I'm a single web designer / developer freelance and I work in a home office, my target clients are small to medium local businesses, shops, hotels, etc.
I have several clients and I am available to them for any maintenance, updates or problem solving, in working hours, I also have a schedule of works to complete with certain deadlines.
Two weeks ago I had a sudden unexpected and very debilitating health problem, I was hospitalized for a few days and being treated with strong I.V. painkillers and other medicines. Later when I came back home I was very weak and totally unable to do anything for almost a week.
During this time my wife answered the client's calls and informed them about my temporary inability to work for health reasons. Although I have managed to solve a few minor things with the help of one other freelance-collegue, that had consequences:
A client moved suddenly to another freelance because he needed the work done, probably I will not see him again.
A company (my client since 3 years) had a problem with the website due to a provider change of settings, I couldn't do anything... they expressed me their concern about possible future similar problems, they said probably they will move to a bigger web agency to avoid to be dependent to a single person.
I had some calls and emails for jobs to do that I had not even answered and declined.
I am in a terrible delay with deadlines, I should work days and nights but I am not physically able to stay at work more than a few hours a day since I am still in therapy with many medicines.
Please note that this never happened to me before, this is the first time I had such problem and totally unexpected...
How to be "ready" for such events? Do you arrange your work in some way to grant your client's business continuity? Do you arrange anything to minimize the effects of unplanned similar events?