Holidays are a bit different for a freelancer – there is no paid leave, no shutdown period, and you don’t get anything for public holidays. On the other hand, if you’re organised enough you can take a break whenever you want to, which gives flexibility for travelling in off-peak seasons or taking advantage of last minute deals. Usually I choose to not work during public hoildays unless things are extremely busy, so I can spend time with The Boy and friends on their day off.
This year I don’t think I’ll be taking a summer break – Christmas, Boxing Day and New Years Day will be taken up with family parties, but other than that I’m still planning to go into the office and get work done. January is generally a quiet month for me, so the plan is to work whilst there is work to be done, and relax a bit more as it eases up a bit in the first quarter of next year. I have some personal projects, including rebranding my business, to work on during the downtime – I hope I end up with a bit of time to spare for it!
If you’re working from home it’s easily to get a bit down around Christmas – especially when everyone around you seems to be going to work Christmas parties (The Boy had four!) and you don’t really have anyone to party with. Don’t be too sad – give yourself an afternoon off, get some nice food and drinks and have a solo party where you don’t have to worry about offending your boss or getting super sloshed. Or get some other freelancers together and have a little party together! We had a little Monk Studio (and Friends) lunch at Five Bar today, which was a great way to round out the year.
A few tips when it comes to holidays as a freelancer:
Save up for downtime
When figuring out your rates and what you hope your yearly salary is, remember to include some holiday time – otherwise you might find that you can’t afford to pay yourself (or your bills) when you take time off. It also helps to have a bit of a buffer in your business account instead of living hand-to-mouth.
Plan way in advance
Not such a big deal for the Christmas period as it’s likely most of your clients will be in holiday mode too, but if you’re planning an extended holiday it’s important to plan far in advance so everything that needs to be completed before the holiday gets done and clients know what’s happening. I’ve had to do bits of work and answer work calls on holidays before, and it really sucks! Of course you can’t plan for everything, but being organised definitely helps.
Make sure you give yourself a break sometime
If you’re working days and nights and weekends and public holidays, maybe it’s time to give yourself a short break. It’s hard to tear yourself away sometimes, but clients do understand that you need a break sometimes and you don’t want to burn yourself out!
Only a few days left until Christmas – if you’re taking some holiday time now, enjoy yourself!
I’m going to try and write a weekly post each Friday about what it’s like to be a freelancer! This is something that I find a lot of people are curious about, and there’s a lot of incorrect assumptions out there. If you have any questions for me on freelancing, leave a comment here or on Formspring.