What happens to your projects if you’re incapacitated? Who will notify your clients, and how will they find the necessary information?

We like to think that we are invincible, but there may come a time when you are seriously ill or injured — or worse — and unable to take care of business. While of course your health is the priority, it’s also a good idea to have some plans in place so that a trusted family member or friend can jump in and notify your clients.

The system I’ve developed for this has three parts:

  1. My master spreadsheet, which lists all of my projects this year and indicates which are past, current, and upcoming.
  2. My client reference manual, which lists contact information for all of my clients.
  3. My computer desktop, which has aliases to the folders for all of my current projects and to my master spreadsheet.

Written instructions in a safe place that my trusted people know about tell them how to get into my computer; where to find the spreadsheet, files, and client reference manual; and what to do with all that information. In short:

  1. Check the spreadsheet and get the project name and contact name for each current and upcoming project.
  2. Look up the contact information for each contact in the client reference manual, and then email or call them to tell them what the situation is.
  3. For current projects, which will have at least something done on them already, zip the project folder in its entirety and email it to the contact.
  4. If a current project shows that a payment has been received already, check my task manager to see where in the process the project was and refund if needed.
  5. If the situation is dire, notify every recent contact in my client reference manual (I cut off “recent” at three years).

There are additional considerations if someone is shutting down your business entirely on your behalf, but I think this is a good system for triaging your business and letting you focus on recovery.


Have you made contingency plans for your projects if something happens to you? Does your plan have any special steps? Share in the comments below!

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