How to take holiday when you are a freelancer

How to get back on your freelancing track after a long holiday?

When you’re a freelancer, taking holiday comes with unique challenges. For example, you might be wondering how to:

1) take the real time off without losing your customers,

2) keep busy when your customers are on holiday, or

3) get back to work smoothly after a long break.


Number 1 is quite straightforward. All you need to do is to plan your finances in advance to be able to take unpaid time off. Then, inform your customers that you’re away, maybe also arrange coverage to take over your projects. Finally, set your out-of-office message, schedule your social media posts and off you go (more about preparing for the real holiday in this article).


Number 2 is not so complicated either. If you’re in a business for a while, you’ve probably noticed which months are slower. Maybe it’s winter, when the event and wedding season dies down and no one needs your photography services. Maybe it’s summer, when your customers are on holiday and your graphic design or translation projects disappear with them as well. Once you figure out what’s your regular downtime, simply adjust to your clients. Travel when they’re away or when the peak season is over.


Now, let’s look at number 3.

How to get back on your freelancing track after a long holiday?

After a long break, usually two things happen. You can either be extremely motivated to get back into full freelancing mode or extremely tired and unwilling to go back to the old routine. No matter which category you fall into, have a look at the tips below to make your transition as smooth as possible.


1. Take it easy

Whether you’re tired or motivated—one thing is sure. You won’t accomplish much by rushing or setting unrealistic expectations. Make a to-do list for the first week after your holiday, but don’t overfill it. I used to squeeze a lot for the first day after returning to office, only to find out that 80% of these activities have to be pushed somewhere towards the end of the week.

Reaching out to your customers, going through your inbox, catching up with the industry news or working on urgent requests—there’s always something that will keep you busy once you’re back from your holiday. Start your work slowly and gradually add more items to your schedule in the following days. In this way you can transition smoothly into your full freelancing mode and avoid getting overwhelmed.


2. Change your environment

To keep your energy level high for longer, start from introducing changes. Maybe you can rearrange your home office, clean it thoroughly, add some holiday touch to it (pictures, flowers etc.), maybe even trade your old workspace for a new location. If you’re tired from working from home, explore cafes, parks, or work spaces nearby. That’s a great opportunity to meet new people who might become your potential clients one day.

Remember to change your online environment too. Think about updating your website and social media profiles or come up with a new marketing strategy. Small changes make a big difference, so tweak your online presence to get a fresh start.


3. Set new goals

Holidays create an amazing opportunity to step back and reconsider your goals. With no stressful deadlines or complicated requests, you can finally realign with your priorities. Maybe even travel inwards to find that silent voice reminding you what you really want. If you’re inspired to change your route, set new goals to focus on what truly matters.

No matter if it’s working less hours, generating more passive income, attracting more customers, learning new skills, or increasing your profit—new goals and new perspective will help you come back to office with extra motivation. In this way you can also beat the post-holiday blues and find energy to start planning your next recess.


When you run a freelance business, the idea of leaving everything behind to enjoy your time off might sound overwhelming. But with the right action plan you’ll be able to prepare for your break, savor every moment of it and then switch back smoothly to your full freelancing mode.


So, when are you taking your next holiday?


Dorota helps digital brands infuse their content with a local touch. She is a localization consultant, translator specialized in IT, prompt engineer, and a book author. Dorota teaches online courses on localization, writes for her blog and a Medium publication. She also runs a Small Biz AI, a Substack newsletter for freelancers and small business owners ready to discover handy AI tools.