The Upside

7 Reasons Why Consultants Need PTO Days Too

Let’s state the obvious: summer is often the season of clients kicking the can and slower-than-normal business activity. But I promise that all is not lost during these slow summer months!

When you were an employee, your company offered paid time off in the form of vacation days, sick days and possibly parental leave days. Hopefully, you took advantage of these.

However, few consultants ever consider allocating paid time off for themselves. After all, time off  means lost income, right?

Well, not necessarily.

If you know that historically speaking, Q2 is your strongest quarter and Q3 is your slowest, consider using the slower months to take a full break away from the business for travel, rest and recharging. 

Close your eyes and try to imagine what it would feel like to take time off for yourself, without any of the guilt of being away from your desk and client work.

To do this, consider shifting your mindset to an annual revenue outlook vs. a monthly or quarterly revenue outlook. 

For example, if you earned $80k in Q1 and $90K in Q2, but only have $10k in the pipeline for all of Q3, that’s still $20k/month as a whole which sounds (and feels) a lot better than $10k for three months. In the world of independent consulting, this is what we call “big-picture thinking.”

Granting yourself PTO during your predictably slower months gives you an opportunity to…

  1. Reset
  2. Reflect
  3. Recharge
  4. Disconnect from work
  5. Reconnect with yourself
  6. Travel to faraway places
  7. Spend quality time with loved ones

…and ALL of this is good for business.

Many consultants feel guilty taking PTO. Yet, as a former leader in the FTE world, I’m betting you encouraged your team to take their PTO for all of the reasons listed above. 

Now, it’s your turn to take your own advice, without any of the guilt. 

My slowest months are August and December. Therefore, those are the months that I plan ahead for travel and disconnecting. I’ve been doing this consistently for the past three years and, as a result, my mental cup is full and my business continues to thrive, without the risk of me burning out.

If you’ve been looking for permission to take PTO during your slow summer months, consider this your sign to do so.

Here’s to a fruitful summer filled with recharging your body and refilling your cup.

You’ve got this!

Erin Halper

About the Author

Erin Halper is the founder and CEO of The Upside and the leading authority on independent consulting. Since launching The Upside in 2017, Erin has helped thousands of professionals transition from corporate life into consulting to achieve flexibility, autonomy, and a renewed sense of purpose in their careers.

Erin has been a frequent speaker at Columbia, NYU, Harvard, and Brown and has been featured as a leading future of work expert on dozens of podcasts as well as in Forbes, Business Insider, Nasdaq, Crunchbase and many more.

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