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Taking Time Off When You’re Self-Employed

Becoming self-employed is a dream for many people. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, there were 5.94 million small businesses at the start of 2020! There are countless reasons why somebody might choose to go self-employed: being your own boss; setting your own hours; pursuing a passion project full-time; and achieving a sense of self-fulfilment!

Whilst there are many positives to becoming self-employed, there are also a few negatives, too. One of the biggest risks you take when going out on your own is, well, exactly that! For the most part, you’re on your own; you lose many of the safety nets you would otherwise have if you were in contractual employment.

There are ways, however, to protect yourself. Being your own boss just means you have to build your own safety net!

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at one of benefits of contractual employment – paid holiday – and seeing how you can still make it work when you’re self-employed!

woman on a walk with her dog
It doesn’t matter whether you’re employed or self-employed, you need holidays to help you recharge!

Taking Time Off

If you were in contractual employment, you would be legally entitled to take paid holiday. This entitlement adds up to 5.6 weeks’ per year and is a legal right which your employed must provide. It’s not just the contractually employed who need to take breaks! The self-employed do, too!

According to a CIPD study, nearly a quarter of people (22%) say they often or always feel exhausted in their jobs, whilst two in three workers (66%) say they have experienced a work-related health condition in the last 12 months. Being able to take time away from work, allowing your brain to re-energise itself, is really important for your physical and mental health.

Unfortunately, if you’re self-employed, you don’t necessarily have the same benefits as those with employers. However, there are a few ways to get around this and ensure you get the break you deserve!

Our financial experts at Count have given us a few tips to ensure you can still have that cherished Christmas break.

Planning In Advance

Being self-employed often means relying on numerous factors out of your control. You might not be able to predict the future, but there are some important things you can do to prepare. If you know you’re going to be taking some holiday at some point in the year, you know you won’t be earning any money during this period.

That’s why it’s a good idea to plan these breaks in plenty of advance. That way, you give yourself the time to put the hours in before the planned break and earn back any money you’ll miss out on. By planning in advance, let’s say by a month, you give yourself ample time to manage you’re workload! Let’s say you plan to take 5 days off – that’d be 40 hours holiday in total. If you plan way ahead of schedule, you could spread that 40 hours across the month, working a little over an hour extra per day to make up for the time you plan to have off.

By adding an extra hour onto your working day for a limited period, you can earn some extra income to protect yourself from the money you’d miss out on by having a break.

saving cash in a piggy bank
Putting small amounts of money away here-and-there can help protect you against any missed income.

Mute Your Notifications!

There’s almost no point taking a break if you’re going to keep jolting forward every time your phone buzzes in anticipation of a customer query. Taking a break means taking a break. The whole point is to improve productivity in the long run, relieve some mental pressure and rest your body – you can’t do that if you’re thinking about work the whole time!

Of course, you might be worried that a customer needs you during this period – that’s why our previous point, planning in advance, doesn’t just refer to saving money. If you know your business will be shut for a certain period, there’s no reason you can’t communicate this to your customers. Offer an apology ahead of time and inform them when your working hours will resume – they’ll appreciate the effort you’ve gone through to let them know and they’re much less likely to bother you when you’re away!

Make Price Adjustments

Instead of working more hours in anticipation of your holiday, you could also make slight increases to your prices to cover the loss of income from your time off. Like any increase in price, this has to be justified to your customer, otherwise they’ll think you’re just trying to make some extra cash!

If you have regular clients, they’ll need to be able to see why you’ve increased your prices. You’ll need to reflect this increase with the quality of service you provide – if they appreciate your work and effort, they’ll be more likely to understand your need to properly compensated.

This can sometimes be an awkward conversation to have – nobody likes asking for more money! A good tip here would be to raise prices slightly for new customers – emphasis on slightly! New clients won’t know your previous rates and chances are, if they’re still reasonably reflective of your service, they won’t be put off!

By reasonably increasing your prices well ahead of time, you can help put some money away towards a well deserved break!

Have Your Finances Audited

If you choose to outsource your financial management to a professional service, like Count, our specialist accountants can complete an audit to see how you can help build yourself a safety net. By assessing your finances, from rates and taxes to expenses and costs, we could help see where you can save some money to put towards a paid holiday.

You didn’t start your business to deal with complex financial accounting, but we did! Take a look at some of our other guides or take a look at our FAQs to find out more about our services.

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