Taking a ‘summer sabbatical’ had been a goal of mine for a long time. I think I first said it out loud in 2017. It felt like a real possibility at the beginning of 2020, but, well… we all know how that turned out. Even when we booked our flights to Australia earlier this year, I didn’t really believe I’d be able to switch off completely. It finally started to sink in when I wrote this line in a message to my mailing list…
I’m doing it. I’m really doing it. Writing this email is one of the last things on my to-do list before I take most of the summer off and head to Australia.
Letters From Love Audrey, 1st July 2022
So, how was I able to take six weeks away from my business? Beyond practical steps like putting money aside and working in advance, a few things aligned to finally make taking a summer sabbatical possible this year.
I’m an Auntie Now!
What does that have to do with running a business? Not much, but it turns out meeting my new niece and seeing my little sister for the first time since November 2019 was the motivation I needed to take this goal seriously. In the past, my summer plans have been pretty vague and easy to brush off. Clearly, my brain prefers having something solid and non-negotiable to aim for.
I Have Loyal, Understanding Clients
This trip wouldn’t have been possible without my retainer clients, almost all of whom I’ve been working with for several years. When I told them about my plans, they were supportive and encouraging. I believe the length and depth of our working relationship has played a big part in my ability to step away. It’s also been a good reminder that this is my preference over constantly chasing and winning new clients.
Creating all their content ahead of time so I could maintain my usual income while I was away was hard work, but I kept reminding myself it was just a busy season before a summer of radical rest.
My Services Are in Demand
For the last couple of years, I’ve been booking the bulk of my work at least six to nine months in advance. This allowed me to plan my schedule and take time off, safe in the knowledge that I had projects on the books, and money coming in, as soon as I got back.
Over the years, I’ve also come to realise summer is my quietest season. I don’t make a lot of money in July and August, so it didn’t feel like a big deal to sit this one out.
That Covid Confidence
The last couple of years have taught me a lot about my own capabilities and what my business can withstand. Thanks to lockdown life, I’m so familiar with Zoom, working remotely from the other side of the world feels easy. After riding out a pandemic, taking six weeks off didn’t scare me. I knew my business would survive. In fact, I was pretty sure I’d come back stronger and more inspired than ever before.
- In Part 2, I’ll be sharing how things panned out while I was away. Once I’ve sorted through all my photos, I’ll also be writing a brief round-up of our trip. It was truly incredible.
Love Audrey xxx
P.S. How to Take Time Off When You’re Self-Employed
P.P.S. A version of this post originally appeared in Letters From Love Audrey, my monthly newsletter filled with creative inspiration for you and your business. If you’ve enjoyed reading this and would like more of the same in your inbox, you can sign-up here.