A guest post by Wes Burns
Experienced freelancers probably already understand the importance of backing up their work, but newbies in the game should take note. It is absolutely vital that you back up all your work. And when I say all your work, I mean ALL of it. Don’t just back up your latest documents or half-finished articles. You need to keep copies of everything forever.
First of all, it’s just the professional thing to do. For example, I did a bunch of work for a client back in 2007 and thought nothing of it. Two years later, that client e-mailed me asking if I had copies of those old documents. That client had lost everything and was hoping against hope that I backed everything up.
And you know what – I did. I had everything stored in my Dropbox folder and was able to recover those files for that client in minutes. That client was pleasantly surprised and loved me to death for keeping such thorough backups. This situation gave me a good chance to showcase my professionalism.
Another good reason to back up your work is for protection. If there is ever a dispute down the line regarding payment, content theft or anything along those lines, you have copies that you can recover for proof. The more backups you have, the easier it is to make your case.
Additionally, long term backups give you a chance to showcase your talent down the road. You might not think about these things right now, but careers do change. If you ever get into some other writing gig or would just like to show off your skills, you can bring up old content that you wrote years ago. This is especially important for ghost writers who don’t get credited for their work.
How to Back Up Your Work
I’m a big fan of online file storage as a backup method. It’s a simple method to back up your files because it works automatically in the background. It’s also secure because it creates physical distance between your original files and the backup copies.
There are two services in particular that stand out for their simplicity and cost:
Dropbox: Dropbox is a cool program that syncs your files between multiple computers while also keeping a copy of your files stored on the cloud. You can link multiple computers to your Dropbox account and every file that you save in your special Dropbox folder will be synced across every computer that you own.
Free Dropbox accounts give you 2 GB of storage space and paid accounts start out at $9.99 per month for 50 GB. You don’t get much storage space for the money, but the file syncing does come in handy. If you need more space, you might want to consider Carbonite instead.
Carbonite: Carbonite is a simpler and much cheaper backup solution. Carbonite does not provide file syncing, but it does give you unlimited storage space for a flat $59 per year. Just install the Carbonite software on your computer and it will automatically back up everything on your hard drive on a regular schedule.
The nice thing about Carbonite is that it backs up everything on your computer. You don’t have to store your files in special folders like you do with Dropbox. This solution is cheap and effective. It’s not as feature-rich as Dropbox, but it’s simple, cheap and effective.
I would also recommend you make occasional local backups of your documents. Get an external hard drive or USB flash drive and copy your files over once every few weeks. That way, you have an additional copy of your backups that you control at home. This combination of online and offline backup provides maximum protection for all your work.
How do you back up? I love Carbonite and you’ll find a banner square for it on the right below the fold.