#279: Avoiding Catastrophic Failure

Engineers have to consider all possible points of failure.

Whether they’re designing bridges, airplanes, or rockets, if lives are at stake, they have to look at where they might fail.

Which is why they build in redundancies.

What they want to avoid at all costs is a single point of failure—a situation where many systems depend on a single thing working.

Because if that one thing stops working, they have a catastrophic failure on their hands.

Identifying single points of failure, and taking steps to mitigate them, sounds like good, common sense to me.

But then why don’t we apply the same analysis to our businesses?

In today’s podcast episode, I argue that our businesses are as susceptible to single points of failure as any engineering project—unless we take steps to find and mitigate them.

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Living With Zero Financial Margin

For many years, I was completely hamstrung by my cash flow.

I had zero breathing room. Every dollar that came in went out just as quickly. And I was constantly playing catch-up.

This situation stressed me out and led me to make a lot of bad decisions in my business.

And God forbid, had I gotten sick or been forced to take any significant amount of time off work, it would have meant financial ruin.

In other words, I had zero financial margin.

It was a glaring, and dangerous, single point of failure in my business.

I eventually turned that situation around.

And it feels amazing to have the financial margin that enables me to sleep well AND to make sound decisions every week.

Your Single Point of Failure

My greatest vulnerability was cash flow.

If you think you might share the same vulnerability, try asking yourself the following questions:

  • What kind of financial buffers do I have in place?
  • If I were forced to pause my business temporarily, how long could I afford to take off?
  • How would my decisions about the clients and projects I take on improve if I had a greater financial margin in place?

These are difficult questions. You may or may not like the answers.

But having freedom and flexibility in your business is the most important asset you can have.

When you have the freedom to choose, you make decisions that are aligned with your goals and values.

You can wait for the right opportunities to materialize.

You can pursue clients, topics and side hustles that truly excite you.

Alternatively, you can choose to slow down your pace if you want to.

Where Can You Take Back Control?

Give some thought to where you’re at in terms of your control over your time and options.

If you like what you see, great! Give yourself a pat on the back, and then ask yourself how you can improve it further.

But if, like me a few years ago, you’re not happy with where you are, maybe it’s time to take some baby steps in a better direction.



By the way… whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:

1. Grab a free copy of my book.

It’s called Earn More in Less Time: The Proven Mindset, Strategies and Actions to Prosper as a Freelance Writer. The title says it all. 😉 — Click Here

2. Join my implementation program and be a case study.

I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’re earning $5k+/month (or the part-time equivalent) from your freelance business … and you’d like to grow your income quickly with better clients … just email me at [email protected]

3. Work with me privately.

If you’re a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time, with less stress, I might be able to help you get there faster than you think. Just email me at [email protected] and put “Breakthrough” in the subject line, and I’ll get back to you with more details.