Shigeru Ban + VAN: housing for Nepal
Doing one thing at a time

Illness and freelancing/self-employment


Recently I’ve had to take time off work, then take on a much reduced workload. Considering I don’t get paid if I don’t work, it’s made me think quite a bit about coping in times like these.

Although it’s not pleasant, if you run your own business or work as a freelancer, you should think about what would happen if you got sick. Especially if, as in my case, you’ve got a family to care for.

I’m not a big fan of lists, but when things started to go wrong I welcomed all the choices and suggestions I could get.

Here are a few that could help you avoid major problems:

Maintain a savings account/investment plan so you always have some money for an emergency.
Keep a business surplus to help you through lean times.
Take out an insurance policy.
Try to develop multiple streams of income.

If none of those are available and you simply have to keep working, you could try one or more of these:

Working from home or even the hospital (if possible) if you work in an office.
Ask clients if they can delay deadlines.
Collect as many payments as you can.
Try to reschedule projects you can’t complete right now.
Consider working part-time for steady income (if you can).

If you have any other suggestions, please leave a comment. I’m sure they’d be helpful to many people. Please also feel free to share your own experiences.

This time for me, it’s a case of it never rains but it pours. My expenses include household bills, a mortgage, office rent and utilities, hosting costs, materials and numerous other expenses.

Just as I got sick, business wasn’t exactly booming, my car needed a rather expensive fix and the rent on our studio is due to be increased. (It’s that time of year.)

It’s scary to think that illness can affect your livelihood so quickly and so greatly, so being prepared for it should be an important part of your business plan. The same should be said for other emergencies.

Things are beginning to look up and I hope everything will be sorted sooner rather than later. I thought I’d share in case anybody has faced similar problems, is facing them now, or simply as food for thought.

If you have any advice or suggestions, please leave a comment. Thanks.


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