26 Nov

I’m just back from my very first real holiday as a freelancer. I define it as real, because

  1. I actually didn’t work (no taking a small job to « help out », no emailing prospects, no « light » admin work, invoicing, etc)
  2. It lasted longer than a long week-end
  3. I went away from home

Crazy that it took me more than a year to go on a one week vacation not even leaving Europe, but it can be hard sometimes when you’re self-employed to decide to take a sizable amount of time off. No, I wasn’t scared that my clients would disappear overnight, but what if  I missed out on a huge contract? Also, I often take one or two days off here and there, so do I really need a proper holiday on top of that? That way of thinking ended up with me taking a one week holiday instead of the two or three weeks I initially planned. I did take time off before that, but a large part of it was spent either sick or organising non-work stuff (so not really relaxing) or « on call » so to speak, as in willing to take on some work and taking only half a day off at a time. So silly! Maybe I wouldn’t have been sick so often, if I had taken some holiday before that!

A holiday is refreshing and helps you being more productive the rest of the year. Not to mention there is an added bonus if you spend it in the country of your source language (or target language if you live abroad). All that it takes is a little bit of planning. During my first year as a freelancer, although I had an idea based on how things went when I was on a payroll, I wasn’t quite sure of what would be the most active and most quiet periods for my business. I made sure to observe this and to take it into account in my holiday planning. That way there is less risk of missing out on a great opportunity. I also find it useful to dedicate some savings not to the trip itself (although that can’t hurt), but to compensate the loss of income during the time off. If you plan to take one month off every year, you just need to divide one month of living expenses by eleven and set that sum aside every month. After working in house during ten years, I’m pretty used to paid holidays and that little trick allows for a better comparison between my income as an in-house translator and my income as a freelancer.

Next time, I’ll try to be even better at planning ahead. And I’m sure I won’t wait so long before my next holiday!


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