As a freelancer, your income and success is dependent on getting work and meeting clients’ expectations so that they pay you and come back for more – and this depends on having the time, skills and health to complete the work, communicating with them and usually, using the internet.
But when things go wrong, who’s got your back? The answer should be… you.
So have you?
What If You Lose Your Internet Connection?
- Know where your local free wi-fi locations are in case you need to use them
- If possible, have any applications you need loaded on to a mobile device so that you’re not restricted to working from home
- Consider having an emergency working buddy – someone with whom you have a reciprocal arrangement. You can go to their home or office to work if your technology fails you, and vice versa
- Consider investing in a dongle or mobile hotspot.
What If Your Mobile Isn’t Working?
- If you can, keep a spare phone that will take your SIM card
- Don’t be tempted to do away with your landline, even if you rarely use it
- Keep contact details elsewhere, not just in your phone, in case your phone or SIM is lost, damaged or faulty
What If Your PC or Laptop Fails?
- Back up your work, contact lists, important emails or documents regularly to at least one place – preferably two. Making one of these two the Cloud is commonsense; that way, the accessibility and safety of your data isn’t reliant on the health of your devices. You can use a server, a separate hard drive, a memory stick… whatever you use, ensure that backing up everything you need to maintain your working life is part of your routine.
- Keep any application or program disks in one safe, easily accessible place so they can be downloaded on to a new PC or laptop.
What If You Need To Take Time Off Work?
- Whether it’s illness of a relative or you’re ill yourself, there may come a time when you can’t work for a prolonged period. When you freelance, there’s no sick leave, parental leave or compassionate leave – if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. However, you can get income protection insurance and critical illness protection, and it’s worth considering if you’re entirely dependent upon your freelance income.
What If You Run Out of Money?
- Try to put money away in the good times, so that you’ve got something to fall back on if money isn’t coming in
- Try to diversify your services. If you’re a freelance writer, why not offer editing services or search marketplace websites for proofreading work? If you’re a web designer, could you maintain websites too and perhaps create content? The more strings there are to your bow, the higher your chances of surviving the tough times.
- Don’t ignore the option of Becoming Employed. Sometimes, working for someone else – even if it’s only part-time or temporary – is the only answer. Don’t close your mind off to the possibility; if you can find regular part-time employment, even if it’s just for a few hours a week, consider it. There’s a lot to be said for a guaranteed income that appears in your bank account month in, month out.
What If Clients Are Starting To Demand Services You Can’t Provide?
- Stay up to date with what’s happening in your industry and if necessary, arrange courses and training to make sure you gain new skills and knowledge and brush up on those things you’ve been doing since the year dot. You’re your own boss, remember, so just as any goo boss would, audit yourself occasionally to identify training needs
- Consider sub-contracting or working in partnership with another freelancer if clients require a package of interlinked services that you can’t provide. This is easier to do if you’ve established good relationships with other freelancers and people working within your industry.