Let’s face it: the last thing most businesses are thinking about right now is a new website, marketing campaign or mobile app. So for many of us, it’s a terrible time to land new clients, and a brilliant one for our regular projects to stall.
In principle, it’s easy to say this is the right time to get on with the things you put off while busy with client work. But a pandemic lifestlye plays brutal havoc with your direction, structure and focus.
Here are a few things that might help.
Wellbeing and self-care
Health, wellbeing and support have always been the basis for sustained productivity and happiness. With the additional challenges of the moment, they can use more attention right now.
- Support from Centrelink for people affected by Coronavirus. If you’re now completely out of client work, you’re likely eligible for either the Jobseeker or Jobkeeper payments. Of course that’s not as good as billing clients, but it’s at least a bit of breathing space to keep working on your business.
- Coronavirus fitness: Here’s how to stay healthy at home is all about maintaining fitness while housebound.
- Stand-by solutions: Recipes using pantry, fridge and freezer essentials is a motherlode of recipes using basic staples.
- Mental health resources – coronavirus (COVID-19). The Victorian government has collated advice on managing the effects of social distancing on mental health.
- Flying Solo’s Pay it Forward is a collection of free and discounted offers from your fellow Australian freelancers during this crisis.
Improving your web presence
Your clients might not be pulling the trigger on new work just yet. But bet your butt they are spending more time than ever online, engaging with content, pondering what to do during and after this crisis. It’s a great time to publish new content and refresh the old.
The pandemic is clearly topical, so by all means publish something about it.. if you’ve got something relevant and of genuine use to say. Tenuous links and gimmicks can make you look like you’re simply using misery to drive clicks.
A growing number of people would prefer distraction from Coronavirus, so there’s increasing space for more evergreen content too. This is the content that will still be working for you when all of this blows over.
- Website copywriting resources: Your best links for words that sell is your master list of website copywriting and content marketing resources.
- Unsplash is a collection of beautiful photographs that you can use for free, without condition.
- Canva’s 25 graphic design tips for non-designers and beginners will help you with title graphics for your blog posts, social media graphics and more.
- The Backlinko blog has just published a guide to technical SEO suitable for beginners to help you identify and fix technical issues stopping you from getting Google traffic.
This is also a great time to go over those boring but important computer things that could blow up in your face if put off forever.
Here are a few things you don’t need IT certifications to attend to:
When was the last time you actually tested your backups? How confident are you that they actually work?
- Your customers hate slow websites, and so do the search engines who send them to you, so maybe it’s time to speed up your wordpress website.
- For that matter, when was the last time you applied security updates to your website?
- Speaking of security updates, what are you still doing on Windows 7? Microsoft stopped supporting it at the beginning of the year.
Learn something new
You can go deeper on your skills, or tackle something tangential but related to broaden them. I’m a big believer too in the value of learning things that having nothing to do with work, to feed your brain with a different perspective entirely.
You’ve probably got your own ideas about what you’d like to learn. In any case, it’s futile to try to give something this open-ended even any kind of overview. So this is just some cool, completely free things I’ve enjoyed and found useful.
- Automate the Boring Stuff with Python is a resource for non-programmers to learn how to write scripts that automate the most tedious, repetitive tasks, like updating and renaming files, or monitoring prices on websites.
- “Thinking, Fast and Slow” is an hour long talk by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman compares intuitive thinking with conscious deliberation. This is profound stuff for anyone in business.
- Tim Ferriss’s podcasts are a treasure trove of cool ideas and perspectives. I especially liked his interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and for a completely different take, his look at how to live well on a very frugal income.
This can’t last forever
It might take until a vaccine, or for social distancing measures to contain the virus to a point where they can be wound back.
Perhaps, before either of those take place, enough businesses will adjust to a socially distanced world that the gears of commerce start turning again.
Until that day comes, if you’re looking for something not covered here, feel free to ask around in the Flying solo forums. Or if you know of another great resource to share, leave it in a comment below!