Freelancing and the Holiday Season

Tips to Manage Christmas as a Freelancer

With the holiday season upon us, I thought it was time to touch base with you all about managing freelancing businesses over the holiday season. Owning your own business can often mean that Christmastime looks different for you than it does for people in traditional forms of employment. That’s not to say it’s any better or any worse, it’s simply different. It can be a learning curve if you’ve come from traditional employment, so in this blog post, I’ll include some tips I’ve learnt over the years to help your holiday season run smoothly.

As a freelance writer and editor, I’ve always found December to be my busiest month.

I have no idea why, but for the last three years, December has been completely crazy for me. This year, I’ve planned ahead and taken a step back to allow myself to enjoy Christmas and the New Year. I’ve decided to only work on one large project, which has accounted for the majority of my working hours this month, as well as a couple of small projects. This allows me to focus on the things that matter the most to me over the holidays. I love my job, but at the end of the day, life has to come first. Loved ones take priority. That being said, there are a few things you can do to ensure you can make the most of the holiday season while still keeping your business ticking over.

Tips for Freelancers Over the Holidays

  • Plan ahead. Like, way ahead. When you’re taking bookings for projects, be aware that you might want to have some more time off during December and plan around that. It can be tempting to take on as many bookings as you can, but that’s just not feasible all year round. You have to have a break at some point, or you’ll burn out. So, when you’re putting your December diary together, mark off the days you are not going to work and be rigid about that.
  • If you have monthly or ongoing projects, communicate with clients in advance about when you will be out of office over the holidays. In all likelihood, they will be out of office too, so it won’t be an issue. If it has the potential to be an issue, then telling your clients way in advance allows for you both to make accommodations.
  • Plan ahead for January. If you’re anything like me, I have my months planned way in advance because I like to know exactly what projects I have in my calendar. This allows me to plan financially as well as personally. For example, if I notice I have a slower month, I can take on a few smaller projects to pad it out. I can only do this if I know in advance. This is good advice for all year round, not just for January. Over the holidays, by planning the next month, you can put it out of your mind and concentrate on the holidays and your loved ones.
  • Tidy and sort your office before you ‘leave’ for the holidays. My office is at home, which means I’m around it all of the time. By tidying it and getting it ready for a fresh start next year, that’s another thing off my mind. It leaves me ready and eager to get started once the new year rolls around.
  • Set your ‘Out of Office’. Make sure that emails and messages are responded to automatically by setting your ‘Out of Office’ reply. State the date you will be back and what to do if they need to contact you urgently (which, hopefully, they won’t). Be very clear that all inquiries will be responded to as soon as possible once you are back to work. Honestly, as much as I love my job, there’s no better feeling than setting an ‘Out of Office’ reply!

Freelancing can be lonely, particularly over the holidays.

You see people having Christmas parties with their co-workers and it can make you more aware that you don’t have that luxury. This comes as part of the territory of being a freelancer. Some people love it, some hate it. If you miss Christmas parties, why not try to meet up with some freelancers in your area? Or you could arrange an online chat with other freelancers? You can meet people on various social media platforms that freelance too. What better time than the holidays to make some new freelancer friends?

Above all else, make the most of being your own boss.

It is easy to get into a habit of working as much as possible. As a freelancer, you are in the unique position that you see a very direct correlation between your time working and the money you bring in. It can be hard to step out of the office. My advice is to plan ahead (again, I know!) and budget for fewer hours over the holiday season. That way, you’ll be able to kick back and enjoy. I know that this isn’t always possible, but the best thing about being a freelancer is that you are able to be your own boss and decide when, where, and how you work. If you’re struggling and need to work, then consider moving your workdays around to accommodate for festive activities.

With that being said, my ‘Out of Office’ is going on, and I’ll be seeing you all in the New Year. I’d love to hear your thoughts about freelancing over the holidays and how you make it work for you.

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for 2022!

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