Holiday’s are coming, always … A worry for the self-employed
If you can hear the words ‘Holidays are coming…’ without singing along and thinking of the red Coca Cola Christmas truck then you’re clearly not a child of the 1980s. Santa’s scarlet mean machine appearing on our screen signals the start of the countdown to Christmas and while everyone loves the jingle, being self-employed might mean you’re not quite so big on the season it kickstarts.
You’ve decked the halls with bows of B&M’s finest faux holly and decided when you’re driving home for Christmas (and how you’ll split your time to minimise the family feuds) but have you thought about how you’ll take a break to enjoy the festivities without any freelancer guilt? Whether you’re just downing tools for a day or jetting away for Christmas in the sun, planning ahead will leave you free to give the Celebrations vs. Quality Street comparison the attention it deserves when the time comes.
GIVE TO RECEIVE
Yeah yeah, we know you were taught that you don’t give to receive but the rules don’t apply in business. Treat your clients to a card and a nice bottle of something – not only will they appreciate the thought but little touches like this will also help get you on their nice list for the year ahead.
GIVE THEM NOTICE
Every freelancer knows that those few weeks before you go away are utterly, exceptionally, mind-blowingly manic. Make sure part of the prep work for your week or two away over Christmas involves letting your clients know. Let them know when you’ll be signing off in plenty of time, so that they can make contingency plans if necessary.
GIVE THEM THE GOSSIP
Bragging doesn’t come easy to us Brits but if you’ve had an amazing 12 months, shout about your successes in a newsletter. The benefits are three-fold: you’ll remind existing clients of the great work you’ve done with them, prospective clients will see how good you are at what you do and clients that haven’t been in touch for a while might just be reminded to pick up the phone about that project in the New Year.
GIVE THEM A BACK-UP PLAN
Not every industry shuts up shop when Santa’s sleigh to roll into town but you’ll need to establish some boundaries if you want to hit the sweet spot between offering an on-call service that’ll help your clients out of a pickle and actually getting some time off. Let your regulars know that, while you’re not working per se, you can be available for emergencies only. If you’re worried about the potential for them to abuse the on-call approach, think about putting a charge to it. You’ll be amazed how many problems can wait when there’s a cost involved with fixing them.
AND FINALLY…GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK
A year’s worth of hard slog – whether it’s your first or your fifth self-employed year – deserves celebrating. Take it easy, enjoy time with the family, have a lay in, treat yo’self in the Christmas sales. And when it comes to working during your Christmas break, don’t. Or do. If you’re happier checking your emails once a day, do it. If you don’t want to open your laptop again until January, do that. You run this gig.