Saturday, 5 October 2013

Out Of Office - you can do it

With Elli, Zante, Summer 2013
As a freelancer, can you ever possibly take a holiday?

So I'm comparing tans and my friend ( the puny one) says, ‘So how come you keep taking all these holidays?’
 ’Cos my boss said I could.’ I smirk.
My pithy repost was met with a sigh of exasperation.

Obviously what my mate meant was, ‘So how on earth do you manage both to afford and to maintain client service levels when you are away for much of the summer and you are just a humble freelancer and therefore at everyone’s beck and call 365 days a year?’ 

With Mum and Elli, Devon, Summer 2013
But one of the main reasons I went freelance was to get closer to a good work/life balance. And I'm guessing that's why you did too and spending time with the people that matter most is a big part of that. I can't imagine you turned freelance to earn loads of money - so once the bills are paid, ‘affording’ to take time off is really just a matter of priorities. New bike, or a cycling holiday? New wardrobe, or a tan? It does help that I usually share the work I have got, so it's easy enough to ask one of the collective to be at the other end of the line if a client needs urgent advice while I'm away.

WIth Moby, Cornwall, Summer 2013

I fear that some freelancers just enslave themselves to their desks due to lack of faith, both in their own worth and the proverbial uncertainty of the future, rather than any real concrete reason. Do your best the rest of the year to look after a good client and a good client will look after you - afterall who needs a bad client?

With Lynne and Elli, Italy, Summer 2013

It should be remembered that the proverbial lament of the self-employed, ‘If I don’t work, I don’t get paid.’ Can be flipped on its head to also mean, ‘If I’m ok with not getting paid, I can take time off.’ 

So this year I did. 

Time off in search of half term sunshine on a farm in Greece, country house coddling in Snowdonia, the annual 50 miles trek around another bit of the Cornish Coast, armed with a dongle, we holed up in Devon for weeks and then went quite AWOL on a vast eating tour of Puglia. 

With Elli and that buffalo steak, Italy, Summer 2013
Ok so the blogging, the marketing, the banking, and the admin, the networking, the reading, erm they are in need of tending - but the clients and I are back on track and the house hasn't been repossessed, theres plenty of time for filing when it's cold.

Never lose focus on why you went freelance. It’s all too easy to constantly be hunting down your next job, but the people (and animals) you love are right here, waiting for you to switch off that laptop..

For more blogs on the freelance work/life balance:
Freelance Glorious Freelance - how to survive the feast and famine diet
Happy freelance birthday to me - I am two
Happy freelance birthday to me -I am one

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