How do you avoid letting clients down when you can’t work?

Posted on: June 16th, 2010

Freelancers don’t take much time off sick – for the simple reason that, for every day you are ill, you don’t earn any money. (Unless you’re lucky enough to be on a retainer.)

Of course, everyone is going to succumb to the flu or some other illness at some point. Being off sick for a couple of days isn’t too much of a problem – you can make up the time you’ve lost pretty easily by working over the weekend once you’ve recovered or by working over a few evenings.

But it’s when you have to be off for several weeks that things can get a bit hairy. If you’ve got an important project coming up and you’re not there to play your part and you haven’t arranged any support to back you up, you may find your client soon becomes an ex-client. Because they may hire another freelancer in the interim and decide to stop using you once you’re back on your feet.

How will you cope financially if you get sick?

Posted on: May 18th, 2010

As a freelancer, you don’t have the luxury of being paid when you take time off sick. Having the odd cold or bout of sickness isn’t going to make a big dent in your finances but being off work for several weeks certainly will.

Hopefully you won’t be unlucky enough to have a bad accident or serious illness but these things can happen. I know freelancers who have broken an arm, undergone major surgery, or have had to take extended time off to care for an elderly relative. And no work means no income.

Since you don’t get sick pay from an employer or Sickness Benefit from the State as a freelancer, you will need to build up what I call a ‘buffer zone’. Put aside a regular amount each month that you can draw upon if you’re ill and unable to earn money.

The buffer zone is also there to draw upon if you experience a lean time and you can’t make ends meet. And it’s there if you suddenly find yourself the sole earner in your household because your partner has lost his or her job.