A short ‘n’ sweet checklist to help you shut up shop for the holidays

While it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, December can also mean work ramping up and fast-approaching festive deadlines. A recent report by Leapers - a support community for self-employed people and freelancers - found that 75% of self-employed folks said they took less than 28 days off in the last 12 months. If you’re one of those people, this PSA is for you: it’s time to prioritise yourself with a break this holiday season. 

Whether you’re running a business or levelling up your side hustle, taking a break from the daily grind is a must to help you wind down, recharge and start the new year refreshed. So what do you need to do before you shut up shop for the holidays?

1. Give customers a heads-up that yule be taking time off  

Closing your business during the holiday season shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone - that’s one of the perks of bank holidays. However, to avoid any misunderstandings or disappointment, it’s worth giving your customers a heads-up. 

Depending on your business, that might mean sending an email to all of your customers, sharing a post on social media or popping a ‘holiday hours’ sign in your shop or business premises. However you choose to communicate it, make sure that you’re crystal clear about the days and times you won’t be working or available.

2. Update your ho-ho-holiday hours 

When you start to wind things down, clearly communicate the days your business will be closed by updating your business or working hours online and offline to avoid any (attempted) interruptions while you’re rockin’ around the Christmas tree.

Update your hours on your website or leave a clear message that you’re closed for the holidays. Post on your business’s social media profiles and even consider popping a temporary ‘out of office’ message in your social bios. 

With so many people relying on Google for up-to-date information, it’s also worth updating your opening hours or temporarily marking your business as closed during your holiday - especially if your customers visit your business in-person. One big caveat though, make sure you update your Google settings when you reopen! 

3. Out with the notifications, in with the OOO

When the day arrives for you to start your well-earned holiday, turn on your out of office auto reply so that any eager customers reaching out aren’t met with radio silence. If customers tend to reach you by phone, it could also be worth setting a custom voicemail greeting on your iPhone or Android to let people know that you’ll get back to them after your break - but again, remember to update it once you’re back to work. 

With so much of our working lives being managed on our mobile phones, it can be tempting to stay permanently connected and keep checking in. If you can, consider logging out of your work-related apps and turning off your notifications while you’re on holiday. A digital detox during the holiday season can also be a great way to give your mind a rest and embrace quality time with friends and family. 

4. That’s a wrap!

Now all that’s left to do is embrace the festive spirit, kick your feet up with a glass of eggnog/sherry/insert festive drink of choice, and reflect on all your hard work this year - you're sleigh-in it!

A final friendly reminder: the 31st January Self Assessment deadline is just around the corner. If you’re already using FreeAgent, here are a few reasons you might want to get an early start on your return this year - including freeing up time over the festive season. 

Not using FreeAgent yet? Find out more about how FreeAgent can help you feel confident about Self Assessment or try a 30-day free trial to see for yourself.

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