Vacationing Away From Your Freelance Business

by Rachel Goldstein

If you are a full-time freelancer then you probably have problems finding time to relax and get away from it all. However, getting away every now and then is essential for the long-term success of your business. Does taking a vacation sound impossible to you? Leaving home and your business doesn't have to be a disaster. Follow these steps and you can make your dream vacation happen.

1. BLOCK OFF CALENDAR - As soon as you decide to take a vacation, mark it off on your calendar. Additionally, make your vacation seem more "real" by booking your trip. This vacation can be your goal to work towards; you can look over at your calendar to cheer yourself up every time things get out of hand.

2. SAVE UP MONEY - Depending on how long you are planning to leave town, this vacation is going to cost you. As a freelancer, every day that you are gone is a day's pay that is lost. This is okay though, you can plan for this. If you have plenty of jobs to choose from, only take jobs that have a high pay rate. Or you can try taking on more work for a few weeks to pay for your vacation. Either way, use your time wisely when saving for your time off.

3. PREPARE CLIENTS FOR DEPARTURE - Prepare your clients early, and make sure that they mark the departure date in their calendars. Make sure not to give more than a month's notice or your clients might stop sending your work early on. A month is the most notice you should give. It is also a good idea to send reminder emails to your clients before you leave and after you return.

4. LINE UP WORK - It is important to line up a few gigs for your return, or you might have an extended vacation. You will need invoices coming in to pay for your vacation, so plan ahead. Ask current clients if they will have any new projects coming in the week you get back. And schedule some of your current projects to be resumed on your return.

5. SCHEDULE WISELY - The week before your vacation will be very hectic. Try to manage your time wisely the month before your vacation so that all of your work doesn't need to be completed the day before departure.

6. WHAT TO TAKE WITH YOU - If you can't schedule a complete vacation, what should you take with you? Well, if you need to take some work with you then you will need to set some boundaries. Only work a few hours in the early morning or late evening. You should still vacation with your family in a normal fashion during the day. The entire purpose of your vacation was to relax and this is what you should do.

Almost all freelancers need a laptop if they are working on a vacation. (If you are traveling to another country, don't forget your special adapters). Also, bring your cell phone for emergency contacts only. However, I recommend giving the hotel's phone number instead so you aren't intruded upon your entire vacation.

Try to do most of the legwork for your projects before you leave on vacation. Set "Office Hours" for yourself, and let your family know that this is time when they need to do their own thing.

7. MINI-GETAWAYS - If you are still finding it hard to image being able to escape for a full-vacation, consider taking a 3-day weekend. A 3-day vacation can rejuvenate you and prepare you for another few weeks of grueling work. Plan a fun vacation with NO interruptions. This can be refreshing, especially for a freelancer who isn't used to relaxing.

If you plan ahead, vacationing really isn't such as impossibility. Not only is it relaxing, but it really will increase your productivity when you get home. Happy Vacationing!