Your guide to going on holiday as self-employed

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Think it’s time you went on a holiday? Getting away from it all is a big highlight in the calendar for many of us. But what if you’re one of the 5 million self-employed people in the UK? It’s not as simple as downing tools and going away for a couple of weeks. Not when you don’t get paid holiday leave or have colleagues who can pick up in your absence.

But it doesn’t mean you can’t – or even shouldn’t – take a holiday. It may need a bit of careful planning, sure. But that’s where we can point you in the right direction with our handy guide.

You deserve a holiday

First, the theory. You totally deserve a holiday – despite the fact it might seem hard to do. Like anyone else, you need time to relax and unwind every now and then. A change of scene – even if it’s just for a day or two – can see off the threat of burnout. And that’s an even bigger risk to your business as a self-employed worker than some time off. So, recharge those batteries.

Planning makes perfect

Right, let’s get into the practice. If you’re self-employed, the chances are that planning is quite a key part of what you do. It’s knowing when your tax return is due or how you’re getting from Finsbury Park to Hitchin for your next client meeting.

So, plan ahead for your holiday and know what needs covering off before you go. This could be prioritising project deadlines, rearranging meetings, letting your clients know and making sure you have work to come back to – so there’s money coming in as soon as you return.

Don’t forget to set an out-of-office email and schedule in some social media posts too.

Don’t miss out by fear of missing out

You could well be nervous about taking a break because you’ll end up missing up on “The Job”. But it’d have to be a pretty big deal to put an assignment ahead of your wellbeing. And surely any client worth working for is willing to be fine with the fact you’re taking a short holiday and wait for you to return. As long as you cover that in your planning, you’ve nothing to fear.

If you must, take the work with you

It’s a compromise – fine. But, sometimes, you can’t avoid working while away. The main thing is not to let it dominate your holiday. Schedule a little work time around your downtime. Don’t do it the other way round. So, if work simply can’t wait ‘til you get back, perhaps check in with emails at the start of a day and then you’re free to do as you wish with the rest of your time.

Ultimately, taking a holiday when self-employed is knowing when to let go for just a short time. It’s essential that you get your own slice of rest and recuperation. It’ll stand you in good stead in the long-term – but it’s also your reward in the short-term for all that work you’ve done too.

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John is a serial entrepreneur and writer who is passionate about helping small businesses launch and grow. His work has been featured in Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and Forbes.