Part of being in business for yourself or an independent contractor means being prepared for what could happen to interrupt you, and minimizing those interruptions as much as possible. If you work from home, or work online, it’s important to know what you would do if an extended power outage occurs. What if there’s a computer deadline to meet? The following tips come from hard experience, and hopefully will be of some help:
1) Make sure the rest of the household is running
A power outage will be inconvenient. You’ll have to scale business computer activities back to a bare minimum while you deal with the emergency. Make sure you have a cell phone handy to contact business clients and explain any delays that may occur while you’re pulling though this period. Most people will understand and be willing to work around your computer problems and power outage, as long as they know you’re doing everything you can to get your assignments done.
2) Keep your backup current at all times
The minimum backup that should be done is once a week, along with saving your business documents every day. Buy a separate hard drive, apart from your main computer. When you’re responsible for business client files, there’s no excuse that is good enough when you have to explain that a power outage killed their computer documents, and data recovery services are an expense your business really doesn’t need. Another good investment to make is a power strip and a backup battery for your computer. Then, if you experience a power outage, you have a few minutes to save your documents and close down the computer. Have it, and know how to use it!
3) Don’t forget keeping a copy of your work on a memory stick as well. That way, if you have to make an emergency copy of something or email a file to someone, you’ll only have to carry a memory stick and not your entire laptop or gear to an outside location to conduct business.
4) Keep an eye out for other locations for accessing Internet, if necessary
Power outages are seldom universal. Keep your friends in mind, who may have power when you’re out. Would they be backup by letting you go online temporarily in order to meet a online business deadline? Do you know of a library with an Internet connection, or an obliging Internet café near home, or a college that has online computer access? Keep at least three different places in mind, in case any of them are down simultaneously with you.
5) Be portable
The ideal solution would be to keep a laptop and a online wireless card for working away from the main business computer terminal. This is the most expensive solution, though, so keep other options in mind if you’re trying to keep down expenses. If your online wireless time is limited, use it sparingly. If you’re working in the dark during a power outage, a laptop can go outside where there may be more light in the daytime.
A backup generator can come in handy to keep your computer alive temporarily during a power outage to allow you to finish up business items that come with a unalterable deadline. Look into the different makes and models of backup generators to see what would cover your needs and what your budget can handle.
It’s not a question of if you’re going to experience a power outage. It’s coming to you someday, if it hasn’t already. Protect your computer and your online business by being your own backup. These tips will help you protect your business liability when the power goes out.