Taking a holiday

If you don’t work you don’t get paid. It’s a dilemma of being self-employed. With the famine and feast nature of our work there is the added worry that just as you set off on your holiday, after weeks of small jobs, the large job you’ve been waiting for lands in your in-box. Worse still, is the fear of missing out on lucrative or interesting jobs while you are sitting by the pool.
I remember people saying that the best times to pick up new clients were holiday times, when their regular translators were not available. I know I have acquired work that way myself. The regular translator might then worry about losing the client while they are away.
Australia 824
We need holidays. Our family need holidays. We cannot be so tied to our computers that we deprive ourselves and our families of a break. No doubt our translations will be better for the rest.
In the early days of my freelancing career a business advisor helped me to deal with this problem by asking if I had noticed any periods when work was particularly slow. At that time I had noticed that when a major sporting event was on, such as the World Cup, work went remarkably quiet. In February and April work-loads were usually light, whereas March is usually busy. Armed with this knowledge I was able to make an informed decision on when to take my holiday.
For years I worried about not being able to take on every job I was offered. Colleagues reassured me that sometimes you just have to turn work down. I soon discovered that turning down one job did not mean I would not be offered other jobs. Gaining the confidence to turn work down because I was busy meant that I also had confidence to turn down work because I was on holiday.
Almost without exception my work has been delivered by email for many years. For clients who telephone there are a number of solutions that are worth looking into, such as a virtual PA service, and having your phone calls forwarded to your mobile. When I am away from home my mobile phone is either on all the time or else I check it at regular times. I can then accept work any where and any time.
You may decide to tell your clients that you are going away, but the important thing is to reply to the client, keep the dialogue open. Even if you are on holiday and not accepting work, clients will still contact you, so it is important to be contactable, so you can reply quickly, even if its just to say you are not available.
Agencies are used to their translators sometimes being unavailable. They understand that we do not work exclusively for them. If you are one of their regular translators they are not going to stop using you just because you are unavailable once in a while.
In November 2014 I informed my clients that I was taking 5 months off and would not be available until 1st April 2015. I had been working for some of them for ten years or so. I returned to work in April 2015 as planned and I still have the same clients. I did not even have to remind them I was back.
Australia 674
Know your business, build up a good relationship with your clients and take your holiday.

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