Hi, GDB readers! I’m back from a fantastic two-week cruise from Miami through the Panama Canal to San Diego. (My deepest apologies for my belated responses to your wonderful comments.)
So it IS possible, as a freelancer, to take a vacation.
Sometimes the thought of escaping reality can be scary, though. It’s easy to get so caught up in worrying that you ruin your vacation or decide never to go in the first place!
Answering these three questions will help you take the plunge and enjoy a fabulous adventure or plain old relaxation without the uneasiness of what to expect when you return.
Can I afford a vacation?
It’s hard to justify vacation when you’re struggling to pay the bills. When that surplus does come, sometimes it’s harder to overcome that fear of another lean month on the horizon.
Take a good look at your financial forecast for the coming months, and remember, a vacation doesn’t have to be expensive (my mom and I spent a week tent camping on the Oregon coast and had a blast for less than $400). Do you have any future projects planned? Can you make a few small tweaks to your business to create some extra income? Can your passive income cover the costs of vacation? Can your savings cover your expenses if you have a dry spell when you return?
Secret to Success: Open a free bank account specifically for vacation funds and start saving! Tuck just a few dollars away each month via automatic transfers so you aren’t tempted to spend that money elsewhere. Before you know it, you’ll be packing your bags!
What about my clients?
*Most* clients are people and, barring a time-sensitive project underway, will understand your need for a vacation. (If they don’t, maybe it’s time to fire them.)
Let your clients know well in advance about your vacation plans. This includes when you’re leaving, when you’ll be back, and how to contact you (if possible) while you’re out of town. Be open to any concerns they may have about their existing projects.
Secret to Success: I always give myself a one day buffer on either side of my vacation for preparation and re-entry into reality. So while I returned on Sunday, I told everyone except my closest friends I wouldn’t be back until Monday.
Will I have any work when I get back?
No matter whether you’re on vacation or not, this is always a concern for freelancers – where is my next paycheck coming from? On vacation, however, you’re not networking, blogging, commenting, or marketing.
Contact your repeat clients and ask to map out your projects for the coming months (if you don’t already know). It’s also a great time to check-in with some of your past clientele to see if you can book in advance another project from them, or if they can provide a referral.
Secret to Success: Prepare some of your social media ahead of time – set up tweets and pre-write blog posts prior to leaving. Set them to post while you’re out of the office so that you’re still receiving hits and reaching out while you’re gone.
Going on vacation is not only a great way to refresh our creativity and re-energize ourselves, it’s also fun, enriching, and often provides new sources of inspiration (and occasionally new clients!). So answer these three questions and start planning that getaway you deserve!
Have I missed anything? How do you plan for a vacation? Let us know in the comments on this post!