The flexible life of the self employed

When embarking on a self employed job, there are a few changes you have to get used to: taking care of your own admin, keeping your motivation levels high, and making sure you are prepared for sickness and holidays.

Even if you don’t intend to take vacations, your clients will, and this can make it difficult to contact them during the school summer holidays, over Christmas and the New Year, or around Easter and the spring-summer bank holidays.

But being self employed also gives you the flexibility to line up extra work in advance for these times if you want to work through the holidays, or if you have friends and family to visit, you can work to get ahead and take some time off.

Crucially, it’s your decision – and you can adapt your timetable to match.

You’ll Go Far

Recent research from freelancers jobs board PeoplePerHour found that writers are the biggest travellers among freelancers and the self employed, with 22% going away more than three times each year and taking long-distance trips.

Other popular freelancer professions to score highly in the travel stakes include social media and designers, as well as the less surprising disciplines of photography, translation services, and sales.

Also, the study found freelancers spend twice as long away from home each year – 21 nights compared to a national average of ten – and travel twice as far, averaging 2,200 miles per trip.

Younger people, in particular, are more likely to travel further and more frequently, which may be a sign of their fewer commitments or just a generational shift towards wanting to see the world.

Out of Office

If you’ve prepared for your break as self-employed, things should run smoothly enough – like anyone in a salaried position, it’s best to budget well in advance and save up your spending money ahead of time.

Of course you won’t receive holiday pay while you’re away.

It’s good practice to warn your clients if you’ll be out of contact for a week or more; set an Out of Office auto-reply on your business email accounts; and notify any online jobs boards you use that you are unavailable for commissions during that time.

You might find some clients are prepared to wait for your return because they’d prefer to work with you than anyone else – and in these cases, an Out of Office autoresponder can mean the difference between arriving home to an active enquiry, or a missed opportunity.

Self employment is a flexible and adaptable way to work, and suits a lot of people, especially those who can do their job from wherever they happen to be.

It’s little wonder more and more people are not only adopting the self employed lifestyle, but also taking full advantage of the opportunities it presents for them to take some time out and see the world.

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