How I’ve Worked On My Business During Quarantine

My Quarantine To-Do List

Hello self-employed friend! If you’re anything like me, you’re finding yourself on an unwanted, unpaid vacation and feeling anxious. I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster, happily sipping gin and tonic on my patio one minute and letting feelings of helplessness creep in the next. I’ll admit that working on my business during this time has been incredibly hard for me and I’ve been dragging my feet to accomplish even the simplest of tasks. But, looking back at the last few weeks, I’ve been able to get a whole lot of things checked off my to-do list (even if they’ve taken me much longer than usual) and that sense of pride and accomplishment has got me feelin’ gooooooood (cue in Nina Simone).

If you’re struggling to brainstorm ways to improve your business during this uneasy time, here are some items to add to your quarantine to-do list:

Review your contracts.

I’m starting with the most important item on the to-do list: contract review. With COVID-19’s impact on the wedding industry especially, more and more people are turning to their contracts to see how to move forward. Are retainers refundable? What further payments do couples still owe when they’ve canceled their date? Can your clients reschedule their wedding date without forfeiting any payments they’ve already made to you? If you don’t have explicit language in your contracts what answer these questions, it’s time to review.

If you’re feeling lost on where to even begin, I highly recommend checking out TheLegalPaige.com. She’s a fantastic source of information (she’s a lawyer AND wedding photographer), offers contracts and templates for nearly every aspect of your business, and she has been working constantly to provide up-to-date Corona Virus resources.

Work on your print collateral.

What physical items do you use to represent your business? In my business, I use business cards, price sheets, wedding guides, post cards/flyers, thank you cards, and stationery. Now is a great time to take inventory of what types of print collateral you have and determine if they are helping build your brand identity. Are the colors, fonts, and overall look consistent? Did you update your logo on your website but are still handing out business cards with the old logo?

It may be time to refresh and make sure your branding is consistent and easily identifiable both online and in print. If you are in need of templates to help you get started, I’ve created several to choose from here in my branding shop. I also highly recommend using Moo.com for your print collateral. You want a shop that is high quality and offers a variety of options for the modern business, and Moo.com is fantastic.

Re-motivate yourself with some great reading.

Sometimes you just need to take a step back and allow for some good quality reading time. When I’m feeling stuck in a rut, reading helps restore a much better mindset. I actually just compiled a list of my top favorite books to read when you need motivation on the last blog post, so be sure to check these out!

Make a list of people that inspire you in your industry and make a plan to connect with them.

I love learning and am always trying to improve. I strive to surround myself with people who inspire me and motivate me to be a better _______ (friend, business owner, daughter, spouse, etc. you fill in the blank). When you’re self employed, it’s important to find a network of people who you trust to bounce ideas off of, ask questions, and share knowledge with. If you haven’t built that network yet, now is the perfect time to get working on it. Picking someone’s brain who’s done something you want to do is literally the best way to absorb knowledge without spending years trying to figure it out on your own. Put yourself out there, ask insightful questions, and see if just maybe you have something to offer that person too.

Work on drafting a pipeline of blog posts.

Here’s the truth: when I’m in my busy season (or even just remotely busy at all), I’d honestly rather go kick rocks than have to write creatively. But, I really enjoy sharing information and helping others through the process, so I know I want to get those blog posts written somehow!

Whenever I am gifted with some downtime, I work on drafting my posts. I usually have a handful of working drafts in the pipeline, so when I do sit down to write, I already have a few good ideas ready to be finalized which is wayyyy easier than starting from scratch. We’ve got a few more weeks of QuaranTIME (ha, get it?) so start drafting some working topics and get your blog off the ground!

Assess the where the profit and pain points come from in your business.

Apply the 80/20 rule and determine which clients/types of work bring in the majority of your income and which cause the majority of problems/unhappiness/difficulty. I use excel pivot tables, charts, and graphs along with reports pulled from QuickBooks to help me assess the breakdown of my business and apply the 80/20 rule. Take this information and see where you can reduce efforts on things that don’t yield profit/happiness and apply that energy to areas of your business that do bring better success.

 

What items are on your to-do list? What ways are you planning to use this self-quarantine period to better your business?

 

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