Is It Easier to Handle the Summer Holidays When You’re Self Employed?
If you ask a child what the summer holidays mean to them, you’ll probably get an answer along the lines of: long lazy days, lots of time with family, ice cream, days out, fun and games, special treats, and adventures. Unfortunately, us adults are far more aware of all the extra hard work that goes into making those childhood summer dreams a reality!
The parents among you will know that this is the first week of the summer holidays. It’s a particularly big challenge this year as in some areas the holiday period is set to run for seven weeks instead of the usual six. Great news for the kids… not so great for working parents.
If you’re thinking about becoming self-employed, you might be wondering about how the lifestyle would benefit your family. For instance: will it be easier to handle school holidays?
The short answer to this is: yes. If you’re self-employed and in control of your own hours it’ll be in your power to adjust your work to suit the kids’ time off. You’ll be able to choose to work from home if you don’t already and you’ll be able to take time off at your own discretion rather than anyone else’s. Benefits like these mean that the number of mothers who work freelance has gone up 24% in the last two years.
But things are never quite that simple, are they?! Self employment and school holidays don’t necessarily go perfectly together and there will certainly be new challenges for you to negotiate.
If you’re considering fitting self employment in around your family, you might want to ask yourself a few of these questions.
How much time off can you afford to take?
Taking time off when you’re self-employed is a bit of a double edged sword. Yes, you have the freedom to take as many days as you like… but you won’t get any holiday pay in return. If your finances are secure you may choose to drop down to part time hours during holiday periods. However, if you’re just starting out (or if you need to make extra cash to cover expensive holiday activities!) you may need to make up time elsewhere.
Do you need to be clear about when you’re working and when you’re not?
Many self-employed people find it beneficial to set clear boundaries about when they’re working and when they’re not. During the holidays this can become very muddled! It can be beneficial to everyone to take time off during the summer (not least because holidays are good for your health!) and you may want to schedule extra guilt-free family time. Just make sure that the whole family know when you need to work and shouldn’t be disturbed.
Will you need to arrange childcare for at least some of the time?
It’s easy to assume that just because you work from home you’ll be able to handle childcare on top of everything else. This is often not the case, especially if your children are primary school age or younger! Holiday clubs can be pricey, but in the long run arranging for the kids to do them a few days a week could do wonders for your stress levels and your income.
Are your children likely to give you space to work?
If you are hoping to manage the holidays without childcare or help from other adults, it’s important to be realistic about how much time you’re going to have to work. Depending on how old and independent your children are they’re likely to have very different levels of understanding of how important your working time is. If they’re unlikely to give you much quiet time to work during the day, you may want to consider working while they’re asleep, either first thing in the morning or late at night.
Self-employment may not be the perfect answer to managing childcare during the summer holidays, but it certainly does give you more options! If you’re already self-employed, how do you do it? We’d love you to share your tips and tricks over on our Facebook page.
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