With the call for self-isolation and social distancing sweeping the nation (and the entire world) due to Coronavirus/Covid-19, corporations invoke a work from home policy to ensure business as (un)usual can carry on.
But what about the self-employed, entrepreneurial communities?
From Coaches to Personal Trainers, Gardeners to Builders – the working from home concept is not always a viable option.
Let’s be real – Some businesses are ‘hands on’ with the need of physical contact/interaction with others, outside of the home to ‘get the job done’ – now with the ask of social distancing and isolation it has proved that there is a significant impact to such business models.
As part of The Wonder banner Community, Coaching and Consulting – I have explored, researched and produced as many options and ideas as possible for the self-employed squad to adapt their businesses with the aspiration to generate an income as well as build contacts and create new, enhanced offerings.
Repeat after me: It is time to step out of the box. It is time to stop making excuses. It is time to change my mindset. It is time to digitalise my brand.
We are incredibly lucky that technology is so easily accessible which allows individuals to turn brands into online content. Let’s look at the options…
Your occupation is say, a Career Coach, Personal Stylist or Personal Trainer start to think about what services you can transition as an online offerings? What could that look like? How would you make your prices competitive? Can you offer something for free to start to build your network?
Let’s look at some examples:
- A Personal Trainer could look to schedule virtual classes or 1-2-1 PT sessions allowing their clients to still workout from home!
- A Life/Career Coach can easily change their face to face 1-2-1 coaching sessions to a Zoom or Skype call which would reduce cancellations.
- A Personal Stylist could restructure their content to do virtual online shopping experiences. Physical shops might be shut, but online isn’t.
Perhaps you are a retailer that has a physical store or a pop-up shop. Start to think about how you could drive traffic to your website? Do you need to spend more time on creating content? Is it accessible? And most importantly is it user friendly?
And if you don’t have a website, this is your opportunity to create one!
Other avenues to consider are: Creating a clothing subscription model. Start to think about what other additional services you could offer like a wardrobe review which you can do remotely via a Zoom or Skype call. What about creating and offering vouchers for people to use at a later date.
However, what if you are in a job where you need to be outside, “hands-on” and socially interacting with others? Perhaps you don’t have any services to transform or reconstruct into a virtual offering?
This is where changing your mindset is key and is the time for you to apply some flex to your approach and start to adapt your business.
Ok, so you’re a Gardener and your customers have requested that you do not come round as they are self-isolating. Could this now be the time you create how-to videos on planting the perfect bulb to create the perfect garden? Perhaps you wanted to branch out (excuse the pun) to re-brand as a Landscape Gardener, designing, drawing and executing plans. Do you need to up-skill? Are there any courses you could start to educate yourself with? Maybe you can develop a service where potential customers send you photos of their Gardens with measurements and you could send over a few designs then schedule the work virtually by FaceTiming the client when you are onsite?
Perhaps you are a Builder, a Painter and Decorator or perhaps you have job which means you work in yard. Could this be an opportunity to create online content in the form of an online course? Perhaps you have a niche skill that you could train others in?
Maybe, You have the best job in the world (ok, perhaps I’m bias) and you are Dog Walker, Dog Groomer or Dog Socialiser. As more and more people are now working from home, your regular four legged customers are now being walked by their two legged owners. Could this now be the time to modify what you do by creating an online course for new pet owners? Could you write an e-book and sell it on Amazon? Could you do virtual puppy training classes? What about setting up a website, ready to take on new customers once we are back to a level of normality?
Virtual opportunities are there and I hope some of the examples have sparked some ideas on how you could digitalise your business. I don’t want to just leave it there, so I have also provided below your starter tool box, additional tips and law/government resources.
So you want to start creating content for your socials, your website and perhaps enhance your marketing. Take a look at Canva.
Canva is a graphic design platform that allows and enables you to create social media graphics, presentations, posters and other visual content. It is available on web and on mobile as an app, and integrates millions of images, fonts, templates and illustrations.
So you have all your content. Great. But how do you get it out there. Use Hootsuite – to schedule your posts. It is easy to set up and integrates with all the main social media platforms.
You want to explore your creativity and start to write a book! Great, I have found 3 great websites for you to check out which will help get you started:
You want to create an online course. Plan, Record, Publish! Take a look at the 3 sites I found below which will give you an idea on where to begin.
Hints, tips and tricks
- Don’t risk losing your work! Back. it. up! Try using dropbox to keep your work safe! Dropbox is a cloud based filing system for storing docs. Yes, really is as simple as that.
- Plan, plan, plan. Get yourself a pen and paper to mind map your ideas.
- Set yourself a timeline, what is realistic?
- Could you be holding webinars? Perhaps an Insta Live stream. Although you will not make money from this, it will help with establishing your business to a virtual community.
- What about a community virtual workshop?
- Build relationships and build your contact base. Don’t be afraid to slide into someone’s DMs as the old saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained, you really never know if something could come out of a just a conversation.
- Also, focus on your community, reconnect with previous clients – is there something you can offer? – The truth is, people are going to remember what you did, what you said and offered for free during this turmoil!
- Have a think about who could you collaborate with? Who could help you transform your business model?
Government and professional support
Just by googling ‘self-employed benefits covid 19 uk’ I was presented with pages of guidance. Below I have listed out supportive information that is revelant as per date of posting. I recommend checking approved and known sources such as gov.uk and BBC.
Information (updated on 26/03/2020)
Self-employed people will be able to apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month.
You should be getting a letter/contact from your accountant or the HMRC who can help you further.
- Support for those affected by Covid-19
- Covid-19 support for small businesses
- Independent article
- If you can’t work, what can you do?
Thank you to those who responded to my insta story as part of my research for this post. I appreciate that this is a difficult time and some of the ideas are easily achievable for some.
As well as producing this post, I am also offering free 1-2-1 consulting calls where I would like to help small businesses, entrepreneurs and the self-employed explore ways to digitalise your brand or ways to transform your business or even look at creating you a value eco-system to start you on the journey.
Have you found this article useful? Has this inspired you adapt to your business model? Please share on your socials and comment below your thoughts and let me know what actions you are taking.