I should start this post by saying that if you're dealing directly with grief or loss, my heart goes out to you and you are in my thoughts. You must take all the time you need for yourselves and your family - these are difficult times and I hope you can find the strength to weather the storm...
I'm seeing that the self employed are falling into two distinct camps right now. Some people are feeling very anxious about lockdown and confused about what they should be doing for their business, whilst others are looking to take action to help their brand come through this stronger on the other side.
No matter which camp you're in, please don't let the paralysis overwhelm you. At the moment, any action, even small daily action, is better than standing still and watching from the sidelines.
Here are some great things you can be doing in your business right now:
1. Up your social media game
I've been working hard over at @freshleafcreative on Insta to post more frequently (at least once or twice a day) and to make active engagement a priority, and it's really helping to keep me connected to my community and build some new relationships. This month I've also been doing a daily photo challenge which is a fun way of staying committed to my goal whilst extending my reach - why not get involved? If you work on building your community now, you'll be front of mind when life gets back to normal.
2. Review your social media strategy
Not sure what to post? Many social media managers will be very happy to work with you remotely to conduct a complete review of your social media strategy. Now I'm not an official expert in Instagram but I do have a pretty good handle on it, I also know lots of people who may be able to help in this respect
3. Refresh your branding
I know how easy it is to get pulled into client work rather than focusing on the big things in your own business. Have you been meaning to professionalise your brand for a while but never seem to find enough hours in the week? If so, now is the perfect opportunity.There's never been a better time to pause and take stock, and to create a brand that you're proud to shout about. You might want to read about The Fresh Leaf Brand Studio, my new fast and affordable collaborative approach to brand identity design.
4. Sort your website
Along the same theme as branding, but investing time in developing your website in a platform such as Wix, Squarespace or (if you're an online shop) Shopify is a brilliant use time to ensure you come out of lockdown stronger than you went in. If this has been on your list for ages and you think now might be the time, I'd love to hear from you as I'm conducting some research for a new service that may help you and I'd love to pick your brains! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Build your subscriber list
Once you have your website up and running, creating a subscriber list is a no brainer. It's an easy thing to implement and will help you market your services more effectively in the future.
6. Create content
Once you've got a handle on your brand look and feel and what you should be posting you can go ahead and create content - lots of it. If you're happy to tinker, you can head to Canva to try out your graphics skills or to Unsplash to source some photography that's befitting of your brand. Or, if you want something more personal and tailored to your brand, then drop me a line - I can help create bespoke flat lay photography and social media graphics so you never need to be stuck for content.
7. Have a product shoot
If particular, if you're a card designer, jewellery or small gift brand then I'm still shooting! Just because we can’t shoot in person, it doesn’t mean your amazing work shouldn’t be seen. For card designers in particular, we can collaborate on pinterest and I can photograph blank cards or your own designs - or a combination of the two so that you can superimpose your new designs whenever you wish.
8. Create a media kit
A media kit is a summary of what you do and for who, and includes details of how people can work with you and your prices. It's stage 1 in the filtering process to rule out people who aren't your 'dream clients' or who don't have the budget to work with you so it saves hours of email tennis. If you'd like help creating a media kit of your own, then complete my contact form and I'll send you my media kit, ha ha!
9. Write blog posts
Oh yes. If you've got sorted with a website then create some useful content for your visitors. This is great for SEO (search engine optimisation) and any time you can commit to crafting blog posts now will pay dividends in the future. You can even start by just brainstorming ideas for things you want to write about! Small action is better than no action.
As well as writing for your own blog, it's also a great time to do some research and identify 3rd party blogs that you'd like to write a guest article for - Then reach out to them! This ticks lots of boxes in terms of extending your reach, providing content to share on social, enhancing your SEO and raising your profile as an expert in your field.
10.Apply for a grant for funding from your council
Did you know that you could be eligible for a grant to help towards the cost of promotion or marketing activity when you’re setting up business? And did you know that this includes the design and build of a website if you want to hire someone (like me) to build if for you…? Yes indeed! I'll be writing another blog post on this soon.
11. Plan your marketing / photography strategy for the year
Many of my clients are using this time to plan their next shoot so that when we get the green light to come out of lockdown we can be as efficient with our time as possible. We don't know how long that green-light period will last so I'm trying to be savvy with my time now so can focus on shooting once restrictions are lifted.
12. Explore collaborations
Collaborations are such a super way of growing your business. Spend some time brainstorming and researching who you might have synergy with and reach out to them. You might want to spend some time engaging with them on instagram first so you're assured you're on the same page. I have a natural synergy with copywriters, social media and marketing managers and event planners so they'd be great for my own collaborations.
13. New service offerings
If you're lucky enough to be in the position where you've got your branding, website and social working like a dream and all of your content and photography planned out, then now is a great time to consider new service offerings or ideas for how you can pivot. I myself am launching a new remote branding offer called Fresh Leaf Brand Studio and will be introducing Photography Mini-sessions (spoiler alert...!) when we're able to shoot again. I'm also tinkering with the idea of working on an online programme for people who'd like some support and guidance whilst creating their own website. It's a perfect time for a brainstorm!
So writing this post is my one piece of daily action on my business. What will yours be..?