Big companies keep entire departments around for the sole purpose of managing technology: they’ve got employees dedicated to testing technology, buying new computers and even fixing any problems that come along. Many companies even have a chief technical officer on board to manage every aspect of technology within the company. As a freelance writer, though, you’re the CTO, IT support staff and even the procurement department all rolled up into one. You’re responsible for making sure that not only does your technology run smoothly, but that you keep up to date on new technology as well.
Considering how scary a computer melt-down can be, your CTO responsibilities can be a little overwhelming. But I do have a few suggestions on making your business run a little smoother — at least as far as technology goes.
Get Your Own Tech Support
When something happens to a freelancer’s computer, there’s a big problem. Even if the actual problem isn’t that major, having your productivity impaired can easily snowball. Even worse, if you can’t get online, how do you find out who to call? I know that I don’t actually have a phone book any more. Having a list of who you should call in technical emergencies can speed up solving the problem, especially if your list isn’t actually saved on your computer.
It should include your official tech support, like the folks responsible for your internet, as well as your own personal tech support — who do you take your computer to when something goes wrong? I actually suggest making an arrangement with someone you pay for tech support: if your tech support helps you out because you’re friends, he has no incentive to get your computer fixed on your schedule. If it’s a business arrangement, though, your problem should get resolved as fast as possible.
Keep Up to Date on New Tools
Freelancing isn’t just a matter of having a word-processing program installed on your computer. Knowing about the software options out there is crucial to your business. Little details, like the fact that the latest version of Word doesn’t automatically save files as .doc files can make a major difference in how you use it — especially since most of your editors and clients may not have updated their systems.
There are plenty of websites and applications out there that can make a major difference in your ability to take on and complete freelance writing assignments — as well as manage your books and collect your money. A good CTO regularly reviews new options and considers adopting them as needed.
I’ve talked a little bit about how freelancers have to take control of each aspect of their business, and I’m willing to bet I’ll talk about it again. It’s a big deal, but it often gets lost in the hustle and bustle of landing the next client.