It's Summer...Now Where's My Vacation?

It's now officially summer, and after this week, the kids will all be done school.

For a lot of families, this means the start to vacation season. You've worked through all of your company's busy seasons, put in late hours and early mornings, and now it's time to take those well deserved 2 weeks off.

Unfortunately, when you run a solo operation, summer just means you can wear shorts when you stumble out to check the mail, before going right back to your desk. We "solopreneurs" don't have sanctioned days off. Heck, a lot of times we don't even get a proper weekend.

Now, sure, this gives us some serious martyr cred with our friends.

What? You're just sitting around in your back yard reading a book? Oh, how nice for you. Me? Oh, just pulling a 12 hour day trying to finish off these reports. Yes, I AM aware that you're getting paid to sit and read. No I can't come out to the lake with your family this weekend. Why? Because you're the one who asked me to finish off the reports.

Does this sound familiar, or is my life uniquely pathetic?

To make matters worse, it's not just a matter of money. It would be possible for any business owner to set aside 4% of their wages each month too. The problem is the work. We don't exactly have Steve or Jessica to cover for us while we're away.

Some of you work in businesses that are more seasonal than others. If you sell air conditioners in Canada, you aren't very busy in the winter (or the spring, or fall, or most of summer...not that I'm bitter). In those cases, it's easier to plan around those lulls.

Although I have a busy season (March/April), I don't really have a slow season per se. So how does one plan holidays in those situations?

I'm actually writing this more as a question to you, rather than as a way to setup some answers for you. I have always struggled with taking time off. However, as I'm tying this, I have a few ideas that I'd like to share. In return I'd love to hear some advice from you.

  1. Plan ahead
    If you know you want to take 2 weeks off in July, let your clients know well in advance. In addition, make sure you get all of your work caught up, and completed projects sent back before you leave. Also, don't plan your holidays during busy seasons or important deadlines. It would be really dumb of me to go away the last week in April.
  2. Setup passive sources of income
    Time isn't the only problem. Unlike employees, we aren't getting paid when we're on vacation. So, try to find passive sources of income that can support you even when you're not working. This could be from products you sell on your site (like an eBook), or from revenue generated from ads or affiliate commissions.
  3. Outsource
    This is one is tricky. I'm not sure how I feel about this one, so I'd love your opinions. However, one way to solve your absense would be to hand off your work to someone else while you're away. I've never done this, but in some cases it would be a way for the work to get done while you're on a beach.

Do you have any tips for taking vacation as a sole proprietor? I, and anyone else reading this would love to hear them. Seriously, your tips may result in yours truly taking some time off this summer, which would be greatly appreciated.