There’s a service within the facilities management sector which is preventative maintenance. It’s a self-explanatory service and one which the majority of facilities management companies offer.
As a definition:
Preventive maintenance refers to regular, routine maintenance to help keep equipment up and running, preventing any unplanned downtime and expensive costs from unanticipated equipment failure. Source
But how does this terminology make sense for you and how can you apply it to your life and business?
As a freelancer, you are constantly chasing your tail and making sure the work you have pays those bills. Most freelancers will experience the feast and famine cycle but how do you perform maintenance on your business to prevent this? Keep marketing and keep performing tweaks and improvements to your business.
Ask yourself ‘What got me work in the first place?’ and keep doing it. It may be blogging, networking, building your profile on Twitter or just in-person word of mouth. Whatever it may have been, keep doing it and do it some more; irrespective of your work situation.
I am currently not actively seeking freelance work however I continue to perform maintenance on my business via blog posts, general tweaks of the website and asking previous clients for reviews. I do this because I like to stay on top of the game and ride out any bumps in the road.
Life is certainly not linear and neither is a career in Digital marketing. I couldn’t tell you if my educational business will last 5, 10, 15 years (Google are SQUEEZING every single sector pixel by pixel) but what I do know is that this website can serve me well whatever happens in years to come.
It also doesn’t have to serve me purely as a freelancer; I could pivot to become a consultant and help people get their websites off the ground? Just because it’s serving you in one way now doesn’t mean that cannot change in the future.
I’ve read so many horror stories of freelancers chucking their eggs in one basket and then that basket breaks. Clients being acquired, budgets stripped and the freelancer is the first to go.
What happens then if you’ve not updated your website for three years, your portfolio is one dimensional and you’re fighting on your feet to pay your next bill? Preventative maintenance on your business means you’re well equipped for times like this and are able to ride things out in a more measured way as opposed to scrambling for the next paycheque.
Look after your business and how you acquire business; it’s an asset you cannot afford to lose.
Perhaps not as sharply defined but certainly as important is preventative maintenance in life. What can you do in your life to prevent shit from happening which causes stress and anxiety? How can you stay on top of the game in life so your day to day needs are looked after?
Cars, housing, food are the areas I focus on but there’s many more you can explore to make sure your life stays fluid.
Service, MOT, regular cleaning. I make sure they are always humming. I’m not actually a huge fan of cars but I appreciate the necessity when family/friends are distributed across the country. Keep these in top working order and it prevents any stress and allows you to be always mobile.
Since we had the extension I am a stickler for preventative maintenance of the property. My wife would say I take this too far! We live in a 1950’s Semi with a bay window to the front. The flat roof on the bay hadn’t been replaced since the property was bought and there was no drainage.
The bay wasn’t leaking but I got the roof replaced and drain pipes added. I like to remove the possibility of something ever becoming a problem.
We also spend significant time cleaning our house, maintaining the outside and making sure it always looks in it’s best condition.
There are minor ways you can do this too. Regularly servicing your bike, cleaning ovens, descaling appliances and generally keeping on top of the things which could become a pain point.
When I worked full time I always had a sixth sense of sorts of when to move on in my place of work. As a result of this timing, I was able to avoid difficult periods, redundancies and also as a bi-product see my salary spike which only really happens from moving companies.
I believe more people need to conduct preventative maintenance on their own career. There are usually clear signs (not always but common) that things are going sour so make sure you take stock of your situation regularly.
I’d be keen to hear ways in which you try to prevent bumps in the road so you can stay focused on what you enjoy in both work and life.