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Contingency Plans for Freelancers


What happens when we go on vacation or have downtime due to health reasons? Do we have another freelancer we can count on to make sure the work is done on time? Creating contingency plans as a WordPress freelancer is a vital part of taking care of yourself — and your clients. 

Emergencies and Freelancing

One of the great things about being a freelancer is being free. We choose to have the freedom to use our time as we like. But what happens when you want to take an actual vacation? Who does your work? What if you have suddenly become a caretaker for a family member? What if you get in an accident and are hospitalized? Do you have a contingency plan?

If you don’t have any of those answers, keep reading.

Making Good Choices in Freelancing

Being a freelancer means making good choices. When we were employees it was easy to leave work and not care about it. It’s the company’s problem, not yours. Right?

Having clients is responsibility. When it’s your freelancing business or your agency it becomes your responsibility alone. So who takes care of those clients while you’re away?

Making good choices as a freelancer ensures that your business will continue should something unexpected happens.

Freelancing and Your Circle of Trust

Who can you trust and your circle? Cross training is what happens in major organizations so the people can take a vacation, enjoy personal time off, and tend to their families. But when you’re a freelancer what does that look like? Well, you have to make it happen.

Who can you trust to outsource your client work while you’re away? Can you make those kinds of plans?

When my friend Carol Stephen took a three-week vacation to Japan, she wanted to be unplugged. She asked me for an estimate to manage notifications and responses to scheduled posts while she was gone and pitched the idea to her clients. Of course, they thought it was a great idea and I was happy to help. 

Freelancing Connections Keep Work Flowing

When you are part of your WordPress community, attending camps and Meetups, you make connections. Those connections can deepen into friendships and partnerships. Trusting a colleague with your client work will give you peace of mind and keep your work going should an emergency occur.

So make connections in your circle. Find a way where you can complement one another and cover each other should emergencies occur.

If you have an ongoing health issue were hospitalization is likely or recovery is needed with major downtime, then you may either want to work on less time-sensitive projects or have somebody that you can bring in who can cover your work no matter what. This is something I think about often since I have ME/CFS.

Freelancing is a Business: It Needs a Plan

Strong businesses have plans; that’s how the world works and specialization makes us stronger. Take care of your clients and yourself by making plans should something happen to you. Then, the work will be done, you will be taken care of, and so will your clients. 

Ben Meredith often subbed for his late friend Jesse Petersen, who passed away from Cystic Fibrosis. The unfortunate reality of that disease is unexpected hospital stays of two to three weeks. I asked him to submit his advice.

The key to having people cover for you is access and knowledge. My biggest tip is to do at least one ‘dry run’ where you simulate being completely off-grid, but there’s still a way for the person covering for you to get in touch. What I learned during that dry run was all of the things I didn’t know where to find, which gave me concrete steps to follow once the “real show” started. 

The enemy of getting away and taking a break is all the stuff that only lives in your head and nowhere else. 

– the process for releasing an emergency update to the product

– which services you use for email marketing

– the master password for your password management software

The more of those type of things you can document, the better.

Ben Meredith, The WP Steward

Together, We Can Press Forward

When you give this a bit of thought, you may be surprised by the results. You may even forge a stronger partnership and/or community that will make you as a person stronger. Remember, together we can press forward

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