Christian coaches. Because it’s your business…because your ministry matters…you need to have a plan for when computer drama happens.
Well, coaches. Don’t do what I did.
I had a week of staycation scheduled. Sat down to help my son with his college financial aid process and boom! Promptly spilled iced coffee on my laptop keyboard.
We all know that keeping a drink handy near the laptop is risky. But we all do it, right? I can’t be the only one. Of course I’m not. But in the 12 years I’ve been coaching I’ve never spilled on the keyboard. Until last week.
You can picture it. A flurry of activity erupted, as my son and I tried to keep coffee from seeping into the computer. We dried everything off. He complimented me on the winning the Spill-Coffee-on-the-Keyboard championship trophy.
We turned it back on. And woohoo! It worked! For about two hours. Then it froze and the grand finale was a blue screen that even as a non-techie I knew was doom.
Now that I’ve indulged you with my story, here are some practical tips:
I’m not even going to say don’t set drinks by your computer. You know that! But like me you’re going to do that anyway.
Because it’s your business, have a computer protection plan with accidental damage and spill coverage (unless you have a lot of disposable dollars easily on hand for these types of situations). Yes, I had spill coverage. Spill coverage! My plan is through SquareTrade and they have been very helpful and responsive. Keep a physical copy of your warranty information easily available on file.
Because it’s your business, have data backup. This is another thing we all know, but not everyone has this. Where would I be if I didn’t have backup? Enough said. If you do not have data backup, fix that right now! My back up is through Carbonite which has worked very well for me.
Because it’s your business, you need a plan for when your primary computer is not available and especially for when it’s not available for extended periods of time. And I do mean possible extended periods of time. Best Buy quoted me 2-4 weeks to fix my ASUS laptop! Because it’s my business, I don’t have that kind of time. The process for repair with SquareTrade (mailing it in for them to fix and return) appeared it would take up to two weeks. SquareTrade had an option for me to use a local repair shop that I used because that took less than a week to accomplish.
Here are a few elements to include in your plan:
- What computer will you use when your primary computer is not available?
- As an alternative, in what ways is your smart phone or tablet useful? In what ways will these devices be inadequate to cover your full business needs?
- When you use another computer, how will you access your email? Something like Gmail is easy enough, but if you’re accessing your self-hosted email you may need info at hand on how to access your webmail.
- What passwords will you need at hand to access your online accounts?
- If you take on new clients while your primary computer is down how will you deliver your intake forms?
- Is your alternative computer shared and if so, how will you appropriately and ethically manage your client info while you temporarily use this shared computer?
Your plan may include utilizing online accounts, an external hard drive or networked computers. The point is to have a plan.
If you’re a new coach who’s a techie or an established coach with an arsenal of technical equipment, you’ve probably got all this covered. But if you are a new or established coach who is not tech savvy, you might be amongst the many who can learn from my experience. Don’t wait! Go now and make a plan!
And just to demonstrate that my Spill-Coffee-on-the-Keyboard trophy was well-deserved, I can report that the technician said my computer was the best-smelling in the shop!