The Profitable Freelancer’s Guide to Taking Every Holiday Off
One of the goals of maintaining a profitable freelance business is to sock away enough of your revenue to pay yourself to take holidays off. If you’re a full-time writer and you think that taking paid holidays is a pleasure accorded only to the traditionally employed, you’re missing out on a magical, entertaining world in which you too can relax with friends and family on all the days the banks are closed.
Step 1: Put yourself on a payroll
If you’re emptying out your business account each month and not leaving anything in for emergencies, opportunities, taxes and benefits, you’re not allowing yourself to be profitable. When you pay yourself the same way a traditional employer would—with a regular paycheck and tax withholding—you can start accumulating a small savings during those months that you earn more than you need. That savings can be used for lots of stuff, including holiday pay.
Step 2: Mind your deadlines
When you set a book deadline or give your clients deadlines, make sure you first consult a calendar that has a listing of all holidays recognized in your country. As a self-employed loner, you probably won’t be counting the hours until your next holiday break (because your job is so awesome) so it’s easy to forget that a holiday is imminent. By seeing it on the calendar you can avoid setting deadlines on that date or the day after, thus ensuring a leisurely, relaxing day.
Step 3: Work ahead
Freelancers often have daily deadlines that they can’t exactly cancel for a holiday. Indie authors often have crushing deadlines for their next book requiring a firm 2,000-10,000 words a day. If there’s a holiday coming up and you can’t just skip a deadline, spread out that day’s work onto multiple days a week or two in advance of the holiday so that you can turn it in early or, for indie authors, relax knowing your word count is right on target.
Step 4: Out of office
It’s not a real day off if you spend your hours worried that you’re going to miss an important email or upset a client off by not responding to them immediately. Use your email service’s vacation response/out-of-office tool to let everyone know that you’ll be out for the day. Be sure to set reasonable expectations about when you’ll be responding to emails received during your absence.
It’s easy for full-time writers to assume they have to stay chained to their desks at all times, especially during the first year or two of self-employment. But if you want to be happy, healthy, and really productive, you need to allow yourself some freedom to take time off and enjoy your family and friends—or just read a good book.