Can Your Freelance Business Survive an Illness?

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Being a freelancer has its perks. You get to set your own hours and control your income. Plus, there’s no one looking over your shoulder eight hours a day.

These aspects are appealing, but when you freelance, you also miss out on certain benefits, like paid sick leave.

Like every other human being, you get sick from time to time. You may be able to work through certain illnesses and keep your business moving. Other times, you may need to take a few days off and recoup.

Several scenarios can trigger a work timeout, such as mental burnout, a virus or infection, and various types of personal injuries. But these health setbacks don’t have to impact your income.

Prepare for an Illness as a Freelancer

Here are a couple of ways to stay on top of things while you’re under the weather.

1. Build an Emergency Savings Cushion

The same way you plan for vacations and other time off you need to plan ahead for illnesses. Some employees have paid sick leave, where they can take a few days off from work and still get paid.

It doesn’t work this way when you freelance. But with enough cash in the bank, you can afford to take time off and rebuild your strength. Take 10% of your pay off the top and deposit this cash in a savings account. For a higher return, consider a high-yield savings account.

How much do you need to earn each day to keep your freelance business thriving?

Stash a little cash each month and build a two or three-month emergency fund. This provides enough cash for a worst-case scenario. This way, your bills get paid and you don’t have to feel guilty about taking time off.

2. Outsource Your Work

Not only do you need to recoup and get better, you also need to keep your clients happy. Staying ahead of deadlines can help.

In this case, you might be able to take a day or two off and complete assignments by their due dates. You can also ask clients for a due date extension, but this isn’t the most professional move.

If you have to take several days off and you fear missing several deadlines, consider temporarily outsourcing your work to other freelances. This approach won’t work for everyone.

You’ll need to read your freelancing agreement carefully, as some clients may prohibit outsourcing. Build your network of writer and you can become each other’s go-to person during illnesses.

Make sure the writers can provide stellar content and match the tone of your client’s website. Be sure to proofread and edit content before submitting to your clients.

3. Keep Yourself Healthy

Illnesses are inevitable, but healthy lifestyle choices can reduce your number of infections. And this might mean working less on some days when you’re getting too stressed out. (Something I remind myself often.)

Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise can give your immune system a boost, thus helping you avoid many illnesses.

Proper rest is also key and you should aim for eight hours of shut eye each night. Likewise, it helps to take breaks. Working nonstop might benefit your bank account, but burnout can take a toll on your mental and physical health.


  1. John S @ Frugal Rules says:

    Great insight Carrie! We do all three of these with our business, especially #1 & #3. Thankfully if one of us is sick then the other can pick up some of the slack. However, with little ones running around that is not always an option.

  2. #3 is very important! I don’t think people really think about how preventative care is important to keep one productive. Like that say, an ounce of prevention is worth more than pound of cure. Or something to that extent lol.

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