Life, Business and Bad News

In the last few weeks it seems my world has gotten smaller in almost every sense. It started when my wife’s health took a hit and she was diagnosed with not one, but two serious conditions, one of which was cancer. This kind of news will make everything else seem unimportant, all of a sudden. The fact that I lost my mom to cancer in May is probably not helping any.

The good news is that they caught it super early, and that the doctors are expecting a full recovery from the cancer part. There’s still the other issue of course, which will require surgery and several weeks of recovery. The ugly kind, where they give you hardcore meds just to deal with it. Right now, we are both mentally and physically preparing for what’s ahead.

Since we are both independent businesses owners, this situation has another effect on us – neither one is working much, while the bills keep piling up. This is added stress that we really don’t need. We are not on the brink of starvation or anything like that, but we are definitely feeling the crunch. Which is what led me to write this post.

If you are a freelancer or a one-man band, do yourself this favor: cover your bases in case of an emergency. Get health insurance. Let me repeat that. Get. Health. Insurance. As an independent, insurance is expensive and if you’re bootstrapping it is easy to tell yourself you’ll add it later. Don’t. Bite the bullet and pay the man. Cancer doesn’t wait until you’re ready.

You’ll want a support network. We have had daily messages from friends and family, checking in and offering help and encouragement. This support is crucial, especially if you’d like to try and stay positive.

Anybody working for themselves will be used to being immersed in the work, and powering through to get the job done. You may even enjoy it. But when illness hits the household, that is taken away. Focus shifts, and staying on top of business quickly fades into the background. It has to. If you can, put a little aside for a rainy day. You might even look into getting a backup in place, if you have clients who need regular pampering or can’t be rescheduled.

Whatever you do, don’t just sit there thinking it will happen to someone else. It’s not a gamble worth taking.

Creative Partnerships vs. Self-Motivation

One of the greatest dangers of working alone, is that you are working alone. There is no one there to crack the whip or hold the carrot, so it is up to you to find your own motivation and inspiration.

There are many tools and websites to help you with this. You can use GTD, project management, celebratory trips to the local [insert frivolous business of your choice], social networking and more, to keep yourself going. All have their pros and cons, but in my experience, none are as rewarding as Continue reading