“Sorry, I can’t make an appointment that day. I will be on holiday for three weeks”
“Wow, that’s long! I didn’t expect that.”

This will never happen when a client calls a big company. First of all, people expect others to go on a holiday in the summer, and 3 weeks isn’t all that long. Secondly, that particular employee might be on a holiday for three weeks but if it’s necessary there is always someone who can step in.

But I did have this conversation with the CEO of a company. Me, the self-employed person, being the one that said she had a 3-week holiday coming up and could only make an appointment before or afterwards. The CEO thought that was weird. How could I take a 3-week holiday?

It is the reaction most of us are scared of when we want to go on a holiday. That’s why some feel guilty when they do go, others decide they can not do that to their clients.

Why you need to go on holiday:

But not taking a holiday isn’t an option. Even if you are not going anywhere you need your downtime! You want to be amazing for your clients. You can’t do that if you never have downtime. Give yourself some time to rest so you can be better at helping your clients the rest of the time.

We might have a small company and downtime for us means downtime for the company, but that doesn’t mean you should just forget about it. So if you decide to take a break, how do you manage so you won’t scare your clients and lose new potential clients?

How to go on a holiday:

1) Let clients know:

Let clients know beforehand that you are going on a holiday and what will be done when. “This part of your project will be done before my holiday and that will be done the week after.” Knowing your game plan will help them relax.

2) Deliver stuff before your holiday:

If you can finish projects beforehand please do. It is nice for your client because they have something to work with and you feel less stressed. If the project is too big to actually finish, decide (with your client) which part of the project you will deliver beforehand. The client will have the chance to give feedback while you are away.

3) Put systems in place:

Whether that means you hire a virtual assistant for the time you’re gone, have an email message saying you will be in touch after … or a voicemail that tells callers you will call back later, is up to you. But make sure you know how you are going to communicate your downtime during those weeks. (I would not recommend checking your email weekly to see what messages are urgent. It might cause stress while you were trying to relax.)

4) Prepare your finances before and afterwards:

Because it’s our own company not working means no money. Compensate by doing more work the weeks before and after (without getting too stressed or the holiday will be for nothing).

Did you go on holiday yet? How did you handle it? And if you didn’t go, why not?