It’s that time of year when a lot of people are looking forward to their holidays. And lots of freelancers are either enviously flicking through the holiday Facebook photos of the employed, or panicking about all the work that has to be done RIGHT NOW to cover you while you’re away. See, this is one of the major downsides of being freelance. No paid holiday. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid.
It is possible to take a holiday if you freelance, although it often means you either have to make a sacrifice of time, money or potentially clients. Here are your options:
A) Do the work ahead of time
This is the option I took for a long time. It basically involves doing all the work you would do if you weren’t going on holiday, in the week or two before. Many, MANY late nights and weekends working.
Pros and Cons: I won’t lie, this is a stressful option. You’ll need the holiday after you do it. On the upside, you shouldn’t lose out on your income. This option is great if you can schedule things, for example if you deal with social media or blog posts.
B) Don’t do it, and lose out
I tried this option the week before last, when I was away for a couple of days. While I’d usually do the work ahead of time, this time I gave my client notice that I wouldn’t be around for those two days and that the work would be delivered later in the week. I’m really lucky on the client front, so they were understanding and it all went without a hitch.
Pros and Cons: It’s a lot less stressful, but you’ll lose out on the money aspect.
C) Outsource to a colleague
I’m lucky enough to know a few other freelancers that I’d be happy to put forward for work when I’m away.
Pros and Cons: You’ll need to make sure you trust that freelancers fully and that they understand the requirements. Also, there’s always the chance that your client might take a shine to them, which could be dangerous to your relationship with them. On the upside, a mutual agreement with another freelance to cover each other’s holiday time can be a win/win situation (as long as you’re not holidaying at the same time!). In theory, you can pay them a little less than you would, and still earn a bit, but I’m not entirely sure it’s the best way forward. This is a great option if you have a long-term relationship with a client.
D) Take your work with you
If you can do your job remotely, there’s nothing really stopping you taking your laptop with you and working wherever you go in the world.
Pros and Cons: Well, it’s not really a holiday then is it? But on the upside, you won’t lose out on earnings.
E) Take on extra work the month before or after
If you’re thinking of taking option B or C, you can make up for the lack of income during your holiday by taking on an extra project the month before or after.
Pros and Cons: It’s more work, but it makes up for that period of time when you couldn’t work.
How do you cope with taking holidays as a freelancer? Please feel free to leave your tips in the comments below!