You don’t need a reminder of what’s going on outside. Some people are on quests to find toilet paper (ya‘ll, what gives?), others are hoarding hand sanitizer, and a few are in full denial that anything’s wrong.
During global catastrophes, cataclysmic events, and pandemics... creatives, makers, and other small businesses tend to take a beating. This kind of thing can force us to stop dead in our tracks, and feel cornered, as if we don’t have any options.
It's not hard to find reasons to stay home. Here are just a few ways us creatives can stay the course!
But as creatives, social distancing gives us the opportunity to begin a two-way conversation with the rest of the world.
Practical application tips creative entrepreneurs can do during quarantine + social isolation:
1. Never stop serving. NOW is the time to continue creating content that serves your audience, whether you post/share it in real time, or queue it up for when things get busy again. Now, more than ever, people are consuming information and content at scale.
Everyone is looking to be entertained, informed, and most of all, inspired to keep going. Which means, you have an opportunity my friend! As creatives who often create our works of art from the comfort of our own homes, in isolation, we now have the opportunity to show others how to thrive in isolation like we do. We have the chance to teach about our craft, share inspiring messages, cheer each other on, and bring joy, hope, and light forward towards an unknown outcome.
2. Watch your language. Our words are powerful! Rather than saying you're 'anxious,' or 'terrified,' let's take control of our feelings by assigning new words like 'uncertainty,' 'unsure,' and 'hopeful'. There's power in the tongue!
3. Create before you consume. This is a rule I've always held, that keeps me creating unique and new things, whether it's custom pieces or blog content for my sewing business. By consuming first, you clutter your mind and rid yourself of your own originality. Create first, then consume.
4. Now is the time to innovate. Rather than solely sitting on product to sell, find pieces of your business process that you could give out or sell too. Whether it's your email templates, how you set up your online storefront, selling products online, gift cards for when coronavirus clears, etc. There are things you do in your business that are unique to you - what would it look like if other people wanted to re-engineer the success you've had, and were willing to pay you for that process?
5. Use this downtime to create more product! No distractions - no shop to be at by 9am... shut off the news, log out of your social media accounts so that you won't be tempted.. it's time to work in peace.
6. Go live on Facebook, Instagram, Zoom, etc. and demonstrate an element of how you do what you do. If it's jewelry making, go live and include a link to your PayPal or Venmo, so that people can donate if they'd like in return for you teaching them a technique!
IF YOU READ THIS FAR, I JUST LOVE YOU. AND FRIEND - I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT YOU CREATE THROUGH ALL OF THIS.
as creatives, we have a choice in how we respond to it.
It's a crazy
world out there
I firmly believe that creatives serve the world best in times like these because what we create can bring peace for those who can't find it otherwise.
After the Nashville tornados, so many volunteers rushed in with their chainsaws and go-getter attitudes to clear paths and storm the trenches. Equally needed, the softer types came in later on to help people sort through memories and box up what remained. I'm certain that neither of these personality types were interchangeable with one another... it took all kinds of kinds to begin restoring the neighborhood.
I'd like to think that in situations that halt 'normal', the creatives have a specific responsibility. Rather than spinning, I see three big things we should be focusing on, both to stabilize our craft and add a little stability out there:
1. Perspective... Have it. Did you wake up today? If you are alive today then you’re already starting out with the odds in your favor that today still has the opportunity to be great if you let it. Let’s be grateful that we and the people we love are safe and healthy.
I realize this can sound silly when there’s a pandemic outside, but let’s all break off a little piece of perspective in the middle of our hand washing and staying home, and remember that we’re already doing our part, which means we’re doing the best we can.
If you sell products, make sure you‘re giving customers ways to shop online and get that dopamine hit from the safety of their own home. People are going crazy in isolation... give them something to look forward to!
2. Patience... Respect and expect that this won’t all blow over tomorrow. Extend patience to EVERYONE, whether it’s the guy who cut you off just trying to get groceries, the news articles saying were on the brink of collapse, and your business, which can no longer be held to the Q2 expectations you had before.
Having patience means giving grace - to yourself, your finances, and your business ideas. Extending patience makes us flexy, and being flexible is what will make us resilient.
Safety & health > everything. Isolation is hard on humans, and while most of us creatives are used to working alone, many are NOT - I believe this is the cause of some of the nuttiness we’re seeing. If you’re used to working alone, how about sharing your best tips to combat the loneliness and work from home? Our experiences help us help others.
Ask yourself what good you can accomplish during this downtime that serves your bigger future, and get to work! So much good can be accomplished with just a little un-interrupted focus.
3. Pivot... now is NOT the time to be frozen in your tracks. In the middle of the isolation and social distancing, now is the time to innovate, stretch your mind, and do what you’ve been putting off. Get a game plan together and get after it.
Learn to pivot, not to spin.
If your business is facing a loss due to natural disaster or the pandemic, now is the time to take a breath, and look for new ways to implement your skills, or ways your business can serve other industries. Update your online store product descriptions, offer gift cards, go live on social media and document what you’ve been creating, share your thoughts on how you create or produce.
And finally, with the best attitude possible, brace yourself to take the hit. SO MANY small business relief programs are snapping into place to help you make it through this.