A friend of mine had surgery and is house-bound for 2 weeks. Another friend of mine survived cancer, and now suffers from recurring health issues related to the cancer. A third friend is recovering from numerous strokes, one of which had a lasting effect, and just moved into an assisted living facility. It’s probably a permanent move.
Yes, I know, this all sounds doom and gloom.
As a small business owner, it made me stop and think about what would happen to my business if I got sick or hurt.
It’s one thing when you work for a large company that provides health care, disability coverage and worker’s compensation as part of your benefits package. A long-term illness or injury wouldn’t be fun, but you’d have at least part of your financial situation in hand.
Those of us who work for ourselves don’t have that kind of safety net. If we’re not there to do the work, the work doesn’t get done.
I pay for my own health insurance, so my hospital bills would mostly be covered. But if I don’t work, I can’t pay my health insurance… You see where this is leading.
It’s a complicated system we live in. I know there are various and sundry supplemental insurance programs out there that would cover me if I ever ended up not being able to take care of myself. But those cost money too.
And what would happen to my clients if I were unable to continue to work?
There are so many questions that surround this situation.
I realize this is an unusual blog post. But my friends got me thinking about what would happen to me if I couldn’t work for a while.
Obviously, if I knew this situation were coming, I would plan a certain amount of recovery time. I’d get my clients to the point where they could live without me for a few weeks. If it were longer than that, I’d find other copywriters who could step in and help.
But what would happen if it was sudden? Like a car accident or a heart attack? How would I manage my business from a hospital bed?
I know small business owners who have been through this problem, and come through it successfully. But it’s tough. If you create a physical product, you can teach someone else to make it. It’s worse when you provide a service and you have to refer your clients elsewhere while you’re recovering.
So, I’d like to ask you, my fellow small business owners, do you have a plan in place if you’re unable to run your company?
Are you running a company with more than one person? Can someone else take over for you? Have you taught someone else to do what you do?
If you’re a solopreneur with clients, like me, do you have someone who can take on your clients while you’re unavailable? And what happens when you’ve recovered and are ready to work again? Are you guaranteed to get those clients back?
If you make a product, do you have a staff that can keep making that product? Do you keep a backlog, just in case? How does your product get to your customers if you’re not there to send it?
Do any of you have resources that you can share with our community?
Do you have tools you use or work-arounds in place if this happens to you?
Is your business doing well enough that you have a personal emergency fund you can tap? If so, how much do you put into that every month, and how long did it take you to grow it to where it is now?
Please share your wisdom in the comments so we can all benefit. That way we can hope for the best, expect the worst, and take whatever comes.