After a thoroughly relaxing month off (well, minus the day that my bike was stolen off our car in Missoula, Montana…but that’s another story!), I’m back in the office as of today. As usual, the complete break from work really cleared my head and gave me some good new perspectives on where I’d like my freelance business to head in the remaining half–well, almost half–of 2018. My family spent the month of July on an epic mountain biking road trip from our home in Boulder, Colorado, to the wilds of British Columbia, including such mountain biking hotspots as Vancouver’s North Shore, Squamish, Whistler, Kamloops, and Rossland. Although Italy will always have a special place in my heart as a biking destination, BC was pretty incredible and we’re already plotting a return trip in the not-too-distant future.
I’ve beaten this drum many times, but just as a refresher, here’s how you take real vacations as a freelancer:
- Make sure that you’re charging enough for your freelance services that you can afford to take time off
- Create a paid vacation account, and–either routinely or periodically–deposit money into that account, then use the stored balance to pay yourself during the time that you’re not working
- Alert your clients that you will be on vacation, and provide them with the name of at least one trusted colleague who can fill in for you while you’re away
- Put your trusted colleague’s contact information on your e-mail auto-responder and your voicemail, so that clients aren’t left in the lurch when you’re not available
- UNPLUG. Trust me, it’s possible, if you set things up properly in advance. I’ve been taking a month off in the summers for almost 10 years, and to my knowledge, I’ve never lost a client because of it. No one is indispensable, and time off–even if you take a week instead of a month–is critical to your mental and physical health.
Happy summer to all of you, and I look forward to what’s ahead in the rest of 2018!