Can you really escape on holiday as a freelancer?

Peta
The reason we become freelancers is to be our own boss, to set our own hours and have the flexibility we crave. This makes it sound almost bohemian. But as much as freelancing gives you a sense of freedom from the shackles of a corporate office, it throws up issues when you decide that you need a complete break. Well, it would if you are able to relax and switch off. The last thing you want are clients contacting you all hours and, god forbid, interrupting that mojito on the beach!

 

Since you are a lone ranger, you don’t have the support of a colleague or assistant to field your work and calls whilst you are away. So how do freelancers enjoy a holiday (and everyone deserves one for their sanity) and still keep clients happy?

Here are a few tips that will help:

  • Plan, plan and plan some more - spend as much time before you step on that plane, train or automobile getting ahead of your work. This might not be everyone’s favourite thing but it really will make your holiday more relaxing.

  • Check all your deadlines – not just the ones before you leave but those for when you get back. Start, or even complete, some of the deadlines that are due on your return. This at least gives you some breathing space when you are recovering from the holiday blues. Leaving a ton of deadlines will only ignite your stress levels on your return.

  • Warn your clients ahead of time - if they know you are going to be away it gives them the opportunity to make requests in advance. Also, they will understand if they desperately need to contact you whilst you are away, that you may not be able to react immediately.

  • Work out your finances - so you can relax on holiday. As a freelancer, no work = no pay so be clever about saving in advance. Then make that money last so you are not left praying for the next payment to come in to survive.

  • Plan your tweets, Facebook posts and blogs - you can schedule many of them to go online on a certain date and time. You can use programs like HootSuite to help you. Pre-scheduling means you don’t have to panic if you do go somewhere that drops offline, as you know your messages will still get out to your audience

  • Put on your auto-responder - this gives you a little more breathing space in replying. Also, they don't think you are ignoring them!

  • Only check emails etc once a day - I know it is hard to completely switch off but don’t check your phone or laptop every minute or you will never relax. Check once a day. If it is easier, then set a time that suits you - before breakfast or a pre-afternoon nap or in time to sign off by happy hour!

  • Get cover if you can - can you get some one to help you whilst you are away? If you know another freelancer you can trust and respect to handle any key aspects with your clients in your absence, then get them to help out. If not then don't worry, if you have done all of the above points, you will be fine.

We all need a break so we can return refreshed and ready for new challengers. So pack your bags and enjoy your wonderful adventures, wherever they may be!

Bon Voyage!

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