How to Crowdsource Your Time Off

Last Updated Oct 14, 2011 10:40 AM EDT

One of the great things about working for yourself is that you have a lot of control over your time. One of the downsides is that it is very hard to take a vacation because, unless Brand You has expanded to Brand You Plus Three Assistants, if you're not working, your company basically ceases to exist.
A week-long vacation is one thing. Taking an actual leave of absence, like a maternity leave or a sabbatical, is even more complex. I just had my third child on October 5, and while I've kept up some things (like this BNET blog), I've been trying to get some other things off my plate for a little while. A big one? Posting daily at my personal blog. I could have just stopped, but after building up traffic slowly over 2.5 years, I didn't want to see readers drift away, especially as I near the launch of another book.

So I took a different approach. About a week before I had my baby, I wrote to several bloggers I admire, and asked if they'd be willing to guest post. I explained why I was asking, and noted that I was very happy to re-run published material (as long as they owned the rights). No need to make more work when the material would be new to my readers anyway! Not everyone said yes, but the vast majority did. Many even mentioned what a great idea they thought it was -- that self-employed people should do more to help each other take breaks from time to time.

Net result? My blog has been much more varied and fun these past few weeks, I've strengthened a few professional relationships, and I'm using the time I would be coming up with ideas and cranking out posts to bond with my baby daughter.

I think this "crowdsourcing" idea has a lot going for it. It's what you naturally do in a bigger office when you ask different co-workers to cover for you. As more of us wind up working independently, we have to build up our own networks of co-workers.

If you work by yourself, do you have people you could call on to cover for you?


Photo courtesy flickr user jylcat