How to Handle Sick Days as a Freelancer

Sick days happen. And yes, they even happen to freelancers. But unlike a traditional 9-5 job, freelancers don’t get sick days, and few of us have teams that can make up our work if we need to take a day off. So how should freelancers handle sick days?

First things first:

  • Set reasonable deadlines. If a project is going to take you 7 days, quote 10. It sounds selfish, but both you and your client will thank you down the line.

  • Listen to your body. Few things help a sick person as well as rest does. Don’t push yourself to do too much, or else you’ll risk getting sicker and being out longer.

  • Communicate. If your illness is so bad that it’s going to affect a deadline, let your client know as soon as possible. If they respect you and your work, they’ll understand.

  • Build your network. It’s always great to have a trusted subcontractor to call if you’re nearing a deadline, or if you’ll be out for awhile (surgery, parental leave, extended illness, etc.)

And as fate would have it, I got sick the week I recorded this episode. All better now, but please take care of yourselves this winter!

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