This guest post by Jenika of Psychology for Photographers was originally published by Jenika as a newsletter and we're reprinting it with permission here.
There's a gentle rain here in Maryland, and all I can do is stare out the window and think of the people in Texas and Louisiana who are getting entirely too much. A solid number of you hail from this region. I want you all to know that I'm wrapping you in my thoughts, with prayers and donations on the way.
When a large event like this hits the news - from anywhere in the world - I instinctively take a moment to re-check our household 72-hour kits. Every single person and pet should have one, no matter where you live. (If you don't, here's an easy place to start. It's simple: Acquire 1-2 things per week until you're set.)
As an entrepreneur, you have some special considerations that those types of lists won't include.
So here I am, urging you to consider, TODAY, what would happen to your business if any type of disaster impacted you. Let the solemn moments you encounter spur some wise preparation. Among the things to think through:
- If you lost all your computers and devices, could you still quickly and easily access all your vital data? Everyone talks about "backing up your images" but will you be able to find things like:
- Client records and contact information
- Business formation/structure and tax documents
- Insurance paperwork
- Invoices (both those you send and those you receive)
- Bank and retirement account information
- Lawyer, CPA, and other service providers' contact information
- Do you have a secure place or method for keeping your usernames and passwords - for all business accounts, platforms, and social media?
- If you have online backups in place, have you checked them recently to verify they are working and backing up what you think they are? (I like Backblaze for keeping backups simple and easy to check.)
- Do you know where all your business formation, tax, and insurance paperwork is, is it marked clearly, and are any physical copies included on your list of things to grab if you had to evacuate?
- If someone else (like a spouse) were in charge of packing for an evacuation, would they think to grab any of your business items, and would they know which items and where they are?
- If you have a virtual assistant or independent contractors, have you talked to them about what might happen if you couldn't access your work for a while?
- Do you have a financial reserve in place to replace lost gear, keep your payments current with a sudden loss of revenue, and/or failed client payments? If not, what can you do to start building one?
- What do your contracts say about service interruptions? It's true that in a major event, your local clients will probably be just as distracted as you are. But think it through anyway: What if a disaster (or personal disaster like an illness) prevented you from delivering products on time? Are you protected, and are your clients protected?
- Is there someone who can step in and complete any necessary work or payments, and do they have access to the info they need?
Please take a few minutes to think and make a to-do list. Print out this post and scribble on it if you have to.
You don't have to check off every item right now. Look over your list and put one on your calendar per week until they're all done. I've got my own list, so we can do this together.
With preparation, something is always better than nothing.
Stay safe and well, friend,
Jenika McDavitt is a photographer and founder of Psychology for Photographers, an amazing resource for photographers (and creative entrepreneurs) of all genres. She offers free resources as well as paid courses relating to all aspects of the psychology of running a photography business.