You may have some trouble finding the time or finances to take a vacation when you own your own business or work as a freelancer. The idea of taking your family to another country for a week or two may seem impossible when you have so many responsibilities. You don’t want to let your business falter or leave your customers without your services for so long that they look for someone else.
With the right planning, however, you may be able to take the time to get away and still be able to come back to a thriving business. Here are some suggestions for how to make that happen.
This post is part of our family travel advice series
Let Your Customers Know in Advance
As someone who is self-employed, you cherish each and every one of your clients. You don’t want to leave them high and dry and deprive them of necessary services, if you can help it. You know how precious your clients are to your business, so you want to take them into consideration when you are making your vacation plans.
The customers who come to you for regular business are the ones you want to contact first about your plans. You don’t necessarily need to plan your vacation around them and change dates for their benefit, but you can ask your clients if there is any work they need done before you leave.
Let them know how long you will be gone, and then be prepared to get back to work immediately once you get home. If you handle your customers with consideration in regard to your vacation plans, they will definitely appreciate it and will likely be able to work with you to make your vacation possible.
Check Messages Daily
Even if you are traveling somewhere remote on vacation, you will probably need to find a way to connect to the Internet periodically. It’s a good idea to check your emails and messages at least once a day so that you keep in touch with your clients and stay on top of your business.
You probably won’t need to devote more than about 30 minutes a day to answering messages and getting updates on your business. You can check in on those messages at Internet cafes or at a hotel if you’re having trouble getting an Internet connection where you are at.
By responding to messages within 24 hours, you will keep your customers happy and keep things moving along smoothly for your business.
Plan Vacations in Your Budget
One of the trickiest parts of making a vacation happen as someone who’s self-employed is that you need to budget your spending. A lot of freelancers and small business owners live from week to week on what they earn, and if that’s true for you as well, you’ll need to start saving a little bit every time you get paid. Put those savings toward your vacation so that you’re not hurting for money when you are traveling with your family.
Your kids will likely want to make some purchases and visit some attractions, and you’ll need to pay for accommodations, travel, food, and all the other expenses involved with going on vacation. As you budget out the money you are going to save, you also need to budget the vacation, figuring out how much everything is going to cost and giving yourself a little extra money for unexpected expenses.
Bookend the Vacation with Extra Work
If you’re the kind of self-employed worker who rarely takes a day off, you may find it difficult to carve out the time for a vacation. What you may need to do is work extra before you leave and then put in extra hours when you get back as well. That may mean working some weekends and evenings when you’re not used to doing that, but it can be worth it to take time off with your family for a vacation.
When your biggest challenge in taking a vacation as a family is finding the time for it rather than the money, then you may need to find someone to cover some of your responsibilities to give yourself extra time for work. Be prepared to hire Jacksonville cleaners (or professional cleaners wherever you are) to tidy your home, so you have extra time to work. You can hire a babysitter and hire landscapers to take care of some of your outside chores.
It won’t really be much of a vacation if you are doing work all through the vacation. That’s why we recommend only checking messages once a day. If that’s not absolutely necessary, then don’t force yourself to check in on your business daily. Do everything you can to disconnect from the work-life while you are on vacation.
It’s important that you take some time to get away from your work and de-stress, and you should also try to be present with your children. They are looking forward to spending the time with you, so make sure you are setting boundaries with your work life so that you and your family can get the most out of the vacation.
You Don’t Have to Go Big
Many self-employed people have trouble putting together a lot of money at once for anything in their life. you should not feel compelled to take a big, expensive vacation. Why go to another country when there are exciting adventures to be had somewhere close by?
A camping trip can be a great way to get away without spending a lot of extra money. Simply going to a hotel a few towns over can feel like a vacation, especially if you take in some of the local attractions. Look for vacation spots within a few hours’ drive from where you live or a short plane ride away. You can still have your vacation adventure without emptying your bank account.
Taking that vacation with your family does not have to be impossible, if you plan well and work within your budget to make it happen.
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