Stuff happens: Taking time off as a freelancer

May 2, 2014

Running your own business can make you seem superhuman, but freelancers still have to deal with regular human things too: doctor’s appointments, seasonal allergies, a sick kid – the list could go on forever.

Unfortunately, independent workers don’t get paid time off, one of the (few) perks of traditional employment. So what do you do when you need to put your professional business on hold to take care of personal business? We gathered together some of our own resources to help you out.

Come on get healthyyyy

If the stars aligned, you would never get sick and you’d only take days off for your friends’ destination weddings. Alas, that doesn’t usually work out in real life. Though you can’t always avoid the common cold, you can take steps to improve your lifestyle.

We know you know that diet and exercise are important, but here’s another friendly reminder: eat better and shake that booty!

  • Adding a short walk to your daily routine can be enough to boost your mood and health. Looking for something new to do? Try these nine exercises or loosen up with these seven stretches for slouchy desk workers.
  • When you work from the peaceful, non-judgmental solitude of your own home, it’s easy to down a whole bag of chips or make another quick, cheese-stuffed quesadilla. Do yourself a favor and fill your kitchen with these high-powered, healthy snacks instead.

Be on the lookout for free health events near you.

  • If you live in the New York area, Freelancers Union members are always invited to free wellness classes at our Freelancers Union Halls in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Classes include yoga, meditation, and healthy cooking lessons.

Kiss procrastination goodbye and get ahead of the game

Putting off your work is a great way to add unnecessary stress to your life. Plus, having an overwhelming to-do list makes it that much harder to take time off when you need to. Stay ahead of your workload so that if an emergency strikes or you have an attack of the puke monster, you can handle it without worrying about missed deadlines.

Here are two blog posts to help you out:

- Five tips for preventing procrastination

- How to set (and keep) your own deadlines

Follow the 7 Ps

Follow the good old 7 Ps: Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

When it comes to taking care of your freelance business, you should have an outsourcing plan in place and an emergency fund.


Let’s face it: there will come a time when you’re forced to drop the ball…but that doesn’t mean you have to let your clients down. Right now, think of a trusty fellow freelancer who can be relied upon to get work done quickly and professionally. Outsourcing assignments can also benefit others; it’s a great way to help a budding freelancer who is trying to build up a portfolio. Make a deal with your professional pals that in times of need, you’ll help each other out with important projects.

Saving $$$$!

Finally, it’s essential to set up an emergency fund for yourself. If you’re out of commission for a few days, weeks, or more, you may lose your big project and the big paycheck that comes with it. This worst case scenario is exactly why you need to start saving.

Yeah yeah, saving money sounds great, but what about those freelancers whose incomes are completely unpredictable each month? If that sounds like you, try these six tips for budgeting on a fluctuating income. Maybe you have a steady stream of funds flowing in, but you’re not good at managing it. Don’t worry, we have the perfect action plan for you.

**Freelancers, how do you prepare for unexpected time off? **