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Vacations For Freelancers: How to Take a Vacation Without Decreasing Your Income

productivity tips Jun 24, 2023
hong kong photo freelancer


As a freelancer, I understand how crucial it is to take time off to recharge, but equally how daunting it can be to plan that vacation without the fear of losing your clients or your hard-earned pay. This was the topic of a recent episode on my Productive Popcorn podcast, where I shared some handy tips on achieving that balance. 

Make sure to listen to the full podcast, so you can hear the specific examples from my one-week vacation in Hong Kong. 

Negotiate a Flat Fee

One of the first steps you can take is to negotiate a flat fee. Instead of billing your clients on an hourly basis, work towards a flat fee structure. This gives you the flexibility to manage your workload and fit it around your vacation schedule without impacting your income.

Plan Ahead

I can't stress enough on the need to plan ahead. By learning from your past experiences, you'll know the times you feel exhausted and need a break. That's when you should plan your time-off, in a way that ensures you return all refreshed, rather than suffering the energy-draining cycle of burnout.

Save Up

Saving up is a no-brainer when it comes to vacation planning. You could do this by taking on more clients or projects or even nudging your rates a notch higher in the months leading up to your vacation. The key point to remember is to avoid going into debt for your vacation.

Coordinate with Your Team

A crucial part of your pre-vacation checklist should be coordinating with your team. Keep them informed well in advance, ideally four weeks or more, about your planned vacation. Make sure to send them calendar invites for your vacation dates and cancel any recurring meetings that coincide with your time off.

Plan Deliverables

Coming to deliverables, strive to complete them in advance. This ensures your clients aren't left hanging, waiting for your return to get their work. Plan your content briefs, articles, and other deliverables accordingly, making sure you only take up what can be completed before you leave or can wait till you return.

Gear Up for the Day of Your Vacation

Finally, as you gear up for the day of your vacation, remember to turn on your out-of-office reply and block off your calendar. Leave clear instructions for your virtual assistant and inform your clients that you will be unavailable during your vacation. Update your status on communication channels like Slack to reflect that you're on vacation, giving everyone a clear heads-up.


All in all, taking a vacation as a freelancer might seem like a Herculean task, but with proper planning and coordination, it is very much achievable. The key is to negotiate a flat fee, plan ahead, save up, coordinate with your team, complete your deliverables in advance, and prep thoroughly for your vacation day. These steps will help you relax, recharge, and steer clear of burnout, without the fear of losing your clients or pay. And remember, we all need a break, even those of us who love our freelance gigs!



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