I launched my business in December of 2014, full of excitement and ready to take on the world. I was steadily increasing my client base and watching my profits climb. My family bought a nearly new van and started planning a fun vacation. It was the best of times.
As life tends to be, the worst of times were right around the corner. The day before we were set to leave on vacation, my computer crashed. I frantically called Vaughn Reid III, my IT provider, who rearranged his schedule to investigate the problem. He asked if he could have my computer while we were on vacation. I agreed and finished the remainder of my pre-vacation work on my son’s tiny Chromebook.
I tried to forget my sick computer and enjoy my vacation, but when Vaughn arrived at my home office the following Monday, the diagnosis was not good: my hard drive was toast. What did that mean? All of the files I had worked on for my clients were gone. All of my kids’ photos stored on my computer… gone. It was a very low point for me.
Vaughn set up my backup computer and I sent my hard drive off to Texas to see if Seagate could work their magic on it. But as I waited for news on the hard drive, I had to recreate most of my files for my clients. I worked about 12-14 hours a day, but could only bill for what was “new work.” I remember sitting at my desk and crying. I told my husband, Will, I wanted to give up. It wasn’t worth it. I was destined to be one of those small business that failed in the first year.
Thankfully, I am married to a coach who makes a living getting people to do things they think they can’t. He gave me an excellent pep talk and a hug for good measure. He never expressed any anger or frustration over the situation and somehow made me believe I could recover from this disaster.
Seagate saved the day, recovering all of my files and putting them on a new hard drive. I also bought a second hard drive to use for backups. I literally have three backup methods now. I am determined never to let that happen again.
So, if you do not have a system for backing up, here’s some advice (FYI… none of these people are paying me to say this):
- Check out Carbonite. This is super easy and worth every penny. They backup all my files constantly. And when I save over a document I don’t intend to, I can nab the file from my Carbonite backup.
- Use a hard drive backup on a regular basis. Call me paranoid, but I like being able to have files where I can see them.
- Use drives through Google or Dropbox to share files with clients and friends. These drives operate outside of your computer, serving as an unofficial backup while allowing you to share files with others.
- Have a trusted IT person who can help you through the process. I am a fan of Vaughn’s Computer House Calls. Vaughn works with businesses and individuals and is good at explaining things and most importantly, making computers work.
Going through my hard drive crash may have been the lowest point of my business so far, but I hope you can learn from my experience. It may seem daunting to set up a backup system, but trust me… you may save thousands of dollars and a lot of frustration by doing so.