August is traditionally a quite month for many businesses both large and small. It’s the season of expensive family holidays bought on credit card overdrafts and parents having to take time off work to look after their kids or book them into holiday clubs. This doesn’t leave a lot of time or money left for businesses who are looking for sales or new contracts. We must sit tight.
For those of us who don’t have kids to entertain for six weeks and don’t get a summer holiday, this is potentially (depending on how stretched you are in a normal business week) a half way point between tax years to get stuck into admin, blog writing, researching, stock taking and making. It’s also when we head to social media to ask what everyone else is doing to stay occupied in August.
Towards the end of August it’s a time for me to spend a couple of weeks with family. I can’t go on holiday and keep my Etsy shop open for sales but visiting relatives who live quite a distance from me means I can box up whatever I can fit into my car and change shipping dates on whatever is left. That way the shop stays open and I get to see some different scenery for a change whilst I continue to manage the day to day admin.
Combining a small business with every day of the year and locating yourself elsewhere is a skill requiring commitment and organisation but it also depends on your business as to how flexible you can be. I can’t make when I’m away because taking a 12 stone semi-industrial sewing machine with me just isn’t practical, but I can keep up with computer based work, and start sketching out new design ideas. But it’s like they say ‘do a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’. So true.
This work style isn’t unusual for micro businesses where, if you’re not there holding the fort, no one is. In some respects it makes the business fragile. In other ways it makes it stronger, more flexible and able to cope with the multiple ups and downs of life that are thrown at us all the time.
Whilst all around us huge companies balance on a precarious financial knife edge, working for yourself means you have far more wiggle room for, at the very least, finding other work when times are tough and keeping things ticking over in the background. And I suppose that’s where it falls down when it comes to holidays. There’s no employment contract ensuring you get your standard minimum 28 days off on full pay. But equally, you don’t own the business or call those all important shots.