Working During an Internet Outage to Keep Your Business Lights On

By Tom Bentley, Contributor, on April 5, 2017

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There are three things you need to sustain your life: water, food and the internet. If you’re a freelancer with a home-based business, the internet is critical to your work. Some service- and product-based businesses are wholly dependent — no net, no business. Figuring out ways of working during an internet outage can keep the lights on, even when the power’s out.

When winter comes around, you might get hit with an onslaught of massive storms, causing a lot of damage. The internet might go down for three days straight, or the power might go fully out for 20 hours. If this happens, and you discover your service provider doesn’t have a clue when net access will be restored, you need to marshal your resources, determine priorities and consider options. Eat food and water, too, so you’ll be at least two-thirds alive. Working during an internet outage will take all your wits, so keep them nourished.

However, know this: Even without the web, you can still get plenty done.

Work Offline

If your home business relies on direct internet sales or serves up online courses from your home computer, you might need to take emergency measures. If not, you might have a little leeway to attend to your neglected projects. Been avoiding making some marketing calls, or aren’t up to date on your invoicing or check balancing? A dead internet connection might allow you some time to clear out your backlog. Maybe you can finally check inventory, clear out old files and map out a strategy for growing your business.

Imagine what you can accomplish without a chorus of tweets, emails and news feeds to distract you. You’ll be shocked at how productive you can be working during an internet outage.

Poach a Line

If you absolutely need to be online now, there are options. Many coffee shops provide free internet access (and are happy to sell you enough caffeine to make your eyeballs bulge), as do many other businesses with free, available Wi-Fi.

If it’s quiet you need, the public library is a good spot for you, your laptop and some quick goals you need to accomplish in that restricted space. I did a few stints in the library during various outages, and I was able to get some substantive writing done and answer a ton of emails. Even though I found myself longing for my ergonomic chair at home, access and quiet made me realize all over again the value of public libraries.

Don’t forget your friends either. Wi-Fi isn’t just for at-home businesses; I’m willing to bet just about everyone you know has this standard service.

You’re Getting Warmer

You may not have even considered this solution (I know I didn’t), but it’s easy to create a mobile hot spot with your smartphone. It’s a simple matter to set up many smartphones as personal hot spots, and once done, the internet and its fascinating world is yours again. Your connectivity mileage can vary, however. I don’t have the greatest connection at my house, so I was cut off every now and then. You can also rack up some serious data charges, depending on the nature of your work, so check your data plan.

Power to the People — and Their Devices

If your power goes completely out, your smartphones (and your laptop battery) will wither quickly. Your phone, in particular, can drain rapidly depending on the demands you make of it as a hot spot.

The solution for powerlessness is storage. There are many choices for compact and powerful portable USB battery packs. I used one on the power outage day for my phone, and even though it was only half-charged, it brought my phone back to a full charge while I used it for a hot spot.

Of course, you need to keep those batteries charged, as well, so you might make a note in your calendar to recharge those portables regularly. That same note can command you to keep all your essential devices — flashlights, lanterns, etc. — fully charged and ready. You never know when the weather will decide it’s bored and do an endless rain dance on your roof.

Working during an internet outage can prove challenging, but with reasonable planning, it won’t shut you down entirely.

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