Thursday, June 26, 2008

Does Your Business Work When You Don't?

Crystal Clayton blogs at Big Bright Bulb, a blog with some of the juiciest tidbits of advice for very small businesses with even smaller budgets. She really got me thinking after reading yesterday's post when she asked, "How long can your business last without you?" What would happen to your income?

It's something I've been thinking about on and off lately. What happens if you can't work? Do you have a system set up to generate some sort of income? If you're lucky enough to have a significant other or someone else kick in funds when the going gets tough, that's great. Really. But the thought of something happening to me before I get some residual income coming in through other sources is pretty scary.

I am a writer. I write a lot. Right now my business is set up so that if I don't write I don't get paid which means the family doesn't eat. And ladies and gentlemen, that's not good business. I need to make a change.

After I had my twins, I decided to quit my advertising sales position. My husband was running his own business and it was doing well enough that we could do it. About a month later he was involved in a serious car accident while returning home from a business trip. He was hospitalized with a neck fracture, broken back and two of his fingers were severed and had to be reattached. Needless to say we weren't prepared. It took him over six months to recover, and during that time we lived off my 401k.

The moral of this story: Start thinking of ways you can create multiple streams of income for your business. You're a freelance writer, and you love it, but if you depend on it for your livelihood you have to treat it like a business, not a hobby. That means be on the look out for opportunities to grow and expand it. For some that might mean creating products like ecourses, ebooks and ongoing subscriptions for continuing services – possibilities are everywhere. It might take some research (yeah, I know. There are only 24 hours in the day. Tell me about it), but it will not only increase your profits, it will increase your security too.


Lori said...

God, this is an excellent post. None of us, I'm betting, have planned for not being able to work. Do we buy disability insurance? Hell no! We just assume we'll be fine.

Thanks for the reminder, Kim.

Anonymous said...

Great post. And a scary one, blessings to your family.

My hubby-to-be has the "real job", and I'm nearing the end of 3 years of school and sampling business models. Time for me to choose my future.

And of all the things I've studied, observed, and tried, the passive income stuff is the way to go. I don't have any illusions that they are easy to set up or build.

Writing a book or ebook, building a web tool, etc. all take a lot of energy and time, but they pay off well in the end...and keep on paying. Well worth the effort!

And like James said, it's not just for entrepreneurs. Everyone should have a second stream of income coming in.

Thanks for the mention :)

Avid Writer said...

@ Lori: I'm following my dream - and I wouldn't have it any other way - but I must be practical, especially since I have others counting on me to make a living. I am in the midst of brainstorming some solutions because we never know what life has in store...

@ Crystal: I have to thank YOU for the reminder your post gave me to get on top of creating a plan. I kick the idea around all of the time, but haven't taken much action. That James is right on - these days EVERYONE should think about creating other income streams.

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