Let’s say that you’re a taxi driver in New York City. Unfortunately, your car has broken down and you have no idea how long it’s going to be at the mechanic’s shop. Without your vehicle, you are left without a means to earn your livelihood. Every day, every hour, every minute, every second that your cab is off the road is literally costing you money, both in terms of repair cost and in terms of opportunity cost. If you’re not with a paying passenger, you’re not making money.
Let’s say that you own a printing shop. You print posters and books and signs and flyers and all sorts of things. Unfortunately, the power is out for some inexplicable reason, so none of the machinery in your shop is working. If you’re not actively printing items for your customers, you’re not making money. And the problem is completely out of your hands. You just have to wait for the local utility company to fix it.
These are real world problems for people who run real world businesses. The thing is that the exact same thing applies when you make your money online as a blogger, vlogger, Internet marketer, affiliate marketer, or whatever else you choose to do. Take one cog or one gear out of your machine and you can feel at a complete loss. And no cog is more important than consistent and reliable Internet access. After all, how do you make money online if you can’t get online?
This is exactly the scenario that I had to face recently when a big storm apparently wiped out something in my local Internet service provider’s infrastructure. People were going without phone service, cable television and Internet access. It wasn’t just me. It was a fairly sizable part of the city and the ISP didn’t really indicate what was wrong other than to say they were “working on it.”
And the only reason I was able to find that out was because I still had 4G on my smartphone. I was able to take to Twitter and Google to see if anything had come up and the ISP got back to me via social media to say that they were aware of the “service interruption” and that technicians were working to fix it.
Meanwhile, I was sitting at my computer, totally ready to be really productive. But I can’t be productive without Internet on my computer, can I?
While it is a major inconvenience and nuisance, temporary lack of Internet access is no excuse for deciding not to get work done. If you aren’t resourceful and you aren’t hustling, you don’t deserve to be a successful Internet entrepreneur. You need to think of alternative solutions.
One solution, if the situation were much more localized, would be simply to pack up a laptop and head somewhere else to get Internet. This could be a nearby coffee shop, public space, library, community center, coworking office, or anywhere else in your neighborhood where you can get online. But that doesn’t work if Internet is wiped out for huge swaths of the city.
Another option, which you may have gleaned from earlier in this article, is to utilize the available Internet access on my phone. Trying to get any real work done on a smartphone can be difficult at best, but most devices are capable of tethering or acting as a mobile hotspot. Of course, this is really only appropriate if you have large enough of a wireless plan (or unlimited) to accommodate the added data usage. Otherwise, those overage charges could wipe out any additional profit you’d be earning.
Realistically, the best way you can handle an Internet outage is to keep a list of tasks and projects that you can work on offline. Yes, it may be true that you earn your living on the Internet, but you should also have items that need doing that don’t require you to hop on the web.
In a very real sense, that is exactly what I’m doing here. This blog post is being written on my computer while I’m still not online. When Internet access is restored, I can jump back in my browser, use the online spell check and other tools, look for images to accompany the post, and paste the text into the back end of this blog accordingly. By writing this post offline, I’m not wasting any time.
Is this more inconvenient? Does it interrupt my usual workflow? Absolutely. But I’m still getting work done, whether I’m online or not.