Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Emergency Work Fund

I recently wrote an article called “Solar Flares and the Demise of the Internet: I Have a Plan, do You?” The article was largely about my backup plan regarding what would happen should the Internet fail to be a viable work and communications option for self-employed people like me, over a lengthy period of time.

During the article, I mentioned my emergency work fund and how it was an integral part of my plan to be able to continue working for a significant period of time without available Internet service.

One of my readers asked me to go further in depth regarding my emergency work fund, which for me, consists largely of writing projects, since I’m a freelance writer; but that I think is a formula could that work for many other types of jobs as well.

Finding Work that Will Keep
As a freelancer, the Internet is an integral part of my work life. I use it as a resource for writing projects, a way to find new work and clients, and a way to stay in contact and network with customers and readers.

However, in the event of a lapse in Internet service, I need a few work projects upon which I can count. This means that such projects that I hold in reserve must have a longer shelf-life. Holding back on writing an article about current gas prices or the state of the economy and keeping it in reserve probably wouldn’t be the best idea. However, holding onto a more “evergreen” article idea regarding my experiences with a past garage sale might not be a bad move and would have a longer shelf-life.

Compiling Resources
However just having such an idea set aside might not do me much good if the time comes that I need to use it but find that I can’t gather the requisite information to complete the work. Pulling information from the Internet ahead of time and stockpiling it with the idea can have me prepared for if or when the time hits that I don’t have access to such information.

Prioritizing Higher Paying Projects
I don’t want to stockpile a bunch of my highest paying work, as in most instances, I want to get it out there and realize the profits from my efforts as soon as possible. This means that I like to keep a variety of paying work available when it comes to my emergency fund stockpile.

Depending upon the duration of my time without Internet access, I typically work on what’s left of my higher paying work first, preparing a couple decent paying pieces of work should the Internet be back up and running fairly quickly. Once I’m through with this higher paying stuff though, I’ll slowly move through the ranks down the payment scale. I’ll work on pieces that may not pay as well or that might not have the residual earning power of others but that are still viable earning options.

Outlining and Organizing
If or when I’m kept from the Internet -- or it’s kept from me -- I tend to spend part of my time outlining and organizing various work projects. This allows me to stay productive and preparing for certain aspects of work while not necessarily turning out finished work per se.

As a freelance writer, this might mean brainstorming and coming up with article ideas, outlining, proofreading, and organizing certain office and work-related housekeeping issues for which I don’t typically have a lot of time. There may also be long-term projects such as short stories, books, and similar items that often don’t have the immediate income results that short-term projects like article and blog pieces might, but that could offer bigger rewards down the road.

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