Once again I’m thrilled to see the WordPress community rally in a difficult time. From the moment Shelter-In-Place orders went out and business began to shift, community members have rushed to provide resources that we can all use to keep the income flowing and meet our clients or customers needs.
No matter how COVID-19 is impacting your business right now, below are a variety of resources that you can consider to keep business going and maybe even come out ahead.
Where Business Is Now
Let’s start with a couple of resources that take a look at how businesses are being affected.
Christopher Carfi, vice president of content and marketing at Duda, wrote a comprehensive piece: Coronavirus Impact on Small Business and Agencies. In it he discusses five major areas that could impact many of us:
- What we are seeing now for agencies and the small businesses they serve
- What happened to small businesses the last time the global markets corrected this quickly
- Steps agencies and small businesses can take to mitigate coronavirus impact
- Particular actions agencies can take for and with their small business customers
- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED additional resources for thinking about the coronavirus impact on small businesses
A nice companion to Christopher’s article are these thoughts from Alastair McDermott, of MarketingForConsultants.com. He opens Practical Business Ideas During Market Uncertainty with,
“I’m taking a few minutes here to share some thoughts on dealing with the business impact of this ongoing situation. I think a lot of people have been in firefighting mode, dealing with issues in front of them, not having a second to think about the bigger picture – if that’s you, then you might find this useful.”
which he follows with practical steps you can take, ideas on helping your clients, thoughts on minimizing the impact on your business, and the reminder that this will eventually pass.
A personal favorite element of the article is the graph that helps adjust our perspective on urgent, not urgent, important, and not important; a graph he also included in his excellent TL;DR version on LinkedIn.
Expanding Your Client Base By Helping Local Businesses
Moving away from digital business, Matt Mederios, host of Mattreport.com, etc., on Episode 125 of Hallway Chats dives into a practical look at bridging the gap when reaching out to brick-and-mortar businesses. He suggests — among many useful things — that now may be the time to approach local nonprofits and businesses with a friendly and empathetic, but decisive message.
“‘Look, here’s how I’m going to help you. There’s no going outside of this box. As long as you agree to this, this will work for you.’”
which he follows with the thought,
“Maybe you don’t even want to make money. ‘Just here, take it. Take the website. I’ll put it on your own hosting. Here you go. That’s part of the arrangement.’”
Does that automatically help your current bottom line? No. But it can build a relationship of goodwill that often leads to work down the road.
Resources to Aid Your Current Business
Sometimes an added tool or shifted perspective can be what we need to pull in more revenue. If so, the team at Post Status is here to help! Sign up now for Post Status Live: Client Work, a free, public webinar, on April 10, beginning at 12:00 pm EDT. Join them for a half day dive into effective agency management and client work.
Additionally, the Post Status team has compiled a list of Discounted Tools for WordPress Professionals. If there’s a tool or service you’ve been thinking about trying, now might be just the time.
Join him and a small group of WordPress e-commerce professionals who are excited to answer your live questions and provide WordPress-related tips and tricks.
Staying on the topic of e-commerce, Beatriz Estay, small business content marketing specialist at BigCommerce, posted Small, But Mighty: Resources For Navigating Online Commerce In a World of Uncertainty where she lays out discounts, credit relief options, and discounts for small business, as well as much, much more.
Looking for more help? Founder, coach, and podcast host, Jason Resnick wrote an excellent article, 9 Things You Can Do If Clients Aren’t Buying, that offers up a variety of ways to improve your marketing, increase your business’s performance, and embrace new opportunities while business is in chaos.
And if you’ve ever considered creating courses or videos to generate alternative, passive income, streamline your business processes, or automate your marketing, check out this article I wrote for LifterLMS: Leverage a Learning Management System to Help Your B2B Software Company Thrive in Challenging Times. Obviously — as the title states — it’s geared toward software companies, but the ideas are universally applicable.
If You Need Income Now
While building for the future is great, we still need to keep the lights on today, and to do so you may be looking for some immediate revenue streams.
One resource Topher DeRosia, developer advocate at BigCommerce and curator for HeroPress.com, brought to my attention is Forwardr. Forwardr is a website where people who have more work than they can handle make it available to those who are looking.
Another option is to look at the internet-based companies that are hiring, and there are many with immediate needs. While shifting away from your current freelance work may not be ideal, unusual times call for outside-of-the-box thinking. Be open to finding work from a different source, and who knows what relationships might be built — or knowledge gained — that could make a huge difference when you’re able to get back to business as usual.
Interested in pursuing the employment path? Michelle Frechette, professional WordPress volunteer and head of customer success at Impress.org, has put together WordPress Career & Job Pages, a one-stop shop for online job hunting.
If you still need income and none of these are a fit, consider looking outside of WordPress at the in-person jobs available in your area. Support yourself or your dependants through whatever avenues are available; the internet will still be there when you can come back to it.
Making the Best of a New Remote Working Situation
No article about the current state of business would be complete without discussing the impact of remote working. A change in routine or location can be a HUGE upheaval to business as usual.
It’s easy to assume that this won’t impact the WordPress community because so many of us currently work from home. However, many internet and WordPress-based companies have offices and employees who are used to going in everyday, and for many that routine and human interaction is vital to their productivity and success.
Even IF you normally work from home, the new Shelter-In-Place advisories could mean that you’re surrounded by people who aren’t normally there, people who are likely disrupting your normal routine and focus.
Not only is there an impact having more people around, there can also be consequences to having FEWER people. The isolation and change in routine can be just as draining and disruptive to someone feeling trapped in their home. Add to that distracted coworkers, lack of access to normal resources, or simply a change in workflow, and the potential for frustration to compound with the fear we’re all surrounded by can be devastating.
Regardless of your situation, the current restrictions are at best uncomfortable and potentially overwhelming.
Thankfully, our friends at The Repository newsletter highlighted a new resource from the WordPress mental health initiative, WP&UP. COVID-19 And The New Remote Work Community is written for both employers and employees and contains a variety of ways to manage this scenario from both sides. Among them, the value of quality communication, creating structure, and empowering teams by providing them with the right tools.
To support their great advice, Gary Jones shared Resources for the Newly Remote, practical tips from WordPress VIP. Take a look at the advice one successful remote team is sharing about thriving while working from home. And for those looking for a new opportunity to be social, Alex Denning, owner of Ellipsis Marketing, laid out the idea of a Remote Co-working Day.
Online Conferences to Grow From
Speaking of new opportunities to grow your business and be social, more events are being created exclusively for or moving online. Last weekend, WordCamp San Antonio moved their entire camp online. Look for more WordCamps — like WordCamp Kent, May 30-31 — that may choose the same.
Now could also be a good time to try out other events without the cost of travel, or at times even the cost of admission. Midwest PHP 2020 and Remote Control Summit are both happening this weekend: Midwest PHP is April 3-4, while Remote Control Summit is April 4-5. Take advantage of this chance to spend time as part of a group and move your business forward.
Staying on Top of Your Finances
Stretching dollars and understanding your money is vital now more than ever, and the community has offered up some help with that, too.
Tom Fanelli, founder of Convesio, shared his recent conversation with Nev Harris, finance specialist at NevHarris.com and WordPress agency owner. In Making Sense of Your Agencies Finances During Challenging Times, Harris presents historical data reassuring us that what we’re seeing in the stock market is to be expected and how our current crisis is different from what we saw in 2008. Take a minute to hear what he has to say.
Building on that, Nathan Ingram, creator of MonsterContracts.com – Proven Contracts for WordPress Client Work, posted his conversation with his personal accountant regarding the new COVID-19 relief loans. COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan – Information for WordPress Business Owners & Freelancers contains his actual conversation with his accountant as well as what information you’ll need to apply for your business’s loan. While he makes the process simple and painless, make sure to check with your accountant as well.
Last, but certainly never least, also look to the U.S. Small Business Administration for additional tips, tools, and resources. If you sell something, you’re a small business and they’re here to help.
Turning To Community
The above is chock full of links to a variety of people you may or may not have heard of, most of whom have dedicated their free time to help us all out. People are currently, actively lending a hand.
It is an ideal time to find POSITIVE social media groups to join, whether it’s on Slack, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Lots of people are posting what they’re good at and offering their experience.
Use it. Ask them your questions. Contribute. Offer your own expertise. Whatever it is, now’s your chance to help others AND help yourself.
Together we can get through this. Our unique experiences make us stronger and more capable to tackle whatever’s ahead. Join these people and many others in sharing resources and creating an environment where we can all thrive.