As a freelancer and online small business owner, I can appreciate how unsettling the coronavirus is causing us all to feel. With the country gradually going into lock down, many are struggling to not only adapt to new working conditions, but also with how to deal with the crisis at hand.
For many of us, there are a lot of feelings churning around. And as a freelancer or online small business owner, that’s totally understandable. There’s a fear that our business won’t survive the corona virus crisis. There’s also worry around how we can financially afford to lose clients or potential sales, whilst keeping our business open and running. And there’s the uncertainty over how to effectively manage the situation, our business and our own mental health during this difficult time.
It’s not just business as normal
As much as we’d like to think otherwise, it isn’t just business as normal. With schools being closed, businesses telling employees to work from home, and no end date in sight, our routines and home lives are all getting muddled together. This inadvertently means we need to adapt and change our own working practices and routines too.
Our home lives are also being affected. With more people at home, there’s more distractions and other people to take into consideration. You may need to help look after and/or occupy them, whilst trying to work on your business at the same time. This will add even more feelings to those ones already churning around inside you – including more fear and uncertainty, with maybe a hint of resentment, frustration and annoyance thrown into that mix!
And of course, there’s the financial implications of all of these changes too. Uncertainty and fear around finances will often lead to arguments, more frustration and fear.
So how can you let go of some of those feelings and keep yourself carrying on with your business?
If you want to calm the fear, you need to get proactive
The key to calming down those feelings a little, is to get proactive. You need to feel more in control of the situation and focused on productive ways forward. Luckily, there are a lot of ways you can do this and there are lots of ways you can get others involved too.
It’s about having practical tips that help you feel more in control of your business, your life and your finances.
So with that being said and, in no particular order, here’s a list of 25 practical tips for calming the fear and worry, whilst proactively dealing with the current coronavirus crisis we’re all currently facing.
25 practical tips to help freelancers and online small business owners
#1: Be sensible, not panicked
Rather than acting from a state of panic, take a couple of deep breaths before you decide anything. This will help calm you and give you a chance to think about any decisions and actions you take.
#2: Cut back on your expenses for work and home
Now is a good time to go through your work and personal expenditure and see where you can make changes. But be sensible at the moment (remember point #1!) Don’t strip out all the business help you pay for and don’t cancel everything related to personal fun and entertainment, unless you really have no choice. National Debtline has some good advice, along with sheets for budgeting etc.
#3: Know what financial help you’re entitled to
The situation is constantly changing at the moment, so be aware of what government help you are entitled to. Depending on your niche or circumstance, also look into business grants and bursaries that may be available to you.
#4: Address how you’re working during the corona virus crisis
This tip is all about checking in with your current working practices, to ensure you’re working ethically and morally. For example, are you offering real value to your followers and subscribers, or are you helping spread fear and hiking up your prices?
#5: Plan your next quarter
Don’t sit and do nothing with your business, until this crisis is over. Get proactive and start amending your plans now. What can you change, implement, learn, add or drop over the next quarter, to help move your business forward?
#6: Get talking and interacting online
Show up more. Even if you’re playing a more active role in online groups or communities, start interacting with others online. Share your experience, skills, knowledge and advice to help others and to stay visible yourself.
#7: Embrace video
For many of us, video isn’t one of our preferred formats. However, it’s something that we’ve avoided for so long, but really now need to get comfortable with. So why not sign up for a free confidence on camera course on Udemy or Skillshare? Or start doing lives in your Facebook group?
#8: Get proactive on and offline
Tweak your website, plan a free course – basically do something! It’s far better to stay active and give yourself something (other than the coronavirus!) to focus on.
#9: Stay in touch with your subscribers
If you haven’t already got one, set up a welcome sequence for your subscribers. Alternatively, write a blog and send out a broadcast email promoting it, or reach out with a quick question and share it on social media and your mailing list.
#10: Promote your services and products
No matter what type of product or service you have, promote it, in whichever way feels right. This could be a paid ad, a graphic you pin on Pinterest, a value post with a call to action, or repurposing an existing blog post and sharing that. Don’t stop promoting, just because you’re worried about the current crisis or how others may view it.
#11: Adapt your mindset
If you want to help yourself, stop focusing on, and feeding, your fears and worries. Adapt your thoughts to more positive ones. Focus on what you can do and stop worrying about what you can’t. Develop a new mantra, such as ‘I am safe, I am loved’ or ‘I control what I can and choose to drop that which I can’t’.
#12: Learn and grow
There’s so many opportunities at the moment, to help you learn and grow. With Udemy offering certain courses for free, Skillshare offering 2 months free trial, and Digital Marketer offering free access until at least the end of March 2020, there’s lots of ways you can learn and grow.
I know I’m not alone, when I say I have lots of books on my reading list (and my bookcases!). So set aside reading time, so you can work through that list. Or why not set aside family time for reading – either separately or together?
#14: Start growing your own produce at home
Things are changing and one thing this crisis has highlighted is the need for us to change our habits and lifestyle. Growing your own fruit and vegetables is a great way to help your budget, limit your reliance on supermarkets, and to honour mother earth just a little bit more.
#15: Planning what you need meal-wise
Another way you can help change your habits is to plan out what you need for your meals. Panic buying is one of the ways our fear of not having enough shows up – so counteract this by educating yourself that you do have enough, with the use of a meal plan for each week.
#16: Stay in touch with family and friends
Self isolation and social distancing doesn’t mean you have to be lonely and alone. Take the time to write letters, make phone calls and make use of video calls between your family and friends.
#17: Start a new hobby
Learn something fun or revive a hobby you used to love! I know I’m going to dig out my watercolour painting set, so what about you – what hobby could you start? Again, check out the online learning portals for courses you could sign up for.
#18: Help others online
Whether it’s with your vlog or blog posts, your paid products and/or services, or with the posts you’re writing online – look at how your business can help others, and do more of that. Maybe you could create a low-priced new course or product, or offer a free strategy call?
#19: Do what you can to safely help your community
And don’t forget how you can help those in your local community, whilst still honouring social distancing. Could you get some groceries for an elderly neighbour, or offer time/financial donations to help a local charity? Check Facebook for any local community-led help forums you could join.
#20: Know who you want to be during this period of time
There’s far too many people out there who are feeding the panic and selfishly hoarding food and supplies. Don’t be one of those people. Decide to be someone you can respect and admire and go be that person. Share useful, not fearful posts online. Stay positive and upbeat, and support others.
#21: Have a social media detox
Now may be a good time to schedule your social media for your business page and then step away from social media for a while. Give yourself a breathing space away from social media – especially if you’re finding yourself endlessly scrolling through your feed for new updates. If you don’t want to step away completely, set yourself a time limit or update which notifications you’re being shown and people you’re connected with etc.
Go check out Good Housekeeping, as they have a list of 25 free live-stream workout classes you can take at home. And as the Evening Standard have reported, Joe Wicks (AKA the Body Coach) is holding live PE classes for children, from 9am on Monday 23rd March, over on his YouTube channel.
#23: Clear your space
If you’ve been putting off clearing out your cupboards or tidying up your office, now’s a great time to clear your space. Not only will it help free up storage space, it’ll also help you feel better and make for a more productive space around you.
#24: Take time to be with your loved ones
If you currently have your children and partner home, why not take a step back from work and take the time to spend time with them. If you followed tips #9, #10 or #18 some of the business-related tips above, you could get your social media and/or those blog posts written and scheduled, freeing up time to be with your family. And if your family aren’t at home with you, you could follow tip #16 to get a plan in place for staying in touch.
#25: Sit with it
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to sit and do nothing. I’m not suggesting you do this until the corona virus crisis is over – but taking a short period of time to sit and be with your thoughts, may be just what you need. Not only can it help ground you, it’s an excellent way of calming the mind and gaining perspective. You could even take up meditation or schedule in a daily cuppa and sit down in the garden.
There are things you can do, to stay productive, calm your feelings and gain perspective, during this coronavirus crisis. By following the above 25 tips, you’ll have plenty of ideas to help you get started – and more in control of your business and home life, as well as your finances, during this (or any other) difficult time.
How did you like today’s article? If you’re an online business owner, I’d love to hear from you about the type of content you’d like me to focus on during this period of time. Whether you’re looking for practical business advice, mindset solutions or tips on improving your confidence, I’m looking to write blog posts that truly help you. So why not get in touch with your ideas and suggestions? You can send me an email through my contact page or simply leave a comment below. I personally reply to all emails and comments, and you’ll also be helping to shape the content of future blog posts on here, too!