How prepared are you when you hit problems?

Posted on: June 8th, 2011

My guest writer, Deborah Henry-Pollard, wrote a post last week explaining the importance of taking time to consider all the things that could go wrong in your  freelance business.

In Deborah’s free e-book (which you can download from her website, Catching Fireworks) she explains how to do this, so that you’re fully prepared when problems hit.

As she mentioned in her blog post, you need to think of all the things that could go wrong and then come up with 12 solutions to each one – in case the first 11 won’t work for some reason.

So I thought I’d put this to the test and have thought of two possible things that might happen and dreamt up 10 solutions (I couldn’t quite stretch to the suggested 12.)

1st problem: The writer who was going to work with me on a project will be off sick for three weeks

Possible solutions:

  1. Call other writers I know to see if they can help at short notice
  2. Ask the client if they know of a writer who could help out
  3. Ask if the project can be delayed for three weeks
  4. Ask if I can write my section of the project now and the other writer could do their bit when they return to work
  5. See if there is anyone in the client company who could take on this assignment
  6. Work all hours and do the entire project myself
  7. Offload the entire project (and problem) to another writer and decide to put my feet up
  8. Tell the writer they have to work, even though they are sick
  9. Wave a magic wand and the other writer’s illness is cured
  10. Teach my cat to write

2nd problem: I break my non-writing arm which means I can’t type for six weeks

Possible solutions

  1. Buy a Logipen to convert my handwriting to text
  2. Type one handed
  3. Write everything in longhand and hire a virtual assistant to type it up
  4. Dictate everything and ask my husband to write it up
  5. Buy voice-activated software (this would be higher up the list if the software curently available were any good)
  6. Decide to use the time to take a complete break from work
  7. Hand over all my work to another writer and take a 15% cut in the fees they earn
  8. Ask my clients if I can take on non-writing projects for them (eg: phone-based tasks)
  9. Type using my toes
  10. Teach my cat to type

You can see that, as I’ve gone down the list, the solutions verge on the ridiculous. but the idea is to think of as many ways to solve the issues as possible. That way, you can devise a viable contingency plan.

Three things have emerged from this exercise.

  • Firstly, there are several possible avenues I could immediately pursue because I’ve thought about them beforehand.
  • Secondly, I’d be in a great situation if I had a seriously clever cat.
  • Thirdly, I had no idea such a thing as a Logipen existed. I was just doing some Google research to see if an electronic tablet would be a viable option and found it – so it went straight to number one in my list.

What would your solutions be to a problem that you might encounter in your business?

3 Responses to “How prepared are you when you hit problems?”

  1. Thomas Bruhl
    June 8th, 2011

    Hi Carole, to be honest I don’t think that this is a good solution. I mean, we can’t prepare for everything, we can’t buy every single thing that can help us if something happen to us. In my opinion the one thing you can and should do is to prepare for inevitable mentally. Something bad is going to happen one day, that’s for sure but if you are prepared to take it on, it won’t be a huge problem.

  2. Carole Seawert
    June 9th, 2011

    Hi Thomas. You’re right – we can’t buy everything just in case something MIGHT happen but we can think about it so that we are prepared and know what action to take. So, if I were unable to type for a few weeks, I know now that there’s a possible solution called a Logipen.

  3. Matt Bertram
    July 4th, 2011

    My mantra for situations like these is:

    “Everything will be ok in the end, if it’s not ok, it’s not the end”

    Has held true so far! :)

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