If you’re new to freelancing or running your own business, you probably have big dreams of jet setting, seeing the world, and working from anywhere. You can do that now – you’re the boss! But if you work on an hourly basis (as opposed to fixed price projects) you may have a harder time getting away because of 1) the lost income and 2) the fact that your work still needs to get done.
Fear not, dear freelancers! With a little planning you can take that dream vacation without getting fired for not updating that client’s blog. Here are a few of my personal travel tips:
Let your clients know well ahead of time – Give your clients the heads up that you are going on vacation as far ahead of time as you can. Send an email as soon as your travel dates are nailed down, and bring it up the next time you chat. Most clients really don’t care where you are in the world as long as you are getting their work done. Reassure them that this won’t be a problem.
Block off your calendar – This one probably seems obvious but I’ll mention it anyway. Block the time in your calendar so you don’t accidentally book a meeting for when you’re boarding a 5-hour flight. Send cancellation notices for meetings you already have scheduled (after you’ve discussed it with your client, of course). This also gives you a visual reminder of your upcoming getaway every time you open your calendar. So get stoked!
Make a plan – Are you going to be able to wrap up your projects before you go, or is your work more of the daily activity variety? Either way, you need to come up with a plan for fitting in more work in the days or weeks before you go, and how you’re going to get things done while you’re away. Write down all of your projects and tasks then make an action plan and schedule for each. I find Trello to be extremely useful for this. Get as much off of your to-do list as you possibly can before you board that plane, leaving only small tasks for while you’re away.
I typically try to finish larger pieces of content before I leave. I wrap up any upcoming blog posts, newsletters, graphics, campaign plans and reports. I also automate and schedule what I can with tools like Hootsuite, Edgar, and MailChimp so everything goes out on time, like a well-oiled machine. This way I’m left with smaller tasks to manage while I’m sipping coffee on a sun-soaked patio somewhere, and have more time to enjoy the sites.
Get setup to kick butt- If you’re going overseas you will want to make sure you have the right adaptors to plugin and run your equipment, or you run the risk of burning down your hotel and frying your laptop (I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t happen but I’m not going to test that out). When you arrive at your destination scope out a few spots that offer wifi and good coffee. Getting this out of the way when you get there could save you time wandering around looking for a signal when you have a looming deadline. And lastly, don’t be shy to lay some ground rules with your travel companions. If you’re traveling with friends or family that aren’t used to the freelance racket, they might not understand your schedule or your business needs. Set the expectation early on that you want to spend time with them, but you need a bit of time during the trip to hammer out some work.
Take a GD break once in a while – Seriously. You deserve it. Enjoy your time away and unplug from work. It can be super hard to step away from this business you’ve built, but it’s so important to take time off once in a while. Letting go will leave you feeling refreshed and recharged and you may even gain some new perspective while you’re gone.
If you put the work in ahead of time you will be able to enjoy your hard-earned vacation so much more without letting your clients down. So, where are you going on vacation first?