Hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes can be devastating to any business, even more so to the freelance graphic artist. Larger companies have big lines of credit and petty cash to draw on should a disaster happen. Freelance graphic designers usually don’t have much more than home owners insurance. So, what would your graphic design company do if you lost everything in a hurricane? How long would it take before you got back up and run back to business? How would you get in touch with your clients? How would you cover the cost of new equipment?
These are all important things to think about. If you haven’t already, then it’s time to work on a disaster plan for your graphic design company.
The first step in being prepared is knowing what you need to protect. You’re equipment is expensive, and your designs, invaluable.
You know that backing up your graphic design work is a good idea, but how far do you go to protect it?
Invest in a fire proof safe to keep copies all your work. It is also a good idea to keep those back up on cds or hard drives inside of a ziplock bag.
Another good idea is to back up your work via an online storage website. These websites act much like a virtual hard drive. This way you can access your files from any computer.
You never know just what type of disaster you or your graphic design firm might be facing.
What about your equipment? What will you do if you loose it all? Figure out what needs to be insured, and then insure it. Good equipment is too expensive to buy again. You may want to think about investing in a laptop. This way, should you need to move temporarily, you can work from the road.
Most freelance graphic artists can’t afford a huge petty cash fund, but it still something that’s needed. When cashing in on insurance, you will need some way to pay the deductible. Try to put away at least the amount of your deductible.
If you don’t have cash to save, consider opening a credit account with a major bank. Avoid local banks, if the disaster hits home, odds are, it will hit them too.
Even the major creditors may be difficult to work with during a major disaster. Consider drawing some cash from your credit card to hold on to in your safe. You will have to pay interest on it, but at least it will be there when you need it most.
Spend some time to “buddy up” with other people in your field such as web builder or hosting partner. Should an emergency happen, you could call on them for some temporary office space.
This is the quickest means of getting your graphic design firm back up in running. So spend some time getting to know your network of partners a little better. It may seem like an odd thing to mention, but ask them about it. When asking them the, “should something happen” speech, be sure to offer the favor as well. Now you both have an exit strategy should something bad happen.
How will you get in touch with your customers if you loose everything? It is a good idea to have all your contacts stored online. Use a web based email program with a good address book. Keep it up-to-date with all your customers, insurance companies, suppliers, and any other important information.
These are just a few things any freelance graphic designer can do to be prepared for the worst. There are plenty more steps you can take. Just remember, the key is being prepared. Think about the worst, and then plan for it.