How to take time off from your freelance work

How to take the real holiday from your freelance business

When you run a freelance business, it might be difficult to take time off. The freedom to work from any place brings the temptation to take your work with you, wherever you go. But if you are your own boss, you probably need the real holiday more than anyone else.

So, how can you fully unplug from your freelance business? How to stop trying to combine your work with sightseeing, climbing, sunbathing, socialising and simply rest from the daily grind?


Here are some methods that may come in handy:


1. Make a budget

The biggest downside of working freelance is the lack of paid time off. But you can easily cope with it by preparing for expected and unexpected breaks. As a rule of thumb, you should always have a safety net to get ready for the worst-case scenario such as a sudden loss of clients, late payments or health issues. When planning your financial cushion, make sure to add an extra number for your yearly holiday as well.


In this way, you’ll be able to figure out how to absorb a potential loss of income while you’re away and you’ll know how much you can spend on your journeys. Even better, make sure your business can generate profit without the constant exchange of your time and skills. Think about passive income, such as online courses, books, e-books, website or graphic templates, or other online products and services. In such a scenario, it will be much easier to take time off as you’ll be earning money even if you’re far away from your screen and your office.


2. Inform your customers

Once you set the date for your holiday, remember to inform your regular customers about your absence. Send them a message well in advance and then remind them about your holiday several days before you leave. They might have forgotten about your plans even if you communicated it earlier. Use this opportunity to ask if there’s anything else you could do for them before your trip and let them know if you’ll be fully unavailable or checking your e-mails/taking calls periodically. You can also arrange coverage—another freelancer from your field of expertise—who could take over any urgent projects while you’re away. In this case, provide your customers with the contact data of your colleague to ensure seamless service.

Finally, don’t forget to set an out-of-office message informing how long you will be gone and when to expect a response.


3. Schedule your marketing

Before you leave on your well deserved holiday take some time to schedule your marketing campaigns such as social media posts, blog articles, podcast episodes or newsletters. You can use tools such Hootsuite, Sendible or Sprout Social to plan your content in advance and keep interacting with your target audience.

Otherwise you might lose momentum when you’re gone. Depending on how long your break is, you could also lose some of your fans and followers disappointed by your sudden silence. If you put your marketing on hold, your potential clients may end up turning to your competitors, so make sure you prepare enough content to keep sparking their interest.


No matter how and when you decide to plan your time off, the key step is to understand that you deserve a real break from work. Taking care of yourself means taking care of your business—you don’t need long and fancy holiday to be able to recharge your batteries, but you do need to take your mind off your work to gain some perspective, enjoy quality time with your family and friends, and get inspired by new people, events or places.


So, how are you planning to prepare for your next real holiday?



P.S. I share more tips on establishing the right approach to your freelance work in my free e-book “How to make the best use of your time”.

And if you’re looking for advice on how to juggle your freelance business with motherhood, have a look at my book “You’ve got this: How to continue your freelance career when you become a mother.


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.