holiday

  • Are you working MORE now you’re freelance?

    freelance hours

    A common misconception about being freelance, is that we have a chilled approach to work, waking when we fancy, working in front of This Morning, potter off somewhere for work and never work weekends. Right?

    Nah. NAH. If you’re freelance, you know this isn’t the case. In fact, I’ve always suspected most freelancers work far more now they’re their own boss, than they ever did in their traditional job. New research from Crunch has back this up, showing that the self-employed work an extra 14 hours per week compared to employed workers. That’s an extra month a year!

    There were a few other interesting stats that came out of the research, commissioned by online accounting firm Crunch as part of its Safety in Numbers Report:

    • January is the most stressful month of the year, for a third of respondents. Well, it is self-assessment deadling month!
    • We suck at taking time off. Independent workers take half the average holiday allowance of employees.
    • We don’t work 9-5. Over a third (39%) start the working day before 8am and six per cent even clock in between 4am – 5am. A further 43% are still working after 10pm, with women more likely to work later into the night than men.

    It’s not all bad news. Part of the reason we work harder is because we simply have more to do – marketing, finance, admin, sales etc. But it’s also because we actually like what we do.

    Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

    Confucius

    If you are struggling this January, Crunch are trialling a helpline between 4:00am-8:30pm between Monday 29th and Wednesday 31st January on 03332226070, with loads of professional support for freelancers facing tax return wobbles.

    I’d love to know how you get on with work hours and taking holidays. Is balance something you struggle with?

    (Note: Not a sponsored post, I just found these stats really interesting)

  • A very overdue holiday

    cruise

    By the time you read this, I’ll hopefully be all checked in to my honeymoon cruise with my new hubby and preparing to sail around places like Oslo, St Petersberg and Tallin for a whole 13 days. Hopefully with a ridiculous cocktail in my hand. Bliss.

    I’ve been on a few 3-4 day breaks over the last few years, but this is the first proper holiday I’ve been on in over five years – and the husband’s first in over a decade. To say it’s overdue is an overstatement. Not least because I haven’t been practicing what I preach about taking breaks.

    The very best bit? There will be no wifi and very little signal. So I really won’t be able to work while I’m away. My iPhone will be getting a proper break too. While this wasn’t the only reason we went for a cruise (hello unlimited buffet and onboard crazy golf), it’s certainly a great perk.

    I’ve got a couple of posts scheduled to go up over the next couple of weeks, so it won’t be entirely quiet here. And I’m sure I’ll be back with a notebook full of post ideas.

    When was the last time you took a proper holiday from freelancing?

  • Weekly Freelance Challenge: Planning time off for Christmas

    Christmas is just around the corner. Frankly, I’ve been counting down the days since August, this is an acceptable level of Christmas craziness, yes? Our thoughts are turning to the ton of gift-buying, turkey-cooking, chocolate-consuming in the weeks ahead. If you’re freelance, chances are you’re also thinking about winding down your workload so you can have a little time off over Christmas.

    Here’s how this usually works out for me:

    • 1st December: Hurrah, just a few weeks to Christmas! All this work will totally be done by then. Think I’ll take a gift shopping break. And make some mince pies.
    • 8th December: Ah, extra workload from clients wanting to get things done before the new year.
    • 15th December: Writes To Do list of everything to do in the next ten days. Begins to panic.
    • 24th December: AAAAAAH ALL THE WORK TO DO IN AND STILL DOING IT! At this stage, I’m a grumpy, snappy mess. Not exactly feeling the festive cheer.

    This won’t be happening this year. This year, I have a plan. It’s foolproof*. It includes doing the following:

    • Ask clients for their expected workload at the end of November, to plan ahead and work out how much time I’ll need. Be firm that additional work can only be requested up until the 8th December.
    • Email all clients to let them know which days I won’t be working over the holiday period.
    • Try to get ahead in that first week, by clearing my diary and focussing on getting ahead as much as possible.
    • Accepting that this won’t be the time to start new projects. January is that time.
    • Plan each day. Now is the time to get super-organised and plan out each day to make sure you’re as efficient as possible.

    Is this your first Christmas as a freelancer? Or are you a seasoned pro? How are you going to plan ahead for the Christmas working period?

    *There will still be panicking. There will always be panicking. Just less of it.

  • How to take a holiday when you’re freelance

    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!