with the client, and you are always upfront and honest with them, then there is no reason why you cannot inform them of your intentions with plenty of time to spare and find a good compromise that works for all.
Perhaps you can deliver projects early, or defer deadlines for a little longer. If you have the capacity, and depending on the nature of the work, you could even take on double the workload in the time leading up to your vacation, meaning you are earning the same amount as you would if you didn’t take the time off at al. Of course, that can lead to an insanely busy period before you head away, so that might not be your number one option.
Speak with your clients a long time in advance, and watch how the vast majority are happy to work around your planned vacation time. In fact, your commitment to facilitating their needs will simply reinforce o your client that you are the right person to be working with because you are conscientious and have their needs at the forefront of your thinking.
Hire a virtual assistant
Have you ever thought about using a virtual assistant? It could be that this is a great full-time solution for your needs, as virtual assistants can field inquiries, answer the phone, send replies on your behalf perhaps, and perform myriad other tasks. Getting one on board for the period you are on vacation, however, just makes great sense. In this way, you have someone dealing with the necessary day-to-day while you take some much-needed time off. And when you come back, everything will be organized for you, so you don’t face the nightmare of a week or two week’s emails and inquiries having been left unanswered. Try it and see.
Mentally prepare yourself for a digital detox
You know what, just switching everything off while you go on vacation may just be the best thing that you can do. You may feel that it is impossible with everything that you have going on, but if you have notified clients in advance or your trip away, have completed all necessary projects in the build-up to your vacation, and have hired a virtual assistant to take care of all of the daily requirements, then why can’t you turn off your phone and leave the laptop at home?
When it comes to digital detox, as much as it may be needed, people find themselves unable to do it due to their own hang-ups. No one is forcing them to keep checking their emails, but instead, it becomes a detrimental habit that affects their ability to take time off. That is your own problem to solve.
Get yourself in the right zone for a period without work by disabling notifications. In the build-up to the trip, spend some time away from the computer too. And then, when the time comes, you won’t suffer from separation anxiety.
Hire a freelancer in your stead
Could you outsource some of the work that needs to be completed while you are away? Taking on an assistant freelancer would enable you to get some of the necessary work done while you are away to keep things ticking over, and also keep some money rolling it. It could be a good way to keep those all-important relationships sweet too.
About the Author: Success and life coach Beatrix Potter can be found at Essayroo. As well as keeping up to date trends in psychology.