The Perils of Taking Holiday When You are Self-Employed

The Perils of Taking Holiday When You are Self-Employed

I write to you on this grey Monday morning because I am alone at HQ. Minna is on holiday and after much pre-departure stress, I am enjoying my extended creative control. So, I want to talk about a common misconception. That when your office is your laptop you can live the dream and take as much holiday as you want, where you want, when you want.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many perks to starting up your own business. You can go to that random doctor’s appointment in the middle of the day and not have to bring a change of smart shoes for when you finish your morning commute. However, the biggest assumption about the perks of the start-up life - being able to reap the fruit of your labour and take unlimited holidays - is far far far from the truth.

Firstly, when is there ever a right time? Due to the fast-paced and unpredictable nature of start-ups there never is one. This means you can’t plan any holiday in advance because you don’t know what is going to crop up. This results in pissing off your friends and family because you can’t commit and paying for extortionately expensive last-minute flights.

There is also the issue of breaking the news to your business partner that they are going to be manning the fort. It’s always met with a high-pitched torrent of questions like ‘ahhhh that’s so exciting, where are you going, with whom, hotel or Airbnb?’, but all they really want to know is ‘for how f***ing long’? (don’t worry Min, take your time).

A sad realisation was that we can never go on holiday together because we do our own distribution. This is always a bit awkward when it comes to bank holiday weekends or festi’s (as Minna likes to call them), probably a good thing as we see each other all day, every day and at this point we’re desperate for some new material to talk about over lunch. It's also difficult when I go away because Minna hasn’t quite worked out how to not get sucked into lengthy conversations with the Jehovah’s Witnesses that frequent the office block.

If you do manage to escape from your business partner then the sacred time you have to switch off and get some well-deserved R&R translates into an anxiety fuelled week of checking sales, catching up on emails, racking up an astronomically high phone bill from data roaming, researching the local fruit, skyping at strange hours and feeling guilty you are away.

Funnily enough a fellow entrepreneur came to our offices on Friday, around midday, to pick up some undies for his lucky girlfriend (we won’t name names). When we asked what he was doing for the rest of the day he began to stutter and look very shifty before admitting he was taking the rest of the day off to drive home in the West Midlands. We patted him on the back and sent him on his way and the two of us felt a lot less guilty when we reached for the G&T at 5 pm.

So Minna, sit back, relax, enjoy some papaya on the beach and when you come back hopefully our empire will still be intact. I’ll do my best.

Illustration: Rachel Campbell @the_illustratice