How to Plan for a Long Vacation from Your Freelancing Business

european-vacationMy last post was about taking a spur-of-the moment vacation where working was still a necessity.

Most of the time, however, with a little proper planning you can actually take an extended break and enjoy a vacation without having to worry about the work back home.

For example, my wife and I will soon be taking a six-week European vacation as a second honeymoon. My goal on this trip is to enjoy my time off and to work as little as possible.

As you can imagine, taking this much time off from my freelancing business took a lot of planning, preparation and hard work.

In this post, I’ll share the steps I took to plan for my long vacation freelancing. You can use these steps to plan your own vacation.

Six Steps to Help You Plan Your Vacation

Here six steps to help you plan a break from freelancing:

  1. Wrap up all active projects. If you’re going to be taking more than a few days off, it’s a good idea to wrap up all your current projects. You don’t want your clients wondering about the status of their work or getting frustrated that a project was left half-complete.
  2. Warn your clients. Starting two to three months before you leave, you should start warning your clients about your upcoming break. They may have a big project for you that they can push ahead or plan around. You don’t want them being surprised when they call with a big project a day or two before you leave, then being disappointed you can’t get to it.
  3. Plan for work ahead of time. A long break will mean that when you get back to work, you’ll have to hit the ground running to make sure your cash reserves don’t get too low. Have some projects waiting to get started when you get back.
  4. Plan for emergencies. As a web guy, I unfortunately can never totally cut myself off. Servers sometimes crash, or clients accidentally break something in their CMS that I need to correct. For these types of emergencies, I’m bringing along my netbook. It is not a good enough computer to actually get work done, but it’s good enough for small tasks I’ll need to fix.
  5. Have a backup person. Hopefully you know of another local freelancer who can help with your business and potential new clients while you’re away. In my case, I’ll be traveling overseas where answering my phone for American clients will cost a couple bucks per minute. I can direct that number to my backup who can handle potential client leads in my absence.
  6. Try not to worry. Most of us freelancers live to be productive. Most of the time, we’re doing what we love for a living, so it feels strange and foreign to take time off from it. I personally struggle with taking time off from work. But, at the same time, I understand the importance of breaks. It’s been almost two years since I’ve taken more than a few days off in a row, so it is a big goal of mine to not spend any time worrying about work or business.

Of course, six weeks is a pretty long break for a full-time freelancer, but these same rules can be used for shorter, one to two week vacations too.

What About You?

We got some good answers when we asked if you worked on vacation, but for those of you who do take extended periods off, how do you prepare?

Leave your answers in the comments.

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