Monday, March 17, 2014

What If You Lost Everything?

Have you ever seen the movie "The Impossible"?  It's a true story in which over 150,000 people were wiped out by tsunami. Man, nothing like an end-of-the-world scenario to make you appreciate life, right?!  It inspired me to have a conversation with my spouse about what our strategy and recovery plan would be if something like that happened to us, or heaven forbid, I was wiped from the earth while there were still clients who needed to be taken care of.  Thankfully, I already know that my high resolution images and business contracts with relevant client contact info have been backed up in an online cloud with Pictage and ShootQ, so I'm not really worried about something like my hard drives being damaged or clients being left high and dry.

Now, let's forget major natural disaster scenarios and just consider worst-case scenarios in every day life.  What if all of your equipment was stolen?  Does each job you do provide enough cash to cover renting the equipment you need until you could get replacements?  Do you have insurance that would make it easy to buy new equipment?  Do you have enough savings built up if your insurance reimbursement didn't come in for months?

Last St. Patrick's Day I also acquired a sprained ankle on my last day in a trip to Ireland (I guess my St Patty's luck was that it wasn't broken!)  Fortunately, I had enough recovery time built in after my trip that I didn't have to cancel any jobs, but I also knew that I had people I could call to replace me if I needed them.  Do you have people who can fill in for you and provide the same level of quality and professionalism if you can't make it to a job you've been contracted to do?  Are you connected to a professional network of highly qualified people?  Do you have disability insurance if you're permanently injured and need time and money to pay your bills while you figure out a different business model?

Those who are prepared for disaster are the "lucky" ones because they can bounce back much more quickly and continue running a business after something dramatic happens.  If you didn't back up everything or have systems in place to do a job regardless of what happens, that's on you, not mother nature.  The biggest difference between being a creative business owner and a hobbyist is being prepared for the unexpected, and making sure clients will be taken care of whether you can be there or not.  What are you going to do this week to make sure your business is safer in the years ahead?  If you don't do it NOW, when are you going to have time to do it later... or when it's too late?

Anne Ruthmann is an editorial & event photographer in New York City. She spent 10 years practicing marketing & management in corporate and non-profit businesses before pursuing her passion for photography in 2004 as an independent small business.  She loves helping others find creative and smart solutions to business problems.  Stay in touch on Twitter or Facebook.

1 comment:

  1. That movie was so hauntingly amazing. I'm still pissed it didn't win any Oscars.


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