When you are self-employed taking a holiday is really quite scary and can take a bit of organising. When I’m not working I’m not earning but at the same time I literally NEED to take a break for my own sanity. Holiday’s even in the UK, are expensive, not only the initial outlay but also spending money and when your not actually working you can see why “over 25 per cent of small business owners take fewer than five days leave each year, with 15 per cent taking none at all.” (Simply Business, 2018) This is especially true when you are a sole trader or freelancer, without someone else to run the business whilst you are away, and in our house there are two sole traders. Add that too 3 children who need feeding, clothing and the thought of taking a holiday becomes even scarier.
FreeAgent’s 2016 micro business study suggests that whilst “74% of the business owners surveyed felt they had a good work/life balance, many still had to work long hours with no time for a proper break. Nearly a third of respondents said they worked over 48 hours per week on their business, while 44% said they hadn’t felt in a position to take a holiday in the last six months.” That is an awful thought.
Now I’ve fully terrified you it’s time to stop and remember the why. Why do you run a small business? For me it’s to enable myself to be a full time mum, never miss a school event, not be stressing in the holidays over work and to ultimately live the life I want. Which when you have those stupid adult things to contend with like bills isn’t always easy.
Planning your business for a holiday :
Unlike employed families whereby they just book time off with their employer, a self-employed holiday can take a bit of extra planning. For us I find paying for things upfront helps, days out, excursions, parking – not only can you get a small discount paying in advance but whilst you’re still at home you can work a few extra jobs, longer hours to cover these additional costs.
- Start winding your business down a few weeks before hand. Don’t take on new clients or big projects until your return.
- Be upfront with current clients/customers that you will be taking a break for a week or two.
- Schedule in social media and blog posts.
- Set an autoresponder on your email so clients/customers appreciate why you might not reply straight away.
- Buy a book. Any book will do but something that you can read instead of heading to your default phone setting. When we went to Corfu I left my phone in our room so I wasn’t tempted to work, give yourself the best opportunity to have a break both physically and mentally.
Maybe it’s because I’m heading towards 40 (See my #40before40 list here) or maybe I’m starting to see more value in the small things but isn’t it time we start to live the life you want to live? Guess what? I want to go on holidays. I want to relax and enjoy quality 1:1 time with my family. I want to live my best life, not get sucked into the hamster wheel of school, working and bills that we currently run on.
Go big or go home :
If you’re looking for the ultimate holiday package then how about a cruise? We were invited to sample a day on Independence of the Seas whilst she was docked in Southampton and check out her multi-million pound makeover. Boasting 15 decks, and able to carry 3,858 guess in 1,929 staterooms the sheer size took us by surprise. I’ve always thought as we are a really active outdoor family we weren’t cruise people. Oh boy was I wrong.
We started off our tour with a game or two of Laser Tag, glow-in-the-dark, inflatable maze Laser Tag! Daddy Moo had a blast chaperoning the children (that’s what he said) in a Battle for Planet Z. Charlie did really well scoring loads of points whilst working up a sweat and an almighty appetite. Good job we headed off to the Windjammer where the food was piled high, from all around the world you could literally eat anything! As a self confessed “foodie” Charlie was in his idea of heaven. He sampled a variety of sea food, stir fries, noodles and rice dishes, the usual delights of an 11 year old … oh no wait! What would happen if we stayed onboard for a week!?
There are an abundance of activities to get the blood pumping from FlowRider, rock climbing, The Perfect StormSM water slide duo with translucent panels offering unforgettable views. A spa, sports facilities including a running track on deck (no kidding!) and SkyPadSM a virtual reality bungee trampoline experience, there is a lot to do! Splashaway Bay is where we spent most of the afternoon. The children loved running in out out of the water features, I even got a chance to chill in the hot tub listening to live music. I was pleasantly surprised how light, bright and airy the ship is I had always imagined that it would be really dark, filled with artificial light and low ceilings it’s totally not like this. If you are planning to take a break from your business this haven of luxury ticks all my boxes! Now to start saving for my next holiday!
There are 4.8 million self-employed individuals in the UK, 2 million of which are freelancers/sole traders. There is a reason we work for ourselves and not an employer, don’t forget that reason and for your own mental wellbeing treat yourself to a yearly holiday. God knows you deserve it!
*Stats from these websites *
Simply Business | Free Agent | Office for National Statistics | Forbes
(We were invited to sample Independence of the Seas for the day, there was a lot we didn’t see in the short time and therefore I haven’t mentioned everything available)