This is an unprecedented time for all of us.
You’ve been wearing the business owner pants (or hat) for so long, handling every aspect of your workflow, racing with time to meet deadlines, finish projects, make clients happy, pay rent, do taxes and poof – in a matter of days, the reality we all know transforms into what seems like a poorly directed movie. Of course, it’s scary to step into this bubble of uncertainty that you have no control over. Yet, every challenge is also an opportunity to learn and grow. You finally have the time to slow down, reevaluate everything and make changes that will help you and your business come out stronger and more focused.
We’ve gathered a list of ideas, tips and resources to help your business survive and adapt during this quarantine season. It covers everything from how to adapt your contracts, handle your finances, work on your website, to learning resources, figuring out additional income streams, relaxing and unwinding, even if it seems quite impossible. We hope that this guide will give you more confidence until you walk out of this. Know that we have your back and are rooting for you. You’ve got this!
P.S. Here’s also a post you can share via your social media, to let your clients know how they can support you during this crisis time.
Client Relations & Communication + Community
- Reach out to your clients to check in on them. They’re probably as worried and lost as you are, with all the uncertainty caused by the virus and quarantine. Offer them some alternatives for rescheduling their date (always better than a cancelation), answer any questions they may have and try to find a compromise that works for both of you. Be kind, offer guidance, this is a force majeure type of situation, consider waving your rescheduling fee as this shows care and support. Honeybook and Brides offer some great tips and examples for photographers on how to handle Covid-19 client communication.
You can also consider creating an FAQ page or article for your clients, which answers some of the most important questions they may have at this time. Here are a few examples created by photographers from our community: Heather Parker, Barbara Rahal.
- Get active on social media. Check in on your followers (your prospects, clients and friends), ask them how are they doing and feeling during this period, find out what type of content they’d like to see from you, how you can help them – maybe a live or Q&A type of session would bring some clarity and value to them, maybe they’d love to see some fun BTS videos in your stories, etc. We all get so much exposure to news, overwhelming statistics, false media… that we almost crave for some inspiration, a beautiful photo project, a book recommendation or quick tutorial on literally anything – just to take our mind of Coronavirus. So talk to your audience, find out what type of content they’d love to see from you these weeks – and share that. It’s also a great way to start wonderful conversations with your fans, connect with them on a more personal level, maybe even start discussing a booking for next year.
- Share your knowledge. This is the time to help, show compassion and humility for your clients and community. Serve them in ways you can, it will all come back, promise! Conferences and workshops were canceled or postponed, yet you have all your notes and speech prepared, with valuable tips and insights on a certain topic – share some of it via an article, Instagram or Facebook live, maybe a Youtube or Patreon video. Offer a free or discounted mentoring session, or a business consultation call.
We rise by lifting others, and so many people right now need that extra hand of help.
- Help others. It can be your friends, your neighbours or local small businesses that you’re a loyal customer of. Ask them how you can support them, and help them survive this down time. Sometimes this can be as basic as doing groceries or pharmacy rounds for them, or making a deposit for a service/product they’ll provide you with in the future, once life goes back to normal. Also, share any links and resources with them about local government aid programs, that they could resort to for help.
We love this beautiful post by Joshua Fernandez, where he offers help to any small business in need of product photos. It’s all about the perspective you have on this whole crisis situation. Yes, his business is also struggling, yet he’s willing to do them for free – they get professional content, while Joshua can refine his product photography skills and enrich his portfolio with fresh imagery. It’s an act of kindness, that can be mutually beneficial (if you’re open to see it that way).
- Spread digital acts of kindness. Promote other small businesses, if you can. If you have many followers, ask who needs a boost of exposure and share their profiles via your stories (i.e. like Yossi Fisher did)
Legal, Contracts, Finances
- Protect your business from a legal standpoint. Revise your contracts, especially the cancellation and rescheduling policies. Also make sure to have a Force Majeure clause in your contract, along with a clause on Safe Working Environment and Failure to Perform Service. Honeybook, Christina Scalera and the LawTog team have all shared amazing resources and tips on how to tackle these contract sections. Check them out.
- Review your financial position and savings. Figure out what are your average monthly expenses and how many projects/clients you need to have per month, to cover those costs. Answering these questions can put you into perspective and help you avoid unnecessary purchases.
- Reevaluate the subscriptions and tools you no longer need or use, yet keep paying for. Here’s a great list shared by Donna Irene Coelho inside the Lookslikefilm Learn group. Also, try to find providers that offer discounts or free memberships during this time of crisis. here are a few more great ideas on how to cut back on expenses.
- Get creative and find a side hustle or a new revenue stream. These could be:
a. Monetize on what you’re already good at – designing logos, building a website with a certain platform (like Flothemes and FlexBlock), create branding illustrations, create a bunch of presets for others, offer photo editing services, help someone with blogging or SEO. There are so many things you can offer remotely and get extra cash for it. All you need to do is let people know what you’re good at and what you can help them with. Spread the word about your offering via social media and your favorite Facebook groups.
b. Sign up as an affiliate with brands that you use and enjoy. Create content about them (helpful and comprehensive review articles), use your referral links, put some thought into SEO so the article shows up in search results, then start spreading the word and helping the post get traction. While this strategy won’t bring you instant results, it can be an easy and sweet source of passive income over time.
- Develop a new product or service for your business. Surely enough you’ve been thinking of adding extra products or services to your main client offerings (prints, albums, other add-ons), yet never had the time to actually sit down and do it. Well, now’s your chance to do the research, connect with the relevant vendors, craft up some charming description and design to present this new product or service. Think ahead about a strategy to present, promote and sell it.
While this crisis situation can be overwhelming and scary, it’s a good awakening call in terms of reevaluating everything. A strong business needs a solid foundation, that’s the only way it can survive in the long run. We loved how Pixellu tackled this topic in their live video here with KT Merry and Jamie Findlay (this topic starts at minute 50).
Work on your website
- Chances are, you’ve been avoiding your portfolio. However, it is so so important! You finally have the time to blog all those client galleries that have been piling up on your to do list. Get creative with titles, descriptions and layouts. Tools like Narrative and BlogStomp can help you with that.
- Review your website’s copy, does it speak to your ideal clients? Does it show the value you can bring to them? Would you hire yourself if you’d be in their shoes? Check out this article for more guidance and keep your SEO in mind to bring the right audience on your site.
- Revise and declutter. Go through your older blog posts, see which content can be recycled or upgraded to better serve your audience. Check old pages, files and images, get rid of everything that is outdated (make sure to set redirects), optimize the things that slow your website down.
- Beef up your pricing page, client experience section, testimonials and packages. Use this downtime to prepare for the time when things get busy again. Figure out if you’ll be willing to work on Sundays or Thursdays for clients who had to cancel or postpone their events.
- You finally have time to dive into SEO. Here is a quick guide to help you get the basics right. You can also check out these amazing Facebook communities: Fuel Your Photos, The SEO for Photographers group for more details. They actually just announced the launch of a FREE seven days SEO challenge.
- Learn how to integrate useful tools into your site, like a customer chat or your newsletter provider. This article covers how to install the Messenger Chat into your WordPress website, while this article explains how to integrate Flodesk into your Flothemes site.
- Elevate your brand and website look through fonts, especially if you don’t have set-in-stone brand guidelines. Here are some cool font combinations you can try out. Watch how they transform your online presentation.
- Review your website performance, check which pages work better, which have a higher bounce rate, which ones need to be improved and pushed further. Google Analytics can give you some great insights on that – if you don’t have it installed, we highly recommend you to do so.
- This is also a good time to look at your email list. If you have one, make a quick audit, identify what improvements you can make to the wording. Explore the automations and workflow options, these will be helpful once things get busy again. Think of ways you can serve and offer value to your subscribers, before messaging them with any special offers and limited discounts on your services/products. If you don’t have a mailing list – maybe it’s a good time to learn how to start one. You can look into providers such as Flodesk, Mailchimp, etc.
p.s. If you’re in desperate need of a new website design, all our themes are $90 off at the moment, with the code: FloFriend. Choose your favorite design here.
Keep up the good spirits and have some fun
- Be mindful about your social media intake. We know you want to keep up with the news and with everything that is happening out there, but putting your phone away even for a few hours a day will do wonders to your sanity and overall mood.
- Clean and declutter your physical and virtual spaces. Your house, your closet, your book shelves, your cabinet, your iCloud, phone, computer, your Instagram account, or email subscriptions that you never bother to open. While doing this, put aside clothes, books and items you are willing to give away or sell online.
- Stay healthy and keep that body moving – practice some sports, be that yoga, a full workout at home, stretching, meditation, or any other exercises that you’re into. #Stayathome doesn’t equal #becomeacouchpotato. Everybody is online right now, so make sure to check your local gym or famous IG accounts for free online yoga and workout sessions, like Mindbodygreen, Kayla Itsines or Hannah Siddiqui for meditation practices. Also, don’t forget to eat healthy.
- Listen to podcasts. Unless you are engaged in a demanding activity, podcasts are easy to listen to, basically anytime. And they are free! Check out this cool list of Top 30 Podcasts to listen to in 2020.
- Watch and rewatch those TV Shows, baby. Nothing wrong with that. We know, staying at home can feel pretty unproductive, but you must focus on those moments that bring you joy and fun, so if a day of Netflix brings you joy – so be it. Here is a list of 46 of the best TV Shows to binge-watch on Netflix right now.
- Deepen relationships. First with yourself – we know this is a hard one, but it is essential. Write a journal, share how you are feeling during these uncertain times, get to know yourself, look in the mirror. Really – look in the mirror, notice how good looking you are. We bet you never really took the time to do it before – now you have it. Then with your partner, kids and loved ones. Listen more, really listen, notice the great things you ignored before because of the hectic routine. Call, or better FaceTime your friends and family – parents, grandparents, friends and tackle topics different than Coronavirus. Ask them how they are, what great book you’ve recently read and make plans for the future.
- Create a personal vision board for a bright, beautiful future. We know all your spring plans have been cancelled, but this will come back to normal. Envision a better YOU and work towards your goals, even if from the comfort of your couch.
- Never stop learning. Enroll into a course, be that business, marketing, SEO, cooking, dancing, painting, anything that brings you joy and sparks your passion. Here are some of our favorite educational resources offered by and for photographers:
Brandi Potter Education
India Earl courses
Caroline Tran’s course on building a memorable brand
Books & Podcast recommendations by Katch Silva
Idea Consulting blog
450 Ivy League Free online courses
Pict-Time also compiled an amazing list of FREE educational resources (courses, articles, podcasts, community groups) for you to check out and learn from.
And lastly, Youtube has a lot of tutorials. Some of our favorites are John Branch on running a creative business, editing and photography gear, Benj Haisch, Twyla Jones, Marie Forleo, HubSpot and Moz. Don’t forget about Ted Talks.
- Work on personal projects, experiment with your craft or editing, join a group of photographers for a creative art challenge, like this one proposed by Jennifer Moher in the Mentor Me community.
“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply.
Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal. And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.” ~Kitty O’Meara
Right now our health, our family’s safety and our sanity is imperative. It’s scary, but this too, shall pass. You are not alone in this and we have your back every step of the way. Stay safe, healthy and inspired, dears.