Being a freelancer at Christmas can be tricky. You tend to miss out on the usual round of office parties because it’s just you now. Though, for some people, this may be a bit of a blessing. And when everyone else is booking time off, you’re wondering how you’re going to make ends meet. If you don’t work, then you can’t invoice. Unlike ‘normal’ jobs, there’s no-one to cover you when you’re away. How do you survive Christmas as a freelancer?
- Plan A Little
Many freelancers make the mistake of not planning out their finances for the year ahead. They don’t take into account having time off or how to plug the hole in their finances. This can cause problems for fledgeling businesses.
- Plan ahead as much as possible and factor time off into your costs and budget
- Let clients know in advance when you’re not going to be around and work out how/when work will be completed
- If you need to complete work in advance, make sure you leave enough time
- Ensure you set up out-of-office and voicemail messages
- Create a calendar for your Christmas preparations and ensure you can completed them alongside your work
Freelancing can be tricky to navigate at the best of times. But at Christmas, it’s even harder.
- Start Christmas Preparations Early
Treat your Christmas preparations in the same way as you treat your work. Schedule time for Christmas shopping, putting up the tree,doing the food shop, etc. Begin planning as soon as possible. This avoids last minute rushing around and unnecessary stress.
- Save Time With Christmas Gifts
Buying Christmas gifts probably takes up the most time when it comes to Christmas preparations. However, there are ways you speed up the process. The first place to start is with the list itself. Are you buying lots of unnecessary Christmas gifts? Are there ways you could cut back a little? Chances are, if you approach people in a friendly way and suggest just doing cards this year or meeting for a drink instead, they will be happy to oblige. Another way of cutting down on your Christmas shopping is to talk to your friends about Secret Santa. That way you only each have to buy one gift.
Once you have finalised your list, spend a few hours looking for inspiration. Rather than hitting the shops and looking for ideas, spend it in the comfort of your own home, thinking and looking online. Often you can plan your whole Christmas shop without having to move off the sofa. And this is the most time-consuming part. Once you know what you’re getting and where you’re getting it from, that’s half the battle. If you’re really stuck for ideas, look for suggestions and gift guides. Lots of stores and blogs provide these. For example, Christmas present ideas for men from Cuckooland.com, etc.
Buy as much as you can online and make use of click and collect options. You can do the same with the Christmas food shop.
- Time Off Means Time Off
When you run your own business, it’s hard to take time away. There’s a temptation to keep checking your emails and responding to queries. But it’s really important to have a complete break away from work. Consider investing in a pocket landline service. For a few pounds a month you can get a local telephone number which diverts to your mobile. When you’re away, you can set it to take a message for you and alert you by email. This makes it easier to separate your home and working life. You don’t have to give clients your mobile number, which creates a little distance.
Another option is to hire a virtual answering service. Companies work around the clock and answer your phone when you’re not around. You can choose how you receive the messages, but it’s usually by text or email.
It’s not easy being a freelancer and managing Christmas can be tricky. But, with a bit of forward planning and a few useful tools, you can navigate the festive season and enjoy your time off without going nuts.
Image Credit Pexels
This is a guest post