Not many job categories are growing in today's economy, but here's one that is: the number of workers calling themselves "free agents." According to temp staffing agency Kelly Services, more than four in 10 workers call themselves "free agents," feeling unattached, long term, to any employer. This is up from 26% in 2008. People flit between organizations and -- often -- spend significant time working for themselves.
There are many upsides to calling yourself boss. The downside? Every year, around the holidays, entrepreneurs learn (and relearn, as the case may be) that it's tough to take even a week or two off, let alone a longer absence, like a maternity leave or sabbatical.
While corporations dangle paid vacation as a perk, as James Sutton, a self-employed psychologist in Pleasanton, Texas puts it, "the self-employed person pays for their 'fun' twice: the cost of the time off, and the revenue lost from not working."
It's tempting to just keep grinding away. But that's counter-productive. Sutton claims that "some of my best ideas and marketing approaches came when my mind was refreshed and 'idle,'" and many other free agents report the same thing. Here are a few strategies for taking time off from business owners who've done it:
Plan ahead. Way ahead.
2011年底的时候就制定出明年的旅行方案。至少提前数月确定休假时间，这样就能在客户服务规划中留出空挡，同时相应规划好产品供应。蒂姆·帕金是帕金网络开发公司（Parkin Web Development）总裁，该公司位于佛罗里达州奥兰多。他说：“如果拖到最后时刻才决定去哪里旅行，你就没办法做好充分准备并知会客户。这对双方都不公平。
Figure out your 2012 travel plans by the end of 2011. Knowing your vacation times at least a few months in advance lets you build that lack of availability into your client proposals and plan your pipeline accordingly. Says Tim Parkin, president of Parkin Web Development in Orlando, Florida, "last minute trips make it difficult to adequately prepare and give notice to your clients. It's unfair to both parties."
Knowing your schedule ahead of time also lets you plan for some long days before and after, and arrange employee schedules with that in mind. Parkin notes that clients who learn of your vacation plans "might have immediate requests ('Can you do XYZ before you leave?'), which is why more notice is better."
Watch your business cycle.
If you run a retail business, forget about starting Christmas vacation before Christmas. Mark Aselstine, who co-owns a wine club called Uncorked Ventures with his brother-in-law, notes that "50% of our sales typically occur between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day." 2010 was their first in business, "and we didn't have a real plan and ended up, frankly, not doing a good job seeing family, or getting customer orders delivered in a timely manner."
This year, the rest of the family will start Christmas without them, and Aselstine and his brother-in-law will take off on the night of the 23rd. At that point, it's too late to get wine delivered before the 25th, and with January being a slow month for wine, they won't have to hurry back.
2011-12-31 21:22 编辑：kuaileyingyu