The holidays are a bit of a conundrum for freelancers. Time off in general creates havoc when it is not handled properly, but the holiday season is especially challenging. There are several reasons for this.
For starters, clients tend to take time off throughout the holidays, so it is tough to get things accomplished. It means waiting longer for everything: information, answers, payments… On one hand it helps that every client has a different schedule, so you might be waiting for one today, but a different one by the end of the week. On the other hand, this creates some disorganization and it can be tough juggling so many different schedules, including your own.
Another challenge I’ve found during the holiday season is the attitude toward work. When I was in a traditional job, I was guilty of lightening the work load as possible during the holiday season. There were office parties, gift exchanges, and luncheons, all of which lent an air of festivity to the weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year. Things were winding down for the year and everyone was looking forward to a break.
Though the benefits of leaving that world behind are numerous, sacrificing the holiday season in a traditional job is not one of them. Freelancers must push through and make the holiday season just as productive as the rest of the year. I feel as if I am just recovering from the summer lull and here we are again, waiting for the holiday lull to pass.
So how do I make these weeks productive? I’ve found focusing on the New Year helps. I’m determined to get all of my projects in order for January so I can hit the ground running. I’m trying to keep work steady, though I expect some clients will slow down in the coming days. All of this is added to a struggling economy which has already cost me at least one major client. Last week (Thanksgiving Day included!) I did my best to line up a few new clients for the month of December. Things look good and I’m hoping to transition into steadier health-related work in the coming months. I’ve also opened the door on a few travel, real estate, insurance, and general SEO projects.
The benefits of working as a freelancer during the holidays are plentiful. I plan to decorate my home all day Wednesday and I’m hitting the gym extra hard in anticipation of the excess chocolate and peppermint sure to flow through my home in the coming weeks. It takes a bit of juggling to keep the workflow healthy, but as usual, the flexibility is worth the extra work.
How do you get through the holiday season? Do you miss office parties and white elephant gift exchanges with co-workers? Are you planning any work-related holiday activities in the coming weeks? As always, share your stories!