Flexibility, being your own boss, setting your own rates and rules. These are some of the benefits of being self-employed. However, working for yourself can also present certain challenges, including not getting paid for downtime, holidays and illness. 

This can be a huge cause for concern amongst business owners and can put many people off from taking the leap to working for themselves.

We all get ill sometimes and rest and holiday should be readily-embraced if you want to be successful and happy in the long run.

Fortunately, there are ways in which we can prepare for these things, all the whilst running an effective and successful business.

Today, we’re discussing how you can be prepared for unexpected and planned time off when you’re self-employed or run your own business.

Plan your time well.

When first starting out, it can be tempting to work flat-out with no rest, to ensure you get paid and achieve your goals. But, this simply isn’t sustainable, so it’s important that you rest well to avoid burnout.

The only sure-fire way of ensuring you rest and stay productive is by planning rest into your schedule and budget. Unfortunately, good rest doesn’t just happen spontaneously. You need to be intentional with it.

When you plan your time well, you shouldn’t have to worry about work not getting done as there’s a time for everything.

This quote from Alex Soojung-Kim Pang’s book Rest looks at the importance of rest:

“We misunderstand the relationship between work and rest. Work and rest are not polar opposites… Rest is not work’s adversary. Rest is work’s partner. They complement and complete each other.”

Master your margin.

On top of this, you’ll also need to be financially prepared. This means working out the money you may need for time off due to unexpected sickness and putting some aside each month.

And, let’s face it, at some point, you’ll want to take a holiday. After all, the flexibility to do things on your own time is probably one of the reasons you chose self-employment in the first place.

This should be perfectly achievable when you factor holiday pay into your fees, or simply put some money aside each month.

What to do when illness strikes.

As a self-employed person, you do face the possibility of being forced to stop work due to illness. Unlike working for a company, you will not get paid for the time you don’t work and the job won’t get done whilst you’re away.

Like with holidays the best way to ensure you are not out of pocket when you fall ill is to put money away in advance as a sort of ‘rainy day fund’. You won’t have to worry about essentials like paying the bills when you are physically unable to work. Even if you could theoretically work from home, the chances are you won’t feel like working.

Getting insurance is also recommended as you never know what could happen. There are a reasonable number of options available to self-employed people such as an income protection policy. IPSE – the association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed – also offers support in this area. Have a look at the IPSE website to find out what they could offer you.

On top of this, there is no better way to ensure your business is running smoothly, than simply looking after your health! It may sound obvious but if you want to do this for the long run it’s important to bear in mind. Exercise regularly, eat a healthy balanced diet, indulge in self-care and ditch unhealthy habits. You will feel far more energised to work and you put off the potential risk of recurring illness down the line.

If you want advice about making sure your accounts reflect a healthy work-life balance, speak to us today