Emergency Planning for Freelance Writers

Hello friends, Romans and fellow freelancers. As Matt mentioned yesterday, hurricane season has begun. If you, like me, live along the southern coast you’re likely dusting off your hurricane shutters and stocking up on water. As business owners who run businesses out of our homes, we have a different set of concerns that we also must consider in the event that a hurricane evacuation takes us away from our home base or a loss of electricity makes running a business from home a near impossibility. So here are just a couple of tips to help you get through hurricane season without missing deadlines and or losing out on potential business.

  1. Get a laptop. If you don’t already have a laptop, you need one. They work on battery, are portable and take away almost any excuse to miss a deadline.
  2. Get extra laptop batteries. You should turn your screen light down low so that you aren’t using up your juice too quickly, but if your city is anything like mine during hurricane season, then who knows how many hours you’ll be without power as a category 1 traipses through. An extra laptop battery (or two) can really save your hide.
  3. Save the data from your main computer onto an external hard drive. If you save your work files on an external hard drive then you can access them on your laptop if you are evacuated or lose power and can't use your main computer.
  4. Save a copy of your emails on the mail server. I know everyone is all anti-Yahoo mail all the time, but I love it because I can get my mail anywhere I go. I pay for my Yahoo mail so they send a copy of all my emails to my Outlook inbox, but I can still access them online from another computer. If you lose access to your main computer, then you can't get to Outlook and you may not be able to access emails with assignments, client requests, etc., so you need to find out how to save a copy of your mail on the actual mail server. It is important to note that the system may not save your sent messages, so you might want to BCC yourself on important stuff during hurricane season.
  5. Forward your calls to your cell. This is a problem for me because I *gasp* don’t have a cell phone. I also take a horse and buggy to the grocery store, so deal with it. However, since I get business calls through Google Voice, I can have them forwarded to a hotel or any other phone number. I can also access voicemails online so any incoming customer inquiry can still be handled as though it's a regular work day. Find out from your phone company how you can set up call forwarding or get Google Voice, Skype or some other online phone service.

That's all I can think of right now. Feel free to add your input below so this can be a one-stop resource for other writers!

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Yolander Prinzel is the profit monster behind the Profitable Freelancer website. She has written for a number of publications and websites such as American Express, Covestor.com, Advisor Today, Money Smart Radio and the International Travel Insurance Journal (ITIJ). Her book, Specialty Ghostwriting: A New Way to Look at an Old Career, is currently available on Amazon.

5 thoughts on “Emergency Planning for Freelance Writers”

  1. Another option outside of extra laptop batteries is to get a slew of adapters for all of the important things in life like your laptop, cell phone and blender that run out of your car. If you do what you’re supposed to do and get a full tank of gas before the hurricane strikes, even if you’re at home without power, you can fire up the engine in the hours after the storm to recharge everything.

    I use the evil gmail to consolidate email accounts and to let me access email from everywhere – school, home, library, phone. That makes it much easier. I know you don’t have a phone, but having a cell phone after the storm was the only way we could communicate after Ike – and only by texting. Trying to check in with family and business stuff was 100 times easier. We could also get news updates by phone after the power and other signals went out.

  2. Have your business contact information stored somewhere besides Outlook too so you can access it no matter where you are. You can export your address book to an Excel file and save it to your laptop.

  3. Thank God I don’t live in Gulfport, MS where I grew up or Baton Rouge, LA where I spent my college years. But the midwest gets its share of inclement weather too, so I really should be taking these measures myself for the blizzards and tornadoes that hit Chicago. I already use Gmail as an email hub for all of my emails addresses so I can get them to both my phone and anywhere on the web. I also use Gmail contacts so I can access all of my business contacts so they are always available too. The one thing I’ve been saying I was going to do for years and just never did it was get an external hard drive so I can just take in the event of an emergency.

  4. Great information for hurricanes or ay emergeny situation! I find it helpful to have an emergency preparedness kit ready at all times. Hard copies of all important documents, including a client contact list, are a must.

  5. Hi there,

    This is a great guide Yo. Personally, I don’t live in a hurricane affected zone, but I can see the benefit of perhaps using some of these recommendations in my own day to day freelance work.

    I’ve also been looking at the option of getting wind-up torches and radios. The idea and concept of that would be well suited to any location in the world.


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