Vacay time. How to take a vacation as a freelancer.
The irony of having a flexible schedule as a freelancer is that the way we spend our time ends up being dictated by the clients who hire us. It’s easy to feel the pressure of always making ourselves available to our clients and this mindset can make it hard to set time aside and take a vacation. What if a lucrative job comes through right before you board that flight? What if that client you’ve been waiting on finally inquires about your availability?
In order to keep a healthy work/life balance as a freelancer, it’s important to set those ‘what ifs’ aside a few times a year and enjoy the life you've worked so hard to create for yourself. Here is our advice on how to give back to yourself as a freelancer, so you can properly relax while you’re away and bring your A game upon your return.
Give your regular freelance clients a heads up about your vacation plans as soon as you make them so you avoid dealing with the inner turmoil of turning down a job. Make sure you then remind your clients of your plans at least ten days before your time off and make it a point that you’ll be available again as soon as you return. Your clients will appreciate your thoughtfulness and consideration in letting them prepare and not find themselves in a bind while you’re away. Finally, automate an ‘email away’ message while you're gone so that anyone who does contact you doesn’t erroneously think you’re ignoring them on your well-deserved break.
Technology is your forever friend. If social media and content is important to your freelancing career, you can create posts, newsletters, and blogs ahead of time and schedule them to be posted at a later date. For freelancers who want to completely unplug but are worried about being inactive and losing traffic engagement, this is a great way to continue your content output while you take a tech break. Check out Buffer for social media post scheduling and this post on Wordpress for blog auto-scheduling.
Lessen the financial hit of being away from work by making a “vacation budget” early on. Factor things in like the cost of living where you’re going, how you plan on getting there, and what you want to do once you’re there. This budget should also include a little extra to make up for the time it’ll take you to secure your next job once you’re back. Once you know what the cost of your time off will be, open a savings account, label it “Vacation”, and start depositing a percentage from each paycheck into it. When you reach your goal you will not only feel financially prepared for your time off, you’ll also feel like you’ve truly earned it.
Vacations actually work as productivity boosters. When you go back to work you are able to do a better job when you can approach work with a fresh pair of eyes. Give yourself the opportunity to enter a deep state of relaxation by turning off notifications from your phone and work email address.