Invest in backup.

A close friend from college coined the term ‘Ranjanoia’ for the peculiar paranoia that I have. I need to be prepared. While I’m not a doomsday prepper — or wouldn’t admit it — I like to have the tools handy in case I face a problem.

So, I’m the person who’ll carry band-aids and safety pins in her handbag. I’m the one who’ll have extra pens for people in the exam hall. I’m also the person who submits assignments ahead of time. You remember that joke about the person who bought two tickets in spite of having a season ticket? I am that person.

When I started off as a freelancer, though, this came in very handy.  When you freelance, remember that you’re responsible for everything. And things will fall apart. So invest in back up.

  • The moment you buy a laptop, start saving for the next one. Your laptop — in the best case — will last you 3-4 years. You need to start putting away money for the next one now!

  • Keep your old phone, when you buy a new one. If you break or lose yours, it’s good to have another device handy, even if it’s a dumb phone. (Also, replace things before they break.)

  • Get a mobile connection with good Internet, in case your broadband fails.

  • If you’re collaborating with others, think of what happens when they say no, or worse, fail you.

  • Depending on your enquiry-to-project conversion rate, find more clients for your pipeline.

  • Backup all your files to the cloud.

In essence, identify everything you ‘need’ to do your job, and invest in backup for them all.

By that I don’t mean you need to buy two laptops or two phones. Just make sure if your laptop fails on you today, you have something to work on until you fix it. An old laptop you’d rather not touch, a family laptop for emergencies, a nearby cyber cafe — anything’s fine. Just don’t wait until your laptop breaks to figure it out.