Yes, you can have a relaxing holiday if you’re self-employed. Here’s how

Everyone is entitled to time off regardless of whether you are employed, run your own limited company or are self-employed. However, if you work for yourself it can sometimes feel like taking a holiday is more hassle than it’s worth!

But with a bit of preparation you can have a relaxing holiday, free from work worries and client phone calls. Here’s how.

Manage client expectations

  • If you have regular customers or clients that you work for ensure that you tell them well in advance of your holiday
  • Change your emails a few weeks before your holiday to show the dates you are away. This is a good way of managing client expectations and prompts clients to get in touch if they have any urgent work they want you to do before you go
  • If work or enquiries are coming in just before you take your break be honest with your customers. Tell them that you are about to go on holiday, but you will make their work a priority when you get back

Sort out your cashflow

  • Make sure that as much work is invoiced in advance of your break – this will help to manage your cashflow while you are away.
  • If you use a bookkeeping package, such as Xero, and you send regular invoices to your customers make sure that you set up the automated repeating invoices. This means that invoices will still be sent, even if you are away.
  • Spend time chasing people who owe you money. Again, this will help your cashflow while you are away as these people should pay you during your holiday.

Take care of your admin

  • If you are running your own payroll, even if it’s only for you, make sure your Full Payment Submissions (FPS) are up-to-date with HMRC. The last thing you want is to come home to a fine, because you’ve missed the FPS deadline.
  •  If you can, use a telephone answering service/virtual PA. You can divert your calls to this third-party service who can answer your calls using your business name and field any enquiries. This does take a bit of set up time so don’t leave it until the last minute.
  • If you are signed up for lots of automated emails, such as news alerts, consider switching them off before you go away. There is nothing worse than coming back to a full inbox.
  • Remember to change your voicemail message to say you are away and when you’ll be back. Sometimes it’s worth telling people you’ll be back a day or two later than you actually are, so you can have a couple of days catching up in peace.

Finally, put on your out-of-office reply on your e-mails, switch off your mobile and enjoy a well-earned rest!

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