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Surviving Christmas as a freelancer

3 minute read

The run-up to Christmas can feel a bit lonely when you’re a freelancer who works from home. While all your employed friends are gearing up for the company Christmas party, having fun decking out the office with festive decorations, and generally enjoying a more upbeat atmosphere, life pretty much carries on as normal from your little desk for one. Let’s take a look at how to survive the run-up to Christmas if you work for yourself.

Planning your Christmas holiday

Of course, the great thing about being freelance is that you don’t have to ask anyone about taking time off. You can take as much or as little time off as you like, without it affecting how much ‘annual leave’ you have left. In many respects, you can approach the Christmas holidays in much the same way as you would taking time off at any other time of year, which we’ve written all about here.

There are a couple of differences, though. Unlike regular time off, your clients will be out of the office as well. This theoretically makes things more relaxed, but it’s worth liaising with them to find out when they’ll be back in the office and make sure there’s nothing that they’ll be needing if you’re taking longer off than they are.

You might also find that some clients set ‘before Christmas’ as an arbitrary deadline for work that won’t actually even get looked at until the New Year. This can pile the pressure on to complete lots of work before you break for Christmas, so if you think your December schedule is looking too busy, you might want to query some of your pre-Christmas deadlines as and when they arise. If it’s a marketing campaign that clearly needs to go out before Christmas, for example, then there’s not much you can do; but if it’s actually not going to be needed until January, you could push for a January deadline to ease the pressure before Christmas.

Making the most of the marketing opportunities

Christmas is a busy time of year for marketers, and it’s not without its marketing opportunities for your business. Of course, if you’re selling products and services that are going to be in demand at this time of year – whether it’s handmade gifts or printing services – then the marketing potential is clear. Perhaps less obvious is the chance to use Christmas as a way of relationship building with your clients.

Many freelancers and small businesses send Christmas cards to their clients or customers, and some even go as far as sending a gift as well. What you do depends on your budget, but it’s a nice opportunity to thank a client for their custom as well as making them feel good about working with you. A simple, handwritten Christmas card will suffice, but if you do have the budget, you could send a gift to your most important clients. This could be anything from some stationery with your branding on it to a more lavish choice, such as a bottle of Champagne.

Getting into the Christmas spirit

Even for a freelancer, the run-up to Christmas shouldn’t be all work and no play. Take a break from work to decorate your home office, and perhaps put together a Christmas playlist so that you can enjoy a more festive atmosphere while you work. You may not have a company Christmas party to look forward to, but why not group together with some other self-employed friends and organise a ‘freelancers’ Christmas party’ of your own?

Finally, the great thing about being self-employed is that you can take a couple of hours out from work to get your Christmas shopping done during the week, when the shops are less busy – and there’s nothing to stop you treating yourself to a glass of mulled wine while you do it. It’s Christmas, after all!

For lots more advice about running your own business, check out some of our other posts about being freelance.

Rachel Ingram is a freelance copywriter with a background in digital marketing. She's written copy for clients ranging from the United Nations World Food Programme to The North Face, and particularly enjoys working with lifestyle and travel brands. In her spare time, she volunteers for Guide Dogs and flies light aircraft and helicopters.

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