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Take a Vacation When You Are Self Employed
Although it can seem like a terrible idea financially to take a vacation when you are self-employed or a freelancer, it is important to remember that getting stress and burnt-out is also a terrible idea.
Despite the importance of some degree of relaxation, back in 2014, only 57% of self-employed people planned on taking a vacation that year.
Even when the vacation is booked, instead of enjoying the run-up to the start of the vacation, many business owners are anxious about leaving their business alone for a week or two.
Unless you have managed to master the art and science of earning a passive income, then taking a vacation will, unfortunately, involve a loss of income to some degree.
Remember the Importance of Rest & Relaxation
Stress can have a huge impact on our emotional and physical wellbeing. Inflammation, muscle tension, an inability to focus – can all come as a result of overworking.
Even if you get your designated 8 hours of sleep each night, a high level of stress can cause you to feel tired and even depressed all of the time.
There are lots of things that you can do to help alleviate stress without having to take a vacation.
Daily exercise, meditation, and a brisk walk in nature have all be shown to increase feelings of happiness and wellbeing.
If you have a dog, a great way to reduce blood pressure and other markers of stress is to pet your dog for 15 minutes or so.
If you don’t own a dog, then a quick hug with a human is also scientifically to improve feelings of wellbeing and relaxation.
Give Notice to Clients
Give as much notice as possible to all of your clients and whomever you freelance too.
Three weeks’ notice is usually considered appropriate. However, this will depend on the nature of your work.
If possible, subtly remind them of your vacation around one week before it is due to begin and remember to set an Out-of-Office reply to give notice to anyone who emails you whilst you are away.
Consider Using a Virtual Assistant
Using a virtual assistant, can in general, be a great way to reduce stress and free up more time to do the core work of your business.
You can hire virtual assistants from virtually anywhere and any time zone in the World.
Depending on how much you’re willing to pay, you can hire assistants to complete simple data entry tasks or to manage your social media.
Ideally, it is best to set aside time to trial and vet 2 or 3 assistants before you look to use one long term.
Some entrepreneurs allow their assistants to answer simple emails and filter out anything spammy to ensure that their email inboxes are not overflowing and overwhelming whenever they return from a few days away from the office.
A temporary telephone answering service can also be a good idea whilst you are on vacation. This will ensure that any business calls are not missed.
You should also be able to instruct your ‘virtual receptionist’ to only put calls through to your mobile phone in case of emergency, allowing you to relax safe in the knowledge that you will be alerted to anything urgent.
If you are not keen on the idea of a virtual assistant handling your emails or leaving your clients to their own devices for a couple of weeks, then a working vacation could be a compromise.
Make sure that the hotel or resort that you are going to has access to the internet – if you are going hiking into the wilderness, for example, a working vacation might not be too practical!
You may also want to make use of some mobile phone apps such as Google Sheets, Docs, and Drive for doing work on the road/abroad or even something like Slack’s instant messaging tool – so that you can easily catch up with colleagues or employees back in the office.
If you choose this option, then it can help greatly to set yourself a schedule.
Perhaps you will get up early, answer emails and deal with phone calls early in the morning, before carrying out some work in the early afternoon.
At least then, you should be able to get some relaxation in the evening, knowing that everything appears to be ticking over okay.
How much work you do on vacation can depend on a few factors, but try and be honest about how much your business needs you, how much your family needs you (if you have one) and how much you need time to relax and switch off.