How and why you need time off as a freelancer.
You look like you’re in need of a nice and charming fact. Well, here it is.
Business Insider reported that the average American worker takes less time off than a medieval peasant.
I would also be willing to bet that freelancers take even less time off than the average worker. When you are a freelancer, you are your own manager. But if you’re not giving yourself time-off then that would make you a pretty barbaric boss at best.
Not such a warm and cuddly fact after all. This brings us to the article’s topic of interest. How to properly take time off when you work for yourself.
Calculate time-off and sick days when looking at your financial forecast.
Don’t have a financial forecast? Don’t stress it, many freelancers don’t. But I do recommend it, I’ll link an article we did on project management for freelancers down below.
Scheduling vacations and sick days will minimize the guilt you’re likely to feel as a one-person-army. The freedom to take time to rest and recharge is imperative for your revitalization.
It’s also important to help you keep going. If you’re under the impression that you can just keep on working then you’ll likely burn out.
You need time to relax so you can maintain your work lifestyle and continue earning. Take away your planned vacation (a month or so) and sick days (usually around 4-7 days). The time you have remaining is the time you are available to work. Simple as that.
Consider covering your shifts
This is a super quick tip.
If you have a network of freelancer friends, check if they can take over any comeupances with your clients. Or you could use freelancer sites like Workezy to hire a virtual assistant to cover you while you’re away.
If you aren’t able to outsource work then it’s beneficial to accept that your income will be lower that month.
Let your clients know you will be unavailable early
As a freelancer, you’re likely to feel worried that taking time off may anger your clients. You should let them know early on if you’ll be away, it’s beneficial for a few reasons.
*Quick tip* The best way to inform your clients that you’ll be unavailable is via email. Not only is it professional, but it also gives clients the dates your away in writing. This makes it easier for your clients to refer back to when you’ll be off.
On the freelancer marketplace Workezy, you’re are able to set your profile to “Vacation Mode“. This will let clients and potential employers know you’ll be unavailable.
Two things to prepare before you’re away
a) An auto-responder in your email.
Let anybody who reaches out to you know you’re away by an auto-response email. This will not only inform them that you’re absent, but clear any confusion that you may be ignoring their emails.
b) To pre-schedule marketing or content (if applicable).
Let’s say you make podcasts or daily titbits. It’s in your best interest to keep this content going whilst you’re on leave. So that your viewers don’t lose interest. Marketing may also be necessary to keep up the stream of clients coming your way. I’ve spoken about this too in the article I’ve linked down below.
Give yourself a smooth transition back
A single day, that’s all that’s necessary.
Once you’re back from your vacation, give yourself 1 day to get back into the flow of things. Use this day to check back up on your emails and messages. Use this day to create a plan for how you’re going to regain your rhythm whilst completing the work you’ve naturally compiled.
It isn’t recommended that you dive straight into the deep-end right after your break. Formatting what you need to get done and how you’re going to do it will alleviate a lot of stress. As well as point you in the direction to complete what you need to more efficiently.
Don’t push yourself too hard.
I felt the need to highlight the importance of taking time off once I read through Business Insider. The fact that American workers are taking less time off than medieval peasants is startling. Use the tips and pointers I’ve provided up above to improve your work lifestyle.
Take that vacation you need!
Tying into managing your vacations, here’s an article we did on project management for freelancers: Essential Project Management Skills