Taking A Vacation When You Are Self-Employed

Taking A Vacation When You Are Self-EmployedI switched to full-time self-employment back in October of 2013, and I will be honest and say that taking a vacation is much more difficult than I thought it would be as a self-employed person.

It’s tough because of multiple reasons:

  • I enjoy what I do. I don’t feel like I need as many breaks like I did when I hated my job.
  • I want my business to succeed. I know that a one week vacation wouldn’t kill my business, but my business is still so new that I want to pour all of my time into it.
  • It’s hard to break away. I do so many different things that I think it would be very hard for me to take time off. I need to be better with delegating tasks so that I can take a vacation. I also need to work on scheduling more work ahead of time so that I can relax on my vacation.

There are many reasons for why vacations are important, and that’s why I think everyone should take them if they can. A vacation can really help lower your stress. It can also rejuvenate you and actually make you more motivated when you return to work. They are also fun and allow you to explore a new place!

Here are my tips to take a vacation:

Try to get as much done ahead of time.

One thing that I always try to do is to get as much work as I can get done. I usually write somewhere around 20 articles each week, so I will try to write more than usual so that I don’t have to worry about writing while I am on my vacation, as well as writing the few days after I come back from a vacation.

I try to make a to do list of everything that needs to be done and I will go through my list and tackle as much as I can before I actually leave.

This takes a significant amount of stress off of my plate, and it really helps me enjoy my vacation.

Let your clients or customers know that you will be gone.

In some industries, it is a good idea to let your clients or customers know that you will be on a vacation.

In most cases, they won’t even notice that you are gone, but there are probably certain circumstances where they should know ahead of time.

Have someone help manage your business while you are gone.

Even just hiring a virtual assistant to reply to e-mails or handle non-emergency issues can be a lifesaver.

It is usually best to do a test run before you head out on your vacation though so that any problems can be cleared up ahead of time. It takes out a lot of the stress while you are on vacation to do a test run.

Take your vacation during a slow time.

If you want to take a vacation, usually it is best to take one during a slow time. Taking a vacation during a peak time for your business will just add extra stress, and you may upset customers as well.

Lastly, try to take an actual vacation!

I am guilty to opening my laptop and working whenever I am on vacation. I don’t even remember the last time when I took a vacation and did not work at least a few hours each day. It’s like an obsession, I just have to work!

However, you should truly try to enjoy your vacation. Turn off your cell phone, laptops and everything else if you can. If you can’t go the whole vacation without working, try to limit it to certain parts of the day and give yourself a working limit as well.

If you are self-employed, do you find it hard to take a vacation? How about if you work for someone else?

When’s your next vacation? Tell me all about it! 🙂


How To Find A Writing Job

How To Find A Writing JobI started staff writing in 2012. It hasn’t been a very long time since I started writing online, but the amount of writing jobs that I have has grown significantly over this two-year timeframe.

Currently, I write over 20 articles each week. Some weeks I write much more than that, some weeks a little less.

Writing online is one of the many services that I offer through my freelancing business, and it is what helped me leave my day job to pursue freelancing full-time. Because of this, I receive many e-mails each week from readers asking what they can do to get into online writing.

You may have to start out small.

Many writers start out by taking free or low-paying jobs. Some say that you should always start out strong, but I think that in the beginning these low-paying jobs can help you build your portfolio. I don’t know of many people who will pay a new writer the same as they pay a highly experienced writer.

It can also help you determine if writing is for you. If you’ve never written for someone else before, then it might not be the best idea to start out with a full-time writing job. You might want to try just spending a few hours each week writing, to determine if you really like it.

Figure out what topic you want to write about.

Some writers decide to write about all sorts of topics, but many choose to narrow it down to one or two. I mainly write for finance and travel blogs. Finance is something that I enjoy talking about, but travel helps me branch out a bit and write something new every now and then, which I love.

There are many different niches out there: lifestyle, finance, fashion, travel, family, education, business, home, DIY, and more.

Have a website.

If you want to write for others, then you will need to advertise your services in some form. I don’t have a website dedicated to my freelancing services, but I do have Making Sense of Cents where I have a page dedicated to the different services that I offer. It has helped many clients find me.

Search for writing jobs.

If you are not having much luck with your writing website, then you may want to try searching for writing jobs yourself. I have done this many times, and I have found many successful writing positions this way.

There are two main ways to do this: search job boards and/or find websites that you are interested in working for.

Job boards such as ProBlogger will list available jobs. Website owners list their jobs on their job board and it can make it very easy to find available jobs. However, the search doesn’t end there – you still have to apply for the writing position and be accepted.

The second way is to find websites that you are interested in writing for, and personally seeing if they have any writing positions open. They might have a “Career” section or something similar that directly says if they have a writing job, or you might have to reach out to someone at the website/company to see if they are looking for a writer.

Whatever you do, always make sure that the website/company that you are going to write for is a real one! I always do research before I say yes to a job, because you don’t want to waste your time and not get paid.

Do you have any writing jobs? Why or why not?


Money Making Idea – Find a Roommate

Money Making Idea - Find a RoommateOur house has four bedrooms and two bathrooms, which is definitely a lot of space and room for just two people to be living in. We figured that the extra space was better utilized by renting it out.

We aren’t bringing in the big bucks by renting out a room in our home, but we are making a little profit on a room that would otherwise be empty.

Since we bought our home almost five years ago, we have had four people live with us. The first two were not for very long (one for around six months and the other for just a few days).

The longest person to live with us is my sister, and she’s been with us for a few years now. My sister has definitely been the best roommate so far. However, after she moves out this summer, we will not be looking for another roommate.

I still do think that it can be a great way to make some side money, but I plan on turning her bedroom into my home office and turning the other room upstairs (where my office currently is) into a nicer guest bedroom (our bedroom is upstairs as well, and the fourth bedroom is in the basement). I definitely think that renting out a room for around the past 5 years has been well worth it.

Below are different things to think about before you decide to get a roommate.


Will you actually make money?

I have seen people rent out a room in their home for something cheap – like $100 (and not splitting the utility bills). However, at $100, you might not even be making any money because your bills will go up, and there will also be additional wear and tear on your home.

You should try to find an amount that you think the room deserves, but you should also be realistic. If your monthly mortgage is $1,000, then asking for $900 for rent for one bedroom is probably not realistic.

We have always asked for around $250 a month for the room that my sister is currently in. We believe it’s a good price, and she even thought it was on the cheap side. I prefer for both sides to feel like they are getting a good deal!

$250 isn’t a lot of money, but it is better than nothing. We could rent out the other two bedrooms that we have as well (the last bedroom is for us, of course), but fitting more people into our house would make it feel a little cramped. The rent money we collect used to go towards student loans, but now it just goes towards other expenses that we have.


How do you determine what they should pay?

This is hard to say. Pick an amount that you think is fair. If you have four bedrooms, then something such as 25% of the total mortgage may be fair if you want to rent out one bedroom.

Also, you might think about splitting all utilities and other bills with your roommate. You never know if they may use a lot of water or a lot of electricity.


Are you allowed to have roommates?

If you don’t own the place where you live, then you may not be able to even rent a room out. Also, if you live in a neighborhood that has an HOA, then you might not be able to as well.


Who do you want to live with you?

You might think that you will be fine with just anyone living with you, but that is usually not the case. You should think long and hard about who the right person is, and you might even want to conduct some interviews.

For example, if you enjoy peace and quiet, then you probably do not want a constant partier living with you who will come and go at all hours of the night. Also, if you are a clean freak, then having an extremely dirty person living with you might drive you nuts. You will probably drive the other person nuts because you will probably be nagging them all the time.


Lay out the ground rules.

Since I’ve been public with my blogging, I have to refrain from bashing one person who used to live with us. They only lived with us for a few days, but it was an absolutely horrible experience. The person really needed a place to stay, so we weren’t doing it to make money, we were just trying to help the person out. We ended up paying him to leave because it was so horrible. Lets just say someone did something illegal (multiple times) in front of our house for all of our neighbors to see (our neighbors told us instead of calling the police) and we then realized how sketchy the person was. Oh yeah and there were other incidents as well that included peeing in our house multiple times (nope, not in a bathroom!), and inviting equally sketchy friends over.

If you decide to have roommates, you should always try to lay out the ground rules beforehand. Different things that you might want to discuss include:

  • Are parties allowed?
  • Are they allowed to have guests? What about overnight guests?
  • Who buys toiletries?
  • How does the cleaning situation go?
  • When is rent due?
  • What happens if they break something?
  • What rooms are they allowed to go in? Are they only renting their bedroom, or do they have access to the whole house?
  • Are pets allowed?

Have you ever rented out a room in your home? Why or why not?