If you’re dreaming of holidays right now, you’re not alone. Yet freelancers are notorious for foregoing holidays. Though you might be insanely busy in the lead up to the end of the year, this might be a good time to start thinking about your next trip.
Many businesses are currently putting the finishing touches on their business plans an strategies for 2012. This information could help you choose a time—and make your own plan—to take a vacation in the coming year.
Recently, a few of my clients have shown me their plans for the coming year. While their timeframes are rough, they brought home to me the fact that there are certain times in the coming year when I’ll be needed.
That’s great news. It lets me know which periods are likely to be busiest, so I can plan other client work accordingly. But knowing these plans also gives me some idea of when I might be able to save some extra cash to get away and take a break of my own.
Asking for plans
There’s no need to feel uncomfortable asking clients about their plans for working with you in the coming year.
Explain that you want to make sure that you’re available when they need you—and that you realize their plans aren’t set in concrete and may change—and they’ll appreciate your foresight and care.
The more clients you ask, the more clearly you’ll be able to see which times of the year might be good candidates for work, savings, and a break.
Time and money
You don’t just need the time off—you’ll also need the cash available to pay for the vacation, pay your bills at home while you’re away, and potentially provide a buffer if your break will reduce your invoicing for the month after you return.
So knowing when your clients will need you is good from a cash-planning point of view, too. While you may not be able to draw up a savings plan on the strength of your clients’ rough project timeframes, they will give you some idea of the times of year when you might be able to save a bit extra.
Depending on how your bank balance is looking right now, you might need to wait until the latter half of next year, for example, until you’ll have both the time and the savings to take time off.
Time to commit
Once you’ve made these plans, there’s only thing left to do: commit to your time off.
At the moment, your vacation plans might be little more than a vague timeframe: I’ll take three weeks around September-October. Okay. Why not block out that time in your calendar now? Although the time itself may be movable, at least you’ll have a big, colorful reminder in your schedule that you promised yourself a break then.
As you come to schedule work for those months, you’ll be easily able to ensure that your holiday period is protected—if you want to, that is. The other element in taking a vacation is committing to the idea that taking this break is important if you’re going to keep building your business.
You’ll likely have to knock back (or at least delay) some work to go on holiday; get committed now, and you’ll find that much easier to do as the ravages of deadlines threaten to eat away at your precious vacation.
When was the last time you took a vacation? Do you have one planned for 2012?