What is your “what if” plan?

Now, what if is a very common and also important question in our industry. We should always assure that we have a
contingency plan in place for the majority of “What if?” moments in our day to day lives. This question could be interpreted in many circumstances in your daily lives as a virtual assistant. Today I will be discussing a few of these what if questions.

Scenario #1

For my first example, I would go with one of our latest and greatest fears that we currently have in South Africa and that fear is named “Load Shedding”. Hopefully, according to Eskom, this will not affect us much but if or when it actually happens that you mid-sentence loose power, all your unsaved work will be gone and your internet router will be of meaning that your internet access will also be gone for the +- 2 hours that the load shedding is going on. For you to be prepared for this “what if” moment, you should in case that you are using a laptop ensure that the laptop is constantly charged up fully so that you do not lose any mission-critical information. The full battery should allow you to save the essential files and also maybe finish the project that you urgently need to finish. If you are using a desktop pc my suggestion will be to invest in a good quality UPS of at least 1000KVA to allow you to save your work and safely shut down the computer. Some models actually have space for you to plug in your power supply for your internet router so that you can still have a few more minutes of internet.

For those of us that do not have the luxury of owning a UPS but are working on a laptop witch, I strongly suggest the internet router going down can be bypassed at least for a short while. You can invest in a small internet modem/router that works off a battery and a sim card and can also be charged on using the USB port of your computer. It works by creating a small range wifi network that allows you to still access the internet.

Scenario #2

Another “what if” moment is when you have to work away from home due to any reason. It could be that your child/spouse is sick or that you go out for an afternoon lunch with an old friend or whatever the reason may be. For situations like this, I will suggest a few things. Firstly as before I would suggest that you rather do your work from a laptop or notebook computer. Also as suggested before invest in the wifi modem that runs of a battery that you can quickly and easily charge from your computer.

Also what I suggest is that you and your client keep in continuous contact with each other and explain to him if you have to leave your house for any reason you can inform him/her that you will be working from a different location but you will still have your computer as well as internet access so that you can continue doing the work from a different location.

Now, “what if” this is not possible? Then it would be in your as well as your clients best interests to say to your client I will not be available during this time but will be back, however as soon as I am back again I will carry on with the work required of you.

A MAJOR “What if” moment and also very important is What if I lose all my data? I know it is a horrible feeling and inconvenience not only to you but also your client if something is to happen with your data. In this case, it is my recommendation, out of a personal experience, that you have the following in place: firstly do a regular backup of your most important documents and information to an external drive. Preferably not a flash drive as they tend to get corrupted, go missing or most often the capacity is not big enough. There is also another option that I suggest you have in place in addition to the external drive for backups and that is to have a cloud service in place. There are several ones available. Some are free like Google cloud, Dropbox and also mega.com and some paid cloud services like box.com.

Final thoughts

Lastly my final “What If” moment is what if you do not have enough time to finish your work or do not understand what exactly it is that your client wants you to do, then feel free to ask your client. Rather ask and make sure before you start than starting with something you do not understand and having to do double work. Remember, your client is also a person just like you and would be able to assist you with any queries that you may have regarding the assignments given to you.