The average workweek for full-time workers in Jamaica is 40 hours across seven days. The standard workday is eight hours. But for freelancers, it’s common to work 10–12 hours per day, six or seven days per week.
This leaves very little time for other activities, especially if you’re trying to grow your business. For this reason, it’s very important to take vacations.
Vacations are important for rejuvenating your mind and body, but it’s tough to take time off when you’re self-employed or own a small business.
You’re responsible for everything, even when you’re on vacation. That includes fielding emails, completing projects, and answering phone calls.
In this post, I'll outline several tips on how to take a vacation, while keeping your clients happy and receiving your payments.
Make sure there is no outstanding work
If you’re leaving town soon, it’s important to make sure there is no outstanding work left to do while you’re away.
For example, those logo changes you promised to send over a few days ago or handing over the login information for the website you just finished.
As a freelancer, you’re the sole worker at your company, meaning that when you go on vacation, there’s no one there to pick up your work.
So, as a precaution, ensure that all final artwork is handed off and all urgent emails are responded to BEFORE getting on the plane.
Send your clients a vacation notice at least two weeks ahead of time.
This is a major cliché, but I’m sure you know how important communication is for your business.
When you’re planning to go on vacation, you need to let your clients know that you won’t be available for a few days.
This is what is known as a vacation notice.
The last thing that a freelancer would want is to experience a loss of clients due to lack of communication.
An easy way to let all your clients know about your absence is by sending a mass email through any mainstream email service or using a newsletter tool like MailChimp.
If you primarily use Chat Apps like WhatsApp or Telegram, you can use their broadcast features to notify those clients.
WARNING: Do not send mass emails while close copying everyone, use the Blind Carbon Copy feature instead.
Set up an email autoresponder
This is an effective strategy for freelancers going on vacation and it’s also one of the easiest.
Why? Because it’s a simple way to make clients aware of the changes to your schedule and not worry about your absence.
With an email autoresponder, you make sure that every client who emails you while you’re away will get an answer from you immediately.
Usually telling them that you’re currently away and that they can reach you later.
This reassures your customers that you aren’t gone away for good and that they won’t have to look for another freelancer to do the job.
Most popular email providers like Gmail and Outlook provide autoresponders for vacations or out-of-office notices. Be sure to test the email responses before leaving for your vacation.
Set up a voicemail
When you’re on vacation, you want people to know that your business is still operational, but you don’t want to be stuck in the office, answering emails and calls all day.
Still, a lot of your clients will feel a bit lost if they don’t hear from you for a week.
To help them, you can leave a short voicemail message telling them that you’ll be out of the office for a week, but you’ll be available to take calls and emails when you get back.
This will help your clients feel a bit more comfortable and it’ll also help you relax a bit more knowing that you’re not going to be bombarded with calls and emails while on vacation.
Examples of Absence Voicemail Greetings
‘Hi, this is Bruce Wayne. I’m currently out of town and will be returning on date xyz. If you leave me a message that includes your name, cellphone number and reason for calling, I will return your call when I get back.’
Even more resources for voicemail templates:
Paying your subscriptions
You can’t run a successful freelance business if you don’t stay on top of your finances. The last thing you want is to be out of the office for a week and come back to a pile of bills.
Paying your bills on time is critical for business owners as any disruption in your service can lead to frustrated clients, unwanted headaches and often expensive renewal fees.
For website designers and developers, make sure your client domains and hosting are taken care of, offsite back-ups are stored somewhere secure and all SaaS subscriptions are covered.
For graphic designers and illustrators, make sure your design tool subscriptions are going to be valid throughout the length of your vacation.
Always have a solid back-up plan for your business before you leave – and don’t forget to pay your outstanding bills so you don’t lose your clients to a pile of overdue notices.
In conclusion, I think it’s important to remember that you are more than just your job.
If you take time off, don’t fret that your clients or potential clients will forget about you or decide that you’re unreliable. That may happen, but that’s their problem, not yours. What you need to do is take care of yourself.
If you want to take a vacation, go ahead, but do what you can to let your clients know that you’re taking a short break and will return soon.