Monday, November 10, 2008

Many Hats: IT Technician

I'm on hold right now with Epson, the printer company. My printer broke a couple weeks ago, right in the middle of crafting several outlines, a process that entail printing out my interviews and reviewing the information I've gathered. I tried my darndest to fix the printer. I replaced the ink. I ran a number of diagnostics and tests to try to get the thing to work. Nothing. In the end I had to purchase a new printer.

But this incident, like so many I've encountered as a freelancer including the destruction of my laptop at the hands of my cat, highlights an important element of freelancing - the wearing of many hats. As a self employed person, you play every role within your company, both front office and back office. One of these back office roles that we must play is IT technician. And despite specializing in writing about technology, I know very little about fixing the stuff.

I think it would probably benefit any freelancer to take a few courses on IT troubleshooting. Whether its understanding how to troubleshoot certain, frequently used appliacations, such as the Microsoft Office Suite or Adobe Suite of products, or hardware, such as printers, computers and digital cameras, learning how to solve your own problems without turning to a costly technician can save you a lot of money.

That said, any expenses accrued from fixing your office equipment are tax deductible. So save those receipts! You might be kicking yourself for having to buy a costly new printer, but at tax time, you'll be happy to see the tax relief you get from your technical incompetence.

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