Your Own I.T. Department

There’s this magical thing that happens when you work at a large company: If your computer breaks, you call someone and they replace it for you. Sometimes within an hour or two. There’s next to no hiccups – your files are stored on a shared drive , and aside with some inconvenience installing your favorite programs, you’re back in action. Usually just in time to cut your lunch break in half.

Over the weekend, my Mac, a 27″ beast that I acquired last year in a desperate attempt to add some legitimacy to my publishing efforts, decided to blow a gasket. Its display, sometime near the 3 o’clock hour on Saturday afternoon, went dark.

At first, of course, you run through the usual gamut of possibilities:

  1. Power outage
  2. Cat attacked the cords
  3. Aliens have tapped into our machines and will soon be devouring our brains

When none of those proved true, I looked around for my IT guy and found… that I didn’t have one.

As any enterprising small business owner/survivalist lost on the edge of the known world will tell you, sometimes you have to do things yourself. So I took a deep dive into the acronym-infested world of Mac troubleshooting.

This largely devolved into turning the thing on and off while holding different varieties of keys while staring at a screen that remained steadfastly black. It felt vaguely like dating for the first time – a series of elaborate rituals that resulted in confusing noises and no real indication of success, just a fervent hope that I was doing something right.

And I failed.

Now, again jumping back to the usual corporate position, if there’s no way to get a new machine or fix yours, it’s time for happy hour. Here, though, this Mac was a significant part of my day-to-day. Photoshop, among other things, is much better executed on the big screen instead of my smaller laptop.

Vellum, an excellent formatting program that I use to produce virtually all of my ebook files, is Mac-only.

Sure, I could have called it a day and grabbed a cold one, but when I came back the next morning, I would’ve been right where I left it. Which brings us to the real point of this post, and that’s when you’re starting out, when you’re really embarking on something new and massive and grand, you likely won’t have the resources you’re used to.

You won’t have the luxury of experts in every aspect of your business. You won’t have an IT guy, a travel girl, or a coffee Ewok to call on when things aren’t running perfectly. That doesn’t mean you can’t find help – I dialed up Apple Support and my Mac is now getting open-processor surgery at the local Apple Store – but it’s up to you to negotiate the wilds to find the right solution.

There are so many benefits to being your own boss, but if there’s a problem, you have to fix it. Nobody else is going to.

Sidenote – I’d do an Opening Lines, but, as noted, the Mac isn’t here and without that, graphics work is painful. 

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