Switching from a conventional 9-5 job to freelancing in every kind of profession- from writing children’s book to web design, comes with all kinds of great new standards of life – and some real slaps in the face as well. For example, maybe you were shocked to discover that you no longer get paid for responding to emails, or sick days are a thing of the past, or just how much time and effort goes into finding new clients. With time, most freelancers who stick with their career change will learn to balance their time, charge their client’s enough to make their time worth it, and start produce better work faster. However, the one constant that is difficult for every freelancer is vacation time.
Once you’ve built up a list of good clients who regularly come to you for assignments, the last thing you want to do is lose one by spending time on the beach. In fact, many freelancers find it easier to just stay home and keep working, rarely going on vacations because 1) they enjoy their job and 2) it’s just too much effort to go on vacation. However, this can be detrimental to your psyche, and your spouses and family’s moods as well. So, start planning out how you will unleash operation vacation now, so that you can go enjoy a trip, get a reprieve from working, and still return home to a list full of happy clients ready to send work your way.
Step #1: Keep Up Your Quality
The first step to going on vacation without losing clients is to be a reliable freelancer in the first place. Only take assignments if you can meet the deadline and produce good work. By starting out from day one with quality and customer-service as your main missions, you will build up an arsenal of goodwill to cash out later at vacation time.
Step #2: Keep Your Contact List Updated
It can be tempting to just keep up with your work through email, writing down assignments only as they come in, but a current contact list is a great tool to have when vacation time rolls around. On this master list you should include client information, projects in the works, projects completed, and dates of all your assignments. This will make it a piece of cake to check out who you need to contact and let know you will be out of office, and who you can simply sign-off as a one-time project client you will most likely never hear from again unless you reach out to them.
Step #3: Give Everyone a Heads Up
Start planning your vacations at least six weeks in advance if possible. This will give you time to manage your schedule, get projects done early, and postpone less time-sensitive assignments until you get back. For your regular clients, let them know you will be out of town early on, but that you already have a plan in place to get their work done on time. The unfortunate truth is that you will probably have to do a few extra hours of work before vacation, and maybe a few extra hours after vacation to keep up, but that’s the price of working from home and being your own boss.
Step #4: Send Out One More Reminder and an OOF
Last but not least, send one more reminder you will be out of office, with details of where you can be reached in case of emergency (if you want to) the day before vacation. Then, add an auto-respond email that will pronounce you out of office for the dates you are away.
Step #5: Enjoy Your Vacation
Seriously, take a break from work and enjoy yourself.
Step #6: Jump Right Back In
When you return from your trip, jump right back into your assignments and reach out to clients for more work. It will be tempting to just do laundry, and mope around a little, but the sooner you get back into the swing of thing the better.
About the Author:
Roy K works for Design Pax. The company provides web site design services in high quality all over the world.