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You’ve spent years building and running your blog. It took the first several months just to figure out what kind of content to publish and generate any income at all.
You finally quit your job to blog full-time, and so far it’s paid off. Maybe you think you’ve covered all of your basis and prepared for any problems — but what about natural disasters?
You may think that an online business is immune to natural disasters. However, you’re more exposed than you might think.
Do you have a business continuity and disaster preparedness plan in place? If your power goes out for a week or longer, how are you going to get on your computer to post? What if you need extra income to pay for the cost of damages to your home costs?
Every business owner, including bloggers, should plan for a natural disaster.
Business continuity and disaster preparedness plan: assess the Risk
Assessing your level of risk is a highly personalized process that involves looking at both your geographic area and the implications natural disasters might have on your business.
For example, let’s say you run a blog from your home base in New York. You give couples advice for planning destination weddings. In this scenario, you’d have to cover two bases:
1. How will region-specific natural disasters affect your ability to work?
For instance, earthquakes aren’t common in New York, but high winds during a storm are possible. Come up with a plan.
In this example, you could check the weather each morning. If a storm is coming, you might post early in the day in case you lose power later on.
2. How will natural disasters affect your business?
If you recommend destinations that are prone to tsunamis, what will happen if one occurs? An option is to vary the locales you blog about.
If a natural disaster strikes one area, you’ll still have several others to discuss. This may also help you expand your blog.
Also tune in to what’s happening in the world; you don’t want to recommend a place that’s recovering from a disaster.
The goal with risk assessment is to ensure against the biggest and most probable threats. You don’t need a plan for every natural disaster that could possibly occur, as that can incur some unnecessary expenses.
Have flexible work processes so that you can continue work of you need to move your base of operations on short notice. That way, you won’t have to halt production if there’s a natural disaster.
Create a Mobile-Friendly Business
You may be able to keep your blog up and running just if you have an alternative way to work. With proper planning, your readers may not have any idea that you’re in the middle of a mess.
If you need a physical office to work from, use a friend’s or family member’s home office for a few days. Set this up ahead of time so you have a contingency plan in place. If you can’t find a physical building to work from, consider something else temporarily, like an RV or a hotel.
Seek out co-working spaces, which let you rent a workspace for one day or more. Often, these workspaces have professional amenities, like meeting spaces, Wi-Fi, and even kitchenettes.
Automate as much as possible. Instead of blogging every day, schedule the month’s posts ahead of time. Use a social media tool like Buffer to pre-schedule posts too. Create a drip email campaign that gets automatically sent to new subscribers. If something unexpected happens, you’ll be set for the next few weeks. You can use the free time to focus on updating your content with the latest trends in mind and making plans for future operations in case natural disaster strikes.
Access all of your tools through your phone. Yes, it’s a lot less convenient to work on your iPhone than on your laptop, but if that’s the only option, you can at least continue posting and engaging with your readers like normal. Take a day to download all of the tools you’ll need and sign in to each one so they’re at the ready.
Utilize cloud-based storage and apps. Cloud-based apps, like cloud asset management software, can ensure that important business information is always accessible, even if things go south. Even if you can’t access your computer, you can still sign in to the cloud to access your data from another device.
Create go-to templates that you use for everything. Make templates for blog posts, social media and newsletters. You can also have cut-and-paste email responses to frequently asked questions. If you have to create content on the fly, it’ll be easier with pre-made templates. Store them where you use them, too; save your blog template to WordPress, and keep your MailChimp template on the platform itself.
Set all of this up now, before a disaster is even on the horizon. Otherwise, you’ll end up scrambling at the last minute, and you may not have access to everything you need.
If you have other writers or professionals who work for you, let them know the plan as well.
Also, make sure that your readers can enjoy your content, even if they’ve been hit by a natural disaster. Mobile-friendly content is easily read even when traveling.
Being active on social media will keep you connected with your readers too. You can talk with your audience to find out how they’re doing.
You may also uncover a way to help through your blogging. For example, you may want to raise donations.
Decide What Must Happen and What Can Wait
There are probably a lot of to-dos you handle for your blog on a daily basis. Many of these are back-of-the-house tasks the admin needs so that everything runs smoothly.
When you’re facing a crisis, though, it’s okay to let some of those tasks fall by the wayside temporarily.
You also have the option of outsourcing some tasks so that they still get done as you focus on more important responsibilities.
List out your blogging priorities based on what generates the most income. For example, posting sponsored blog and social media content may be a major income stream.
However, checking reader comments three times a day might need to spend some time on the backburner to save some time. You may also want to do more of the tasks that generate income if the natural disaster is costing you money in repairs.
Get in Touch With Your Insurance Company
You may not have any type of business or home insurance, but if you do, call them first. Business insurance isn’t just for big companies; bloggers can protect their computers, inventory and personal property with business insurance.
If you have home or renter’s insurance, control the damage so that blogging operations can continue as normal. For example, if you have a leak in your office, you’ll need it repaired ASAP so you have a space to work.
Speak with your insurance company before a natural disaster strikes so you know exactly what you are and are not protected against.
If you don’t feel like there’s enough protection for the natural disasters that are common in your area, find out if you have other options for coverage.
Also ask about the process for making an insurance claim so that you don’t have to figure that out when there’s a disaster on your hands.
Natural disasters can impact home life and businesses in serious and long-lasting ways.
Hopefully, your business won’t suffer too much due to a natural disaster, but if you find yourself struggling to get back on your feet, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Since a blogging business is so mobile, it’s definitely possible that you’ll be able to get it on its feet again, especially if you have a business continuity and disaster preparedness plan already in place.