How to Save For Vacation as a Freelancer
No boss, a flexible schedule, and the freedom to work anywhere are just a few of the reasons some people choose to freelance.
However, these same benefits can also make the lifestyle chaotic, particularly where benefits like paid vacations are concerned. If you’re a freelancer you don’t automatically receive vacation time — instead, you have to plan for it in advance. One way to plan is to save a certain amount of money each week, and here’s exactly how you can find that number.
Calculating how much you need to save to afford vacation time
First, determine your annual income (or intended annual income). You can use data from previous years of freelancing or what you expect to make during the year. Because there are 52 weeks in a year, divide that annual income by 52.
For example, $70,000 ÷ 52 = $1,346.15 per week. That’s how much you might make each week if you didn’t take any time off. However, since you do want to have some vacation time, we need to do some more calculations.
How many weeks of vacation would you like to take each year? Let’s use 3 weeks in our example. Now, multiply your weekly earnings by 3. For our purposes, that equals $4,038.45.
Now you divide $4,038.45 by 49 to reach a total of $82.42. That’s how much you would have to save during each working week (not counting your vacation weeks) to “make up” for the work time you’d miss while taking a vacation.
Additional vacation time considerations for freelancers
For many freelancers, doing the calculations and saving the money is easy enough. It’s stepping away from work for an extended period of time that feels difficult or problematic. Here are some tips to consider when planning a vacation as a freelancer:
Give your clients ample notice. Give your clients at least a few weeks notice that you’ll be going on vacation soon and will be unavailable.
Set boundaries. If you won’t be checking or responding to email, let your clients know. They can’t respect boundaries they aren’t aware of, and they may still try to reach out to you while you’re away.
If those boundaries get crossed, gentle reminders are best. You may have a client who tries to sneak in a last minute request. It’s frustrating, but you should respond tactfully (including a reminder about your vacation policy doesn’t hurt, either).
Turn your auto-responder on. Don’t forget to set up an Out of Office message on your email account. You may also want to change your voicemail greeting temporarily.
Enlist extra help. You’re taking a well-deserved vacation, but that doesn’t mean the business has to grind to a halt. You could hire a virtual assistant to help take care of things while you’re away.
Be prepared to work more before and after your trip. You may need to work longer hours before and after your trip — be sure to account for this in your scheduling.
Unplug and enjoy. You know how much you need to save each week, and you’ve intelligently prepared for your vacation. Be sure to leave work behind for a bit and enjoy your time off!