The summer holidays are fantastic. Sunshine, family time, making memories. However, when you’re self-employed, the school holidays can sometimes bring added stress. You might have child care to organise, you’ve probably got to work around clients going on holiday, but with a bit of forward thinking, it needn’t be quite as stressful as it could be!
The first thing to do is to do some planning ahead. The summer happens every year, the school holiday dates are advertised by the educational facility well in advance, so you have the ability to plan. It could be your quietest time of year with clients being away with their own families and perhaps not needing as much work done, but again, if you know this, you can plan ahead. Save some income from a previous month to cover your dip in earnings.
With the children being off and the long days in full flow, make sure you spend time together in the sunshine. One of the massive advantages of running your own business or being a freelancer is the flexibility. Enjoy a morning together as a family before working in the afternoon, or even take your laptop with you and work as they play on the beach. There’s nothing quite like working in the sunshine! Don’t forget though, you only have about sixteen summers with your children before they probably want to go off and do their own thing. Make the most of them!
With that said, get up early or stay up late. Getting up early is the better option because you can do work with a fresh mind, before the excitement of the day boggles up your mind. Speak to your children and let them know that if you’re not in your bed, you’ll be downstairs doing work. Grabbing even an hour before they rise for the day can be the best hour of distraction free work you’ve done in a long time!
This is your summer too. Make sure you take a break! You are entitled to switch off and rest. Don’t forget that you don’t need to go on fancy trips abroad to make amazing family memories. Camp sites are fairly cheap, so dig the tent out of the garage and give the kids an adventurous childhood.
If you do have meetings with clients during the summer, be aware of travel conditions. There might be more traffic on the road, especially near Bank Holidays. There are always rail and road repairs going on due to the longer days. Plan your journey with extra time for the just-in-case and if you have to travel a distance, why not combine it with a few days in a new part of the country as a family?
Use the quieter months as an opportunity to plan ahead. If you typically sell seasonally, prepare for Christmas. If you will have a hectic September after the summer comes to a close, make sure you are up to date with admin and all your business planning. Make some goals as you look into the future of the business and get your strategy nailed down.
If you need childcare, make sure to see if you are able to get anything from HMRC. Working parents (that includes the self-employed!) can claim up to £2,000 worth of Tax-Free Childcare per child per year. This raises to £4,000 if the child is disabled. Basically, if you qualify, the government will top up your payment. They seem to understand the predicament many people are in, with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury saying “We understand making arrangements for summer childcare at this time of year is important and can be a stressful time for parents.” She continued by saying “Tax-Free Childcare makes things easier, putting more money in the pockets of parents and supporting as many families as possible to secure high-quality, affordable childcare.”
The summer is here to be enjoyed. Make more of yours by using cashback sites, keeping an eye out for offers for attractions and taking your own food and drink with you when you go out. You can get a packet of 8 ice creams for £1, instead of spending £2 on an individual one from a van!
Let us know how you manage your business over the summer months as well as your top tips for making the most out of your holidays without breaking the bank, over on our Facebook page.