Tying loose ends – before tying the knot

Hi, I'm Deidre. In my posts, I talk about my voyage down the road of self-employment as a website copywriter, my achievements and roadblocks along the way, and what I’m learning as I go (with Marketing Mentor as my guide).

How does one take a month off from work to go to Italy to get married?

I’m still not sure, but I’m doing it anyway. I’m just trying to be as prepared as possible.
Here’s what I’m doing:

  1. Vacation reminder. For the last month, my email signature has included: “Vacation Reminder: I’ll be away from September 19th – October 14th, 2010.”
  2. I told my clients. I have a few clients who use my services regularly, and I personally told them that I’ll be away and why. I wouldn’t want them emailing me or calling when I’m gone, and finding out then. They are important, and they deserve the forethought.
  3. The slow down. I haven’t taken any new projects in the last 2 weeks.
  4. The speed up. I’m finishing up all my current projects before I leave.

Here’s one thing I’m not sure about: Should I offer backup?
I’m considering providing contact info for another copywriter (whose skills I am confident in) should clients/prospects need work done asap. I don't want to leave anyone hanging.  

What do you think about this?

Also, do you have any other advice? How have you prepared for a long trip?

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9 thoughts on “Tying loose ends – before tying the knot

  1. I just came back from a family reunion. I also posted in my newsletter that I would be gone for a given amount of time & I could not guarantee internet access. 3 clients still managed to contact me.
    What I did was ask a few friends if they could help me with some work. In the end, I had to outsource some work while I was there, otherwise I would of been written out of the will.

  2. I just came back from a family reunion. I also posted in my newsletter that I would be gone for a given amount of time & I could not guarantee internet access. 3 clients still managed to contact me.
    What I did was ask a few friends if they could help me with some work. In the end, I had to outsource some work while I was there, otherwise I would of been written out of the will.

  3. Deidre! Congratulations! Enjoy your time off; I agree with all those items, as I try to do the same when preparing for extended time away, particularly with the personalized email for some of my regular clients — great job on your post and catchy title, as always. Buona fortuna e auguri! : )

  4. I agree about lining up a back-up for while you are gone. Your clients will feel like you take care of them and that you are one step ahead of their needs. Ci vediamo in Italia!

  5. First of all, yay! Second, ditto on the backup.
    I arranged for a design colleague to cover my time off during my wedding/honeymoon. Even though my clients kindly assured me they would be fine while I was gone, I didn’t want to leave them hanging. I know they appreciated the fact that they had someone to keep projects going and make minor edits, so I’m really glad I made the decision.
    A few more pieces of advice from a newlywed:
    1) don’t use your cell phone/internet (only for emergency/family calls). I had no cell service on my honeymoon, so I was forced to check out for 2 weeks and it was a dream after all the planning and busyness.
    2) allow yourself some time to soak it all in when you return. It will admittedly be hard to get back to reality and focus on work, but don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for basking in the post-wedding glow :)
    Congratulazioni!! Can’t wait to see photos of bella Italia. (I love all the Italian being spoken here)

  6. I typically take 2-3 weeks off every year to visit family abroad. I begin telling clients about 2 months ahead of time, and connect them with a backup designer who I’ve briefed thoroughly and sent my files to. I do check email every couple of days, but so far this has worked quite well.

  7. I also use a backup person as a subcontractor when I am out of town. I bill my clients for their time, and then I pay them their hourly rate as a subcontractor. The subcontractor is vetted on any clients that they’ve been assigned to keep track of, and signs a contract stating that they can not do work for the client within one year of our last project together with that client. Hiring them as a subcontractor makes it easier for the client because they don’t have to worry about paying a new person, and it keeps you as the key point of contact.

  8. I should also note that I don’t use a subcontractor for all clients, only for clients who tend to have last minute projects that I think a subcontractor would be fully capable of completing. For those clients, I ask if they would like me to provide a backup person during my vacation. It’s worked out well so far.

  9. Thank you all so much for your well wishes and tips! I really appreciate it.
    Looks like offering another copywriter in my absence is a good idea.

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