I’m writing this as Australia enters into the most insane time I can remember.
I’m 40 years old and I have known for a long time, that the era I have lived in, so far, has been one of blissful peace and easy living.
I have OFTEN thought about how blessed I have been to have been born when I was. Sure there’s been a recession and a couple of wars, but nothing that has truly impacted my life here in Australia. The sun has always been shining down on my little corner of the world and I’ve never had to worry about my health or having enough to eat.
And suddenly here we all are panic buying toilet paper and wondering if we should be sending our kids to school or not.
I’m in a unique situation where my husband has a secure job that has encouraged employees to work from home during this crisis and I have always worked from home whilst juggling motherhood, so we’re one of the lucky ones.
But even though life hasn’t changed too much for me, yet, I find myself all too aware of the magnitude of this moment and I don’t want to miss the opportunity it could provide for me to make something positive out of it all.
So, this is my little guide on how to stay calm, productive and positive during this time.
First up, I wanted to address something I’ve been feeling the last few days. The last business-related post I put on my social media was 4 days ago. I haven’t really been sure what to post since then. Is it creepy and opportunistic to keep trying to grow and promote your business during this time?
Well, kind of.
But the fact of the matter is, we all need to try and keep making a living. But how we do that is something we can be conscious of.
I keep seeing all these Facebook ads from businesses who haven’t bothered to tweak their automated sales funnels to reflect what’s going on in the world right now; and to me, that’s creepy.
But if you can tweak what it is you regularly do so it becomes beneficial to people in today’s strange environment, then, by all means, make others aware of it!
Feeling like you shouldn’t be posting anything work-related is a valid feeling, but one we need to move past if we are to survive Covid-19 and have a business to come back to on the other side.
So, now I’ve got that off my chest, here are my top tips for making the most of this extra time a lot of us suddenly find we have.
Work through your business to-do list that you usually never get time for
We all have one… a list of things that would be nice to do but we never find the time?
Some of the things on my list include:
Do a spring clean of your website.
This is at top of my list and I truly believe should be top of every small business owner right now.
At some point, we are going to come out on the other side of this and ensuring you have a website that is optimised to help you get back on track with your business is going to be vital. I’ve written a whole blog on it over here, but to quickly summarise, my 5 step plan of action for spring cleaning your website includes:
Step 1 – Examine your website’s main site goal
Step 2 – Create a roadmap for your site visitors
Step 3 – Do a content clear out
Step 4 – Take a look at your Search Engine Optimisation
Step 5 – Optimise all your website’s imagery!
Next up, work on growing your email list.
If you haven’t already started to grow your email list, now is the perfect opportunity to get this process underway.
The easiest way to get started with an email list is to create a valuable “opt-in freebie” that people can get in exchange for their email address. This should be:
Something that relates to the product or service that you offer
It should provide REAL value for the consumer
Offer some insight into what working with you more might be like.
I find the most popular freebies I’ve created are simple workbooks, step-by-step guides or short instructional videos showing them how to do something.
Once you’ve created your opt-in you need to work out how you’re going to deliver it to your audience. There are literally hundreds of ways this can be done, but when you’re just getting started, just having a form on your website asking for a name and an email address and delivering the freebie via a link in the thank you message is literally all you need.
Once you start getting multiple sign-ups a week you may want to move on to something that can automate things for you.
This takes me to my next point, write an amazing nurture sequence that introduces people to you and your business and starts the know, like and trust process for you.
This is also an opportunity to start blogging.
I’ve covered in previous blogs how writing regular articles related to your area of expertise can help with search engine optimisation and get your website found more often.
Writing a regular blog is also a great way to easily serve an email list. Once you start building one, you have to then find the time to serve them. Adding an extra thing to your to-do list every week can be tricky, but if you can carve out time to write one blog post either weekly or fortnightly, you then have all the content you need to reach out to your email list. Let them know the key takeaways from your blog and including the link to read more is all you really need to do.
Ensure all your social media accounts have consistent visuals.
Often we find ourselves spending more time on one social media platform above all others. Maybe it’s the one we feel most comfortable using
Or the one where we enjoy other people’s content the most.
Or it could be the one we get the most traction from in terms of engagement and sales.
Whatever the reason, it’s rare to find a business that uses all its social media platforms to the same degree.
So this could be a good opportunity to go through all the places your business has a presence and make sure that you are using consistent visuals.
Is the profile image you use consistently across them all? Whether you prefer your logo or an image of yourself, making it consistent across all your social media will help create brand recognition.
The same goes for the colours and graphics you use. Are you using the same brand colours, fonts and other supporting visuals across all the different platforms? If not, start working on creating a suite of brand assets and keep things consistent everywhere you’re posting.
Spring clean your home office!
So many of us work from home and whether it’s a desk in your lounge room or a dedicated room in your home, making sure it’s an enjoyable space to be in can do wonders for your productivity and creativity.
This is something my home office is in desperate need of.
This is what my home office currently looks like.
It has become a dumping ground for superfluous kid’s toys, items we want to sell on gumtree and kid’s craft activities.
It is one of my main priorities to get the space looking amazing in the next couple of weeks. So stay tuned, I’ll write a blog on the transformation!
Finally, I’ve saved my least favourite but probably the most important thing to be doing at a time like this.
Get on top of your accounts and create a budget.
Financials are the part of my business I hate the most and to be perfectly honest I outsource to the amazing Kym from TAF Bookkeeping Services (if you’re looking for an amazing bookkeeper I highly recommend Kim!).
But with things looking uncertain for all of us, knowing where you stand financially is so important. I can’t really offer any more advice here as it is most definitely not in my area of expertise, but I encourage you all to take action on this sooner rather than later.
Educate yourself and others!
The other thing I plan to do during the next couple of weeks is to spend some time learning.
Taking the time to brush up on some of your existing skills, or learn something new is a brilliant way to spend any downtime you find you have.
Think about what additional skills could help you in your business and consume everything you can on that topic. Whatever it is you want to learn I can almost guarantee you will find a plethora of incredible and free resources out there. From podcasts to webinars, blog posts to instructional videos, there is a wealth of free information out there for small business owners.
I don’t know about you, but for me, finding the time to learn new things can be hard, so when I find myself with more time than usual, it’s one of the first things I do.
A lot of us will also find ourselves home with kids who are usually at school. I think this is a fabulous opportunity to spend some quality time with our kids by trying a bit of “homeschooling”. I’m talking about hours of English and maths, but more of the fun stuff. Painting, acting, board games, cooking, science experiments, craft and anything else you can think of.
If you’re wanting to be a bit more academic, there are already a tonne of resources appearing online to help us parents keep their children occupied and learning.
NSW Government has this Learning from Home website up
Finally, spend time with loved ones
I don’t think I have to say too much more about this. Many of us are pulling our kids out of school and working from home. We are going to find ourselves spending a lot more time together.