Taking a Holiday When You Are Self-employed

Taking a holiday when you are self-employed is 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.  Holidaying even in the UK, is expensive, not only the initial outlay but also spending money and when you are 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 to 3 children who need feeding, and clothing and the thought of taking a holiday becomes even scarier. joanne dewberry holiday vibes

FreeAgent’s 2016 micro business study suggested 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 are you self-employed?
For me it’s always been the balance of being a full-time mum, never missing any school event, being around when someone is sick and as they got older enabling them to come home after exams and earn an income and contribute to our family finances. Ultimately I want to live the life I want, not hankering after the weekends not being dragged down by adulting.

Preparing Your Business for a Holiday:

Unlike employed families who book time off with their employer, taking a holiday when you are self-employed 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.business planning

Write A List: 

Writing things down helps you to reflect, gather stock and clarity on how you will wind your
business down for a holiday.  What do you need to put in place? delegate? or schedule? to enable you to take that well deserved break.  Need help? Check out my PDF download “Taking A Holiday When You Are Self-employed

Wind Things Down:

Start winding your business down a few weeks beforehand. Don’t take on new clients or big projects until you return.

Be Honest:

Be upfront with current clients/customers that you will be taking a break for a week or two. Plan how this will work, and what you will do to ensure they are unaffected.

Schedule Content:

We all know how hard the algorithms can be and how fickle followers can be if they don’t hear from you in a while! Ensure you take the time to plan/bath create and schedule your social media content, newsletter and blog posts.  A simple but key time management tool, which helps you to;

➡️ Free up headspace 
➡️ Free up time ⏰
➡️ Keep your content consistent
➡️ Work smarter – not harder


Set an email autoresponder this manages both parties’ expectations and gives clarity to clients/customers as to why you might not reply immediately or when to expect your response.  It also provides you with a buffer as we all know how easy it can be to think I’ll just answer this email and then it’s 2 hours later!

Buy A Book: 

Any book will do but something that you can read instead of heading to your default phone setting, the Scroll of Doom is not taking a holiday when you are self-employed! Instead, grab a book, leave your phone in your bag/room, and remove the temptation to work. A book provides a distraction and gives you the best opportunity to have a mental and physical time out.

Maybe it’s because I’m in my 40’s (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 living the life we want to live? Guess what? I want to go on holiday, many many holidays! I want to relax and enjoy quality 1:1 time with my family and husband. I want to live my best life, not get sucked into the hamster wheel of school, working and bills that we currently run on.

Independence of the Seas #PREvent: 

Independence of the Seas #myindy

If you’re looking for the ultimate holiday package then how about a cruise? In 2018 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 guests in 1,929 staterooms the sheer size took us by surprise.  I’ve always thought as we are an active outdoor family we weren’t cruise people.
Oh boy was I wrong?

We started 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 scored loads of points while working up a sweat and an almighty appetite. Good job we headed off to the Windjammer where the food was piled high, and 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 seafood, 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!?

Pool time Independence of the Sea

There are an abundance of activities to get the blood pumping from FlowRider, rock climbing, and The Perfect StormSM water slide duo with translucent panels offering unforgettable views. With 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 by how light, bright and airy the ship is I had always imagined that a cruise ship 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!

Networking A Successful Small Business

*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)

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1 Comment

  1. August 10, 2018 / 7:38 pm

    Taking a well earned vacation once a year is the best and most fun method of avoiding getting burned out. Working too much has its benefits for sure but doing nothing but working all year round is a recipe for disaster. Thanks for pointing out we all need vacations. I’m going to go ahead and take one soon, I promise.