Time flies when you’re working hard, but it isn’t healthy to avoid taking holidays when you’re running your own business. This year’s holiday season is now over. Like many other people running their own business, have you found that once again you’ve skipped taking a holiday?
One of the toughest issues that the self-employed face is how to take a break from work before having a breakdown.
Everyone needs a break
Look out for signs of poor concentration, a lack of enthusiasm, taking longer to do tasks. These signify the need to undertake a basic human necessity – rest.
There is a minimum legal entitlement of four weeks’ holiday every year for full time employees, but the entitlement for self-employed professionals is zero.
Taking a holiday may not always be straight-forward, but here are some solutions to consider to make it less painful:-
- Plan longer holidays well in advance. If you want to go away for a week or more, give your clients plenty of warning. This will remind them how efficient you are and will suggest you’re in demand.
- Alter your business plan. Structure your business plan with the assumption that you will only earn money for 48 weeks of the year.
- Treat holidays as a necessary expense. Accept the cost of your holiday as a business expense, like tax. Create a budget and this will make taking the break much easier when the time comes.
- Take long weekends. This is especially useful if the nature of your business makes it hard to go away for long stretches. Even a three-day break is essential to rejuvenate a jaded body and mind.
- Get an answering service. There is a big difference between using an answer phone – which to potential clients can mean that you have fallen off the face of the planet forever – and having a good answering service where a friendly voice can reassure existing and potential customers. You can always arrange to have your messages forwarded at a convenient time so you don’t miss anything. Use technology to pick up emails on your mobile – remember, most places have internet access for (emergency access only!).
- Combine business and pleasure. The business trip to France that crosses a weekend is an ideal opportunity to use your leisure time to relax and do some sightseeing. If you go on a holiday and combine it with business, you should apportion the expenses to avoid any Inland Revenue issues.
- Go on an activity holiday. Very goal focused people find it hard to take a break if the holiday seems to them to lack specific, achievable goals. Try an activity holiday where you can learn a new skill.
- Be creative. Executive thinking time is one of the biggest assets you have. It’s the time you take to come up with new money making ideas. Take a pad and pen with you on holiday, promise yourself you’ll come back full of new ways to liven up your business.
- Use outside services. Every business has to use other businesses or people with specialist or different skills. Line them up before you go away, give them some tasks to complete and marvel at your delegation skills when you return – you will be pleasantly surprised.
If you have started a new business and want to establish a fund to keep you going, it’s understandable that you’ll want to work through the year. But don’t get into the habit of working without a break.
Holidays are an essential part of life. It’s just as important to maintain yourself as it is to maintain other vital components of your business.