My Memorial Day weekend was spent in a hospital with my mother after a trip to the ER to have a nasty injury treated resulted in surgery and an extended hospital stay. Thankfully she's doing much better, but Friday was complete chaos where my business was concerned. I was forced to conduct one client call in the ER examining room because my mother didn't want me to leave her alone. Thankfully my client was quite understanding and allowed me to reschedule our call for another time.
I've successfully navigated my freelance writing business around unexpected emergencies before. It was much easier to do when we were still in Atlanta and had an awesome network of support in place to turn to. Now that we've relocated to my hometown, it's pretty much just me and hubby right now. The reality of the matter is when you're dealing with an emergency, that's your problem - not your client's. Your client still expects the project he/she paid for to be completed according to the terms of your agreement (Yes, I'm automatically assuming every freelancer is utilizing some kind of agreement BEFORE starting a project).
This morning I came across a really informative blog post addressing the issue of emergency planning tips. I realize my plan needs updating. A few of the writer's suggestions that stood out to me:
Include a Force Majeure Clause in Your Agreement
This clause protects both parties from liabilities and obligations due extreme, unexpected circumstances - anything beyond you control that could keep you from fulfilling the terms of the contract. Examples include "acts of God," war, etc.
Identify Your "Vulnerable Points"
Every freelancer's circumstances are different. If you're a 25-year old, unmarried freelancers with no children or other responsibilities your vulnerability points are fewer than a single mom with two kids and a mortgage. Take it from me, kids get sick, schools spring unexpected vacation days on you - you have to recognize the circumstances that can turn into obstacles and plan ahead for these kinds of situations.
Have an Emergency Savings In Place
It's important to get into a habit of setting aside savings from each job you complete. If an emergency results in you being unable to work for a period of time, you'll need funds in place to float you until you're about to work again.
Create an Emergency Communications Plan
As soon as things go wrong, you'll need to immediately contact your clients and keep them updated.
Do you have an emergency plan in place for your operation?