What is "time off"?

August 3, 2021 by Josh Risser

Hey! Sorry for the unexpected two-week hiatus. I started a long overdue bathroom remodel and it quickly got out of control.

Have you ever seen The Money Pit?

Well, I'm a much less charming and funny Tom Hanks. Thankfully the tub didn't fall through the floor... yet. I did laugh the same way when I found that the bathtub drain my wife and I had worked on for most of a day on was leaking... again.

But a one week project quickly turned into a 2+ week project, so that's awesome. Now we're out of the woods and have a mostly functional bathroom that we're really happy with. Just a little finish work to get it wrapped up.

It did get me thinking about how I haven't really taken time away from work for more than 3 years now. Even when I've taken a week or more to do something else, I've always used the margins of my day to get work done. I step away from the extra stuff (direct marketing, social media, and this newsletter) and just focus on client work.

For example, I kept up on one steady customer that sends me a few scripts every week, a pretty large and urgent eLearning project that came through, a smaller one of the same, and a handful of auditions from agents. All done late, at the end of a physically exhausting day.

But at least it was from my home studio.

Like many VO's, I've taken a recording kit to Vegas, Seattle, and Orlando... booked a studio in Orlando for a gig, actually. There's something nice about being able to travel and record, but there is also something that bothers me about not being able to shut it off.

I think of the last couple of weeks and the income that would have been lost had I not been able to actually record. One of those Learning projects was 20% of my target monthly income and needed less than 24 hour turnaround. If I couldn't do it, they couldn't have waited, they would have hired someone else.

Then, there's the gap in my 30-60 day pipeline. Not marketing or auditioning on P2P as much for a couple of weeks will absolutely lead to a gap somewhere in the future, though it's hard to say when or how big.

The key here is FOMO (fear of missing out) and I get it bad when I think of taking time away from work. That can't be healthy right?

So, I'm dedicating this issue to digging into taking time off as a freelancer and how we can manage it without feeling guilty.

Also, this bathroom remodel was anything but a vacation and I often enjoyed having a reason to run away from it to do some client work. That said, I'd love to get the family out of the city for a week and away from all the connectivity that fills up most of our hours.


Let Your Regular Clients Know Ahead of Time

This is one I definitely need to start doing. I have a handful of regulars that I can count on weekly, monthly, or quarterly, depending on what they do. Shooting them an email a month or more in advance of some time off might get them to adjust their schedules. So, those urgent eLearning projects I always get from the same client might end up a little less urgent or maybe done a bit earlier if they know I'm going to be out.

The Freelancers Guide to Taking Time Off

Add bookends to your time off

Adding an extra day or two to the bookends of your vacation time might be just the thing to give you a little more ease into and out of your vacation. A day prior lets you wrap up anything before you pack your suitcase into the overhead bin. A day or two after you return can let you ease back into your working schedule and maybe even wrap up something that you've been putting off for awhile... looking at you messy studio.

How to Take a Vacation And Detach From Your Business When You’re A Freelancer

We're not alone...

If you feel like I do when it comes to taking real time off, we're not alone. The gig economy is getting bigger and bigger and basically all of us working as freelancers feel like we can't take a nonworking vacation.

92% of US freelancers can’t take a nonworking vacation, a new survey reveals.

Vacation when everyone else is

I actually kind of hate this idea. There's nothing better than taking a trip in the middle of the week to a busy weekend spot. Or traveling to a tourist destination in the shoulder season. That said, maybe the best time to take time off is around the holidays when many of your clients are doing the same and work slows down anyway.

I'm a Freelancer and I Hate Summer

Being here every week

Not going to lie, I knew being here every week and writing an email would take some time to get the hang of. That said, I'm going to work to make sure I'm incrementally writing these pieces throughout the week. Rather than making Monday or Tuesday a mad rush to put together the articles I've found and write something for you all. I do a good job of keeping up on articles throughout the week, but I hope to keep the info flowing to you uninterrupted by staying just a little bit ahead of schedule

How to Get Work Done in Advance if You Thrive on Looming Deadlines

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