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How Bad Weather Can Hurt Your Freelance Writing Business & What to Do About It

Have things been a little slow for you as a freelance writer? Have you been scratching your head wondering, “What’s going on? Things are definitely off.” Well, have you ever thought it could be weather related? Yes, bad weather can have an effect on your freelance writing business — a big one.  

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When I Realized That Bad Wether Could Affect My Online Business

I originally wrote this post back in February of 2014, when over 100 million Americans were under some kind of winter storm watch. That’s almost a full third of the country. In case you don’t remember, the mid-February winter storm that year was a major snow and ice storm that affected the south and east coasts of the United States. It consisted of up to a foot of snow and brought crippling ice with it.

I was lamenting to one of my sisters during time about how slow things were, especially when it was right in the middle of the busy season, and she said something to the effect of:

“It could be due to the bad weather. You know, servers in different parts of the country could be down and people don’t have access to the net without power.”

I had never really thought about it, and yeah, I felt pretty silly. Hurricanes, flooding, fires, tornadoes — whenever there’s a major weather event, it can affect your online business.

This is not only from an infrastructure standpoint (eg, power and hence, internet, outages), but also people just aren’t focused on business during these times. They’re worried about the safety of family, friends and property; and understandably so.

As an aside, this is why I like having passive streams of income like affiliate marketing and ecourse sales, in addition to the freelance writing I do for clients. This can help keep your earnings consistent.

How to Keep Bad Weather from Impacting Your Freelance Writing Business: 8 Tips

What did we ever do before the internet? It has become a necessary part of how most businesses operate; freelance writers are no different. Following are some things you can do to mitigate the havoc bad weather can wreak with your freelance writing and/or online business income.

I. Automate Social Media (SM)

I use SocialOomph to automate my posts to Twitter and FB, for example. With SocialOomph, you can schedule months of content in advance.

Note: Most SM tools like this are free. Free accounts have limits. Via the paid option is when you can do things like schedule months of time.

Benefit: When you can’t get online, it’s an easy way to stay front and center with prospects.

II. Create Outlines of ArticlesFreelance Writing Tips: How Bad Weather Can Affect Your Biz & What to Do About It

Instead of writing the whole article, create an outline if you feel like the internet will be going out and will be out for a while. This will help you with the next tip, which is to …

III. Save Research

This way, when you sit down to write (from the outline you created above), you’ll know exactly what research to do and which quotes, stats, links, names of institutions, etc. you need to save.

Throw all of this into a file – and when you sit down to write, you’ll have everything you need to complete an article.

IV. Keep Your Computer & Cell Phone Charged

My cell phone is always charged to the max. And, I work with my laptop plugged in at all times, especially now that I live full-time in Jamaica.

The reason is, you never know when the power will go out here, so you always want to be 100% charged. This can mean the difference between being able to work one hour, or four, depending on how powered up you are.

V. Keep an Extra, Charged Computer Battery

When one battery runs out, simply slip the other (charged) one in, and voila — you can keep working for a few more hours. Same goes for your cell phone.

VI. Bunch Write

A lot! Some storms can leave you without power for days on end. So instead of uploading and/or writing just one or two posts, spend a couple of days churning out a week’s worth if you can.

Yeah, they’ll be long days. I know. When I revamped my blog strategy one time, I went from posting once a week to five or six times a week. I had to add an extra work day to my schedule to keep up, which meant I spent two days writing, creating graphics for, and uploading all posts for the upcoming week.

VII. Notify Clients

If you’re in the path of a hurricane, for example, notify existing clients (especially if you have deadlines pending that you’re in danger of missing) of your circumstances. Let them know where you are with their project, eg, if you’ll miss the deadline, can foresee making it, or need to change the deadline. Where possible, recommend another freelance writer who can start/complete/take over the project if you’er not able to do so.

Most will appreciate your professionalism in being proactive like this. Even if you lose this project, they’ll undoubtedly keep you in mind for others.

VIII. Set Up Auto Responders

For all those email messages that come in while you may be out of commission, include a note letting people know that you’re probably out due to the weather right now. Let them know you’ll be in touch as soon as possible. This way, people won’t be wondering why you haven’t gotten back to them.

More Tips on Dealing with Disruptions to Your Freelance Writing Business

FYI, I’ve addressed “bunch writing” before on this blog in a post about how to keep your income consistent as a freelancer when you travel. Many of the tips discussed in this post apply to inclement weather as well – or in any situation that “disrupts” your normal routine. They help you stay on track so you don’t lose clients (and money!).

Again, the days will be long. But, it’s worth it to me because it gives me time to write and self-publish my own ebooks, and work on/oversee client projects without worrying about having to bang out content for my own blogs every day.

Freelance Writers: How to Always Be Prepared for Bad Weather 

In America, most of us are used to comforts like water, electricity, and internet – with no interruptions. In the Caribbean, you get used to electricity and water going on the blink. Hence, I’ve learned to keep an emergency “lights out basket” in the same, easy-to-access spot so I can always get to it, even if I have to fumble in the dark. It consists of:

  • Candles:  glass-enclosed, tea lights and menorah-like candles;
  • Matches/lighters;
  • Batteries;
  • Flashlights; and
  • Glow lights (battery operated) that light up when you touch them.

Of course, always have bottled water and “eat-right-out-of-the-pack foods” that don’t require any type of preparation.

Buying Storm Supplies: Some Food and Water Tips

You always use more water than you think — so really stock up on bottled water. Also, you get hungrier than you think when you don’t have easy access to food, so buy more than you think you’ll need. I think “denial” psychology kicks in here, ie, “I don’t have it or the ability to acquire more right now, so I want more.”

One last thing … hang in there. The sun will always shine again. 🙂

Share Your Bad Weather Survival Tips

Used to inclement weather? Frequently survive internet and power outages? Share your tips and insights in the comments section below.

P.S.: A Practically Fail-Proof Way to Start an Online Writing Biz

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    Comments

    1. Good post Yuwanda! I talked about this issue during the last storm that rolled in here (I was sure I’d lose power for a while, but I got lucky). And now we’re expecting another wave of snow starting tonight and going through Friday. Some forecasts have called for as much as 15 inches, which is not at all typical where I am.

      Like you, I try to schedule posts in advance. And I schedule certain kinds of tweets (mostly just sharing interesting content from others and highlighting a few posts from my archives).

      Other than that, I use my phone to check in on email and approve blog comments (assuming cell service stays on). In that case I can also use it as a hotspot if I need to send something off to a client. If we have a longer outage I have an adapter that lets me charge both my laptop battery and phone in the car.

      That said, I’m still hoping I don’t have to worry about any of these things this time around. 🙂
      Jennifer Mattern recently posted…Blogging Tip: Simplify Your WordPress Anti-Spam EffortsMy Profile

      • Looks like this bad weather is on a lot of our minds Jen. Even though I’m in the Caribbean now (Jamaica), I think about my friends and family back home — especially those in the south who aren’t used to this type of weather.

        Great insight on some back-ups for when power/internet go out. I’m not up on phone technology (STILL haven’t bought an iPhone, just use a regular old cell), so thanks for sharing this tip. The adapter is a good one too — hadn’t thought of that.

        Where I am, water and electric blink out regularly — not for long periods, eg, 5 minutes here, 20 minutes there. When I’m back home in Atlanta, I don’t even think about it b/c it’s so rare, but now that “another storm” seems to be the topic of the day, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned since I travel so much and am used to things like power and internet outages.

        Stay warm! 🙂

        FYI everybody, get some more great info in Jen’s post on how to deal with inclement weather as a freelance writer/blogger.

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