Think back to the holiday season we just had. Did you experience stress and anxiety when taking time off? If you work for a government agency or a big company, the holidays are a time to relax and enjoy that paid vacation you get in your benefits package.
Self-employment is a different story. Holidays can bring stress and anxiety, scheduling problems, and lack of income. Most farriers don't have a staff to keep things rolling in their business while they're not there.
You're married to your business, and you have a responsibility to your clients and their horses. You've spent years focusing on nothing but building your practice and taking care of your clients. When you go to take time off, there's a lot more to think about than just submitting paperwork for some vacation time, and hitting the road.
If you spend your holiday season or vacation time, full of debt and guilt, you don't get to recharge in the way that you desperately need, and you're not doing your business any favors.
The very first thing we think about when we're self-employed is that if we're not physically shoeing horses, we're not making any money. This compounds during the holidays when everyone is spending like crazy. You don't even have to leave the comfort of your couch, just a click of a button, and you can spend thousands of dollars.
It's easy to get caught up in that enthusiasm. Last year Americans spent $830 billion on Christmas presents. That doesn't count money spent on transportation, food, and all the extra things that you do besides the gifts.
The holidays can cause quite a financial hit. If part of your New Year’s resolution is to spend less and save more, starting the year out with a massive credit card debt from the holidays doesn't help. What should have been a great vacation ends with a bunch of stress and a pit in your stomach. How can you avoid this in the future?
Choose your days off and make them absolute. Send your clients an email or text saying, "I'll be taking these days off and will be unavailable by phone or email during my vacation. If you have clients who punish you for taking time off, it's time to reevaluate working for them.
You have to learn to say no. It's often impossible for horseshoers to say no. We don't say no to horses, clients, or money, but we have to learn how to do that for our own health.
Once you block out your schedule, get your finances in order. Bob used to work at this barn that had great horses and phenomenal pay, but the management was full of negative people.
Every time he saw the name of that barn on his schedule, he'd tell himself this time was the last time he would work for them. But, the pay was too good, he just couldn't quit.
Instead, he took all the money he made from that client and put it in a savings account. That became his holiday vacation money. Eventually, he enjoyed scheduling the holiday barn. In the middle of all the negativity, he'd just remember what a great Christmas with the family he'd had last year and smile.
As farriers, we have to learn to ditch the guilt of taking time off. Consider the fact that being overworked and exhausted is terrible for your business. Exhaustion and stress are proven to negatively affect your memory, ability to learn, and problem-solving skills.
Plus, we all know that when you get tired, you're prone to accidents and those accidents are serious. They can impact your finances far more than just a couple of days off.
The more exhausted you are, the worse you're going to perform. Taking a break gives your brain and your body a chance to recover. I hope that you give this some thought, and as a self-employed farrier, you start carving out rest and vacation time. Apply Now