Being self-employed has so many advantages; you can run things your way and be in charge of all the major decisions. It’s empowering, it’s a huge sense of achievement and most of the time it’s great to be the boss.

You have poured blood, sweat, tears, stress and a vast amount of hours into building up your business – but what do you do about taking time off throughout the year? 

If you are self-employed, then taking even one day off means that the business potentially loses not only productivity hours but also revenue – or worse yet, clients.  

So how do you avoid working 52 weeks of the year, every year? How can you take time off for a family wedding, Christmas, a much-needed vacation and some of those public holidays too? Here are some handy tips to allow yourself some guilt-free and much-needed vacation time:

Plan ahead – way ahead

Booking far in advance to take a week or two off means that you can sufficiently warn your clients about the days you will be unavailable. That way, they have the opportunity to ask you to complete urgent jobs before you leave and there will be no shock or disappointment nearer the date, as they would have been forewarned.

You can plan to finish projects before your holiday, or you can have a notice displayed on your website or shop informing clients of the impending short-term closure.  If you have staff, you can ensure that they don’t take holidays on those dates.

Find your “low season”

Monitor your sales to see if you have high and low months or seasons – perhaps your business is based around occasions and holidays such as the wedding season or Christmas and New Year. If you repeatedly have a quiet April, then establish that as your holiday month – be it for a week or the entire month.

Get holiday cover for yourself

If you have employees, ask one of them to cover your absence – reward them with a bonus or a spa voucher as a token of appreciation. They will be grateful to prove themselves to you and to step up into a more responsible role.

If you don’t have staff, perhaps think of hiring a virtual assistant to answer calls and reply to emails on your behalf. Or ask a trusted family member if they could handle any urgent matters that may arise.

Choose your days off carefully

You don’t have to take off a traditional Monday to Sunday week – instead, try taking Thursday to Wednesday off. That way, you are available for clients in both of those weeks, whilst still allowing yourself an entire week off.

Instead of one or two weeks holiday, how about taking several 4-day breaks instead? Mini-breaks are incredibly beneficial so the more, the merrier.

A break will benefit your business

If you don’t give yourself some time off, eventually your business will suffer, because you will suffer. Depression, stress and anxiety are common in those who push through, overwork and neglect their wellbeing.

So you owe it to yourself and your business to take some mental and physical time off to recharge your batteries. Most or all of your clients will understand and you can set up out-of-office messages saying you will reply to any queries upon your return.

If needed, you can schedule emails, Instagram posts or Facebook ads whilst you are away, to keep your social media and business presence prominent.

And when you are officially “on holiday”, be sure to truly embrace it. Don’t keep checking your emails or glancing at your phone. Don’t panic about what might be happening in your absence, or the holiday won’t be of any benefit at all.

So, book some time off. You have earned the right to focus on you. Have a great holiday!