Independent Contractors Should Always Be Prepared for the Unexpected
Independent contractors have many advantages; however, they also accept risks. One of the risks they face is downtime, for whatever reason, because they are not paid. At one point or another, most companies’ management teams sit down and strategically build an emergency plan based on different scenarios – whether it’s a fire, health pandemic, natural disaster or some other terrible event that causes a shutdown. We believe that all businesses should go through this exercise, especially one-person businesses or independent contractors.
- These situations have happened in the past, are currently happening in other countries and will happen again, and while some we can predict, others come out of nowhere. Just look at the Calgary Flood in the summer of 2013 or the H1N1 pandemic back in 2009 and of course, the Ebola breakout happening today in many African countries.
- When these unexpected, uncontrollable events occur, workplaces are closed, and there can be widespread disruption to the economy.
As important as it is, being prepared for this type of situation doesn’t have to be extensive. To get started, ask yourself a few of these questions:
- Can I afford to not be paid for a month? Two months?
- Can I plan, with my current client, to be able to complete some work from home if the office environment is closed?
- Does your client have any sort of plan?
- Is there a way risks can be minimized? For example, for health scares, does your client have education programs, flu shots, hand washing policies, etc.?
If you are concerned about your potential financial situation, NOW is the time to do something.
- Change your lifestyle to allow you to put away some money for a rainy day. Reduce costs, put in more hours now, force yourself to save.
- Work with your bank to establish a line of credit.
- Create a budget that will allow you to “weather the storm” of a forced layoff.
We all hope that we’ll never be affected by a disaster or pandemic, but the probability is that it will happen at some point, and we all need to be prepared. Do you have a plan? What are some back-ups you’ve prepared? Share your advice in the comments below.