Surviving Christmas as a freelancer.

Words, hubbul

Less than a month ‘til Christmas, already. For every Grinch and miserable sod out there, hide from it all you want, but there’s no getting away from the ‘most wonderful time of the year’. Grin it, bear it, get on with it. It’s barely even begun.

Tacky decorations and lights brighten up the high street, and every newspaper, website, magazine and retailer hop aboard the festive bandwagon in an attempt to flog you stuff you simply don’t need – whether it’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday or any day of the week for all that it matters.

And who could forget the annual crashing and burning of productivity levels in offices all around the world? That’s worth a tumbler of Baileys, a mince pie and a cheers isn’t it? Christmas party season, festive frolics and inebriated mistakes go as hand-in-hand with this time of the year as the fat man in the red suit.

On the subject of Christmas, spare a thought for independent workers. While employees up and down the UK nurse their hangovers and begin to slack off, there’s 2million or so freelancers and contractors gearing up for what can turn out to be strangely quiet period – that is unless you work on projects in the hospitality or retail sectors.

So as offices wind-down and focus shifts towards the new year, enjoy a few tips and tricks on how to survive the Christmas period as a freelancer or contractor.

Rest. Honestly.

Christmas might turn out to be quiet on the work front, with many companies closing down for a couple of weeks. But there’s no reason you can’t either. The new year often brings a flurry of demand, as businesses look to make a big statement by kicking off January full throttle. If you’re a valued freelancer or contractor with a good set of clients, don’t be afraid of putting your feet up – it is allowed you know.

Get organised.

Struggle to switch off? You’re not alone. If taking a break for a week or two isn’t an option, spend the dead week or two over Christmas doing the things you’ve been putting off for far too long. Whether it’s refreshing your website, tailoring new pitches for January or even sorting the dreaded self-assessment tax returns early – you won’t be wasting your time. You might be interested to hear that in 2015 a record number of people submitted their Self-Assessment on Christmas Day. So you’d be in good company.

Skill up.

Sure it’s only a fortnight at most, but that’s more than enough time to widen your skill set. If you’re looking to branch out into new areas or just get a better understanding of your industry, it pays to have a varied and a relevant set of skills. Who knows, you might even be able to raise your day rates ready for the new year. Stranger things have happened.

Don't panic.

Easier said than done, we know. But it’s a valid point nonetheless. December in general is a funny old time of the year. Don’t panic if you’re asked to clock-off a few days early. The very nature of being freelance is that businesses can stop and start a project whenever they want. It works both ways. As long as you’re doing a good job, you’ll be on their radar come January.

Christmas is ‘the’ time of the year that time off is almost a given. So unless you’re one of the minority engaged in an ongoing and busy Christmas project or contract, enjoy it while it lasts – because the new year has a funny habit of being busy.

How are you fixed over the Christmas period? Get commenting...


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