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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What to Expect When You're... Not Expecting a Break (+ How to Prep Your Presence Accordingly)


You may have noticed that I haven't been around the past few days. (And if you didn't, that's okay. I'm not offended. Normal people take weekends off anyway.)

Long story short, my internet was out and the cell phone signal in my neighborhood is almost non-existent unless I'm standing on a chair outside. So, besides scrolling through Instagram and checking email, not much else worked and I was cut off from the blogosphere unexpectedly.

(Side note: Oddly enough, I was planning on taking a break in November anyway, but apparently God wanted it to happen sooner.)

You may have experienced this unintended absence from the internet before. Maybe...
  • Your power went out.
  • Your laptop got a virus.
  • Your hotel didn't have free wifi (serious #firstworldproblem, but totally sucks).
  • Your airport didn't have free wifi (see above, and is even worse during a layover).
  • You spill coffee on your keyboard. *knocks on wood*

Etc, etc, etc. Shit happens. What matters is how we prepare for when it happens, and then what we do once it does. Today, I'm going to give you 5 tasks to tackle before disaster strikes (and of course, I've made a simple checklist to help you remember).


As for me? This random break was a blessing in disguise.

I freakin' love Periscope and pinning, but instead, I:
  • Caught up on laundry, dishes, laundry, and (more) laundry.
  • Watched entirely too much Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with my kid.
  • Actually cooked and ate real food as opposed to McDonald's, trail mix, and microwave popcorn.
  • Brainstormed future post topics for YOU, babe.
  • Put together a massive spreadsheet of every Mary Kay client and referral I've ever received. Which was actually pretty fun.

Oh, yeah, and I decided that The Loudmouth Lifestyle will start 2016 with a new website (and new name). And no, I'm not going to tell you what it is. Moving on!

By the way, these tips are also good for when you're taking an intentional vacation.


1. BACK UP YOUR CRAP


I back up my files and photos in multiple ways (Dropbox, Google Drive, and an external hard drive being three of them). Call me crazy, but after my last laptop got a virus that ate through almost everything in less than a week, I've become paranoid. And it's a really good thing. You never know what could happen.

Bonus tip: You'll want to back up your blog or website as well. This is usually found under your settings, but check with your web designer first if you're not sure how.


2. HIRE HELP

I recently found a virtual assistant (VA) who will work for trade in exchange for coaching. Honestly, just knowing that I have her has lifted tons of pressure off. Even if you can't afford to pay an assistant yet, think of what service you could offer her until more money comes in to your biz. I also have two featured writers and two community moderators that have stepped in before when needed.

It's super important to have help so that if something goes wrong and you can't be there, someone else who is almost as cool as you can fill in. You might not think your blog is "big" enough to need anything like this, but chances are you will someday, and you want to be prepared for it so that you're not panicking later.

Bonus tip: Facebook groups are great places to find a VA. Start with Virtual Assistant Tips + Tricks. Make sure you're being transparent about what you need from them and how you're able to pay.



3. WRITE STUFF DOWN

Keep an offline planner and notebook, even if you primarily use apps and tools on your phone for that. It's crucial to have a non-electronic backup of things like your login passwords, graphic templates, html codes, budgets and bookkeeping, and anything else having to do with running your blog or business. If you forget your cell or your laptop at home and you're somewhere else with technology, you'll be able to still get work done with your handy-dandy notebook.

Bonus tip: Choose a brightly-colored notebook with an inspirational quote on the front so you won't forget it no matter where you go. Cute office supplies are my jam.


4. SAVE YOUR PENNIES

Start an emergency fund just in case your electronics should be broken, stolen, or otherwise misplaced. Mint and Simple are great tools for this. With Mint, you can connect any bank accounts or credit cards that you have, keep track of your funds, and set goals. On the other hand, Simple is an actual online bank, and Brandon and I have been able to use it to save up for our wedding. The site figures out how much you would need to put away per day, in order to get to the amount you choose, by the day you need it. And then it continuously sets the money aside for you. Pretty neat!

Bonus tip: Find a store like Best Buy with affordable financing, warranty options, and protection plans for your computer. That way, you won't have to worry (as much) about something happening. Same with your phone -- make sure it's insured, and that you know what the insurance covers.



5. AND I DON'T MEAN TO SOUND LIKE A BROKEN RECORD, BUT...

Yep. You knew this was coming. My favorite topic -- social media scheduling!

But seriously, I didn't have to worry about my tweets and status updates over the weekend because they were posting automatically. Another thing you should do, though, is schedule blog posts. I used to do this at least a week in advance, but I've been slackin' lately. Keeping an editorial calendar helps with that.

Bonus tip: Try the free options at Hootsuite, Buffer, and CoSchedule before choosing a paid plan.



The truth is, unexpected breaks seem to happen right when we need them. Whether you have a planned vacation or a random hiatus, be sure to spend it taking care of the most important person in your life: you! When you're happy and healthy, your clients and readers will be influenced even more positively than before.

A better you means a better business. So, relax and have fun, okay?

PS: Two of my favorite entrepreneurs, Sarah + Halley, are each giving away a free pass to their new e-courses. Go enter, it literally takes two minutes, and check out their blogs here + here while you're at it. (I'm obsessed with them.)

Speaking of courses, this is your LAST chance to sign up for Quit + Commit: From Self-Doubt to Self-Employed in 90 Days. Registration closes tonight at 8pm PST! Check out the curriculum + bonuses here, and register here. (Prefer a payment plan? You can grab that here!) The program may be back in 2016, but it will not be interactive.
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