It’s five weeks (and a few hours) until the kids are out of school for Spring Break! It’s time to prepare — and not just travel plans and hotel accommodations. Now is the time to prepare my freelance writing business for vacation.
Can You Take A Vacation From Freelancing?
One of the greatest perks of being a freelancer is the ability to work from anywhere — but just because I can work while on vacation, doesn’t mean that I want to. It’s funny how I used to envision myself lounging in the sun, watching the kids play in the pool with their dad, while I leisurely typed away — talk about living the freelance life! But once vacation starts, I realize I don’t want to work. I actually want to play in the pool too! Of course, writing isn’t just my job, it’s my business, and I have to keep that business running smooth even if I’m on vacation — without turning my trip into a full-fledged working vacation.
Plan Vacation During Downtime
In my freelance writing business, it seems that the last week of June through the end of August is the slowest time of the year, making July a perfect time for me to take a vacation. Unfortunately, the summer months are busy for my husband’s business, so family vacations have to be scheduled around his work and the kids’ school breaks — either late February or early April. But just because these times aren’t the absolute best for me doesn’t mean I can’t make it work.
Inform Your Regular Clients
I’m not talking about calling them up and bragging, but just let them know that you’ll be on vacation. I have one client who sends an order for three to four articles every Monday that he needs to have finished by Friday. I let him know about a month in advance which week I will be out of town, and give him the option of sending his order for that week early, or not sending it at all. He always chooses to send the order a couple of weeks early. Clients that place orders once a month, or irregularly, don’t need to be informed of my whereabouts at all. If I’m offered new assignments closer to the time I leave, I schedule the deadline for a few days after I return, so I can start them when I get back home.
Get as Much Done as Possible Before You Leave
Its simple really — in order to not spend your vacation time working, you must either turn down or postpone work, or get it done before you leave. I always put in a little overtime in the weeks leading up to my vacation, and try to get as much done as possible: finish as many regularly scheduled client projects as I can, write my own blog posts and newsletters, and schedule them — along with some social media posts — ahead of time.
Outsource if Necessary
I haven’t had to go this route (yet), but if it truly isn’t possible to complete all assignments before you leave, you could outsource to another freelancer. While you won’t be earning money off the project, it may save you in the long run if it keeps you from losing a client.
As a freelancer, there’s no vacation pay. In addition to saving for your vacation, you need to save money to cover expenses after you return home. I like to make sure to have all my invoices sent out before I leave, so I will have money waiting for me when I get home.
Keep in Touch
I still check and respond to my emails, and monitor my social media accounts while I’m away. I certainly don’t want to lose a potential client because they felt I was inaccessible. I generally just send a reply email that I am on vacation, and I will contact them when I return — and specify exactly when that will be. Most of the time, people do not have a problem with that. And for the ones that do, I figure they probably would have been a nightmare to work with, so it’s fine with me for them to look for another writer.
Be Prepared, Just in Case
Sometimes it is inevitable that some work must be taken care of while on vacation. This is why I never leave home without my iPad. I have everything I need to run my business from anywhere I happen to be. I just have the hubby spend some bonding time with the kiddies, and I take a walk to Starbucks and get some work done — with a latte.
With a little planning — and a lot of work beforehand — I’ll be enjoying a (mostly) work-free vacation come April 4th (at 2:28, when school lets out). And my one-woman business won’t fall apart while I’m gone.