Freelancing has a sneaky ability of working its way into more than just your professional life. If you don’t moderate your time and effort output, any semblance of a personal life has an alarming tendency to evaporate. There always seems to be that little “what if” fear of making enough income, doing all the things that it takes to be prosperous into the future.
However, as we all know (perhaps, a bit too well) depleted energy makes for a cranky and unproductive freelancer. Take comfort in the fact that yes, with some careful planning, you can temporarily put your freelance business on a successful autopilot while you have the worry-free, rejuvenating vacation you deserve.
Delegate tasks to a trustworthy few. Your business structure might be solitary, or very much a collaborative effort. If the latter happens to be more your style, then a partner or employee should be at the ready to keep things running smoothly. Don’t be afraid to leave detailed instructions and/or spreadsheets for the sake of clarity – better too much than too little.
Try to alternate vacations so that the entire operation doesn’t give way to any sort of stagnancy. In fact, if you’re the boss with an employee or two, it’s always a good idea to train them right upon hiring to take over those tasks most crucial to maintaining the business in the event of any such absences.
Know when to (mostly) let go. If you’re fully on your own, then for your own wellbeing you must accept that client/customer questions will have to wait until you return. It’s easy enough to have the post office hold your physical mail.
As for “all things electronic,” checking business emails/DMs/comments is most definitely not the stuff of relaxation, nevermind vacation. Set up filters for comment moderation. Make good use of autoresponders and general away messages on each main page of your online presence, and even any phone voicemail. Direct people to a resource pages where applicable in the hopes that their questions answer themselves.
All of this being said there might be times business simply can’t be ignored – this is especially true if you plan to be on vacation for upwards of a month or more. In such situations, try to set aside an hour or so once per week on average to address the most pressing concerns accordingly.
Make sure that you set boundaries as best you can. If clients/customers are being impatient, demanding, and generally inconsiderate, consider whether they’re necessary to maintain contact with in the first place.
Understand links between possibilities and progress. If your freelance business is within its first year or two, you could very well be utterly exhausted in your quest to optimize everything. Don’t make stress-fueled “I must get away now” decisions, particularly if you’re still building a client base.
Weekend getaways/staycations can be just as restful. Just starting to see a lucrative horizon? Budget so that you have what you need to be comfortable during these shorter jaunts, but always have a little to put in savings after. None of this should be the stuff of sandcastles.
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