With the rapid spread of COVID-19—the deadly and contagious coronavirus that initiated in Wuhan, China late last year—we are in unchartered territories. Some businesses are being asked to restrict their hours and services. Others are being forced to shut down completely.
Even solopreneurs who typically work from home, like I do as a freelance writer, are feeling the effects. Though I am able to continue offering my services, many of my clients aren’t able to work. Ultimately, this impacts my income.
Though the federal government is taking actions to reduce the financial impact on business owners (and Americans as a whole), it’s still unclear what type of relief will be provided or how long it will take to get help.
So, what are some things we can do as solopreneurs to better survive the coronavirus epidemic? Here are few to consider.
Look After Your Health
This is first and foremost because, if you don’t stay healthy, you won’t be able to work. While the coronavirus is thought to be spread more easily than other viruses, there are still things you can do to help reduce the likelihood that you’ll get it.
The World Health Organization shares that you can better protect yourself by:
- Washing your hands often, either with soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Keeping your hands away from your mouth, nose, and eyes.
- Staying at least three feet from anyone coughing and sneezing (though the CDC recommends that this distance be six feet).
- Staying home if you don’t feel well.
- Seeking medical care if you develop a fever, cough, or have trouble breathing.
It also helps to eat foods high in vitamins in minerals, exercise regularly, and get enough rest. These actions improve your health in general, which can also help boost your immune system.
Do as Much Work as You Can From Home
If you offer online services and your clients do the same, you may be able to work from home uninterrupted. Conversely, if you offer some type of services that typically means going out and working in other people’s homes—such as plumbing or electrical—limiting your exposure to the coronavirus may mean not being able to work as you normally do.
That said, there may be some things you can do from home during this time of social distancing and self-isolation. For instance, take this down time to update your website, post on your blog, or simply catch up on your paperwork. You can also use the time to work on your marketing by creating a new email campaign or social media ad.
Be Creative with Your Services
Even if you typically work outside your home, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still offer some services until the coronavirus risk is lowered. You may just have to be a little creative to come up with things you can do for your customers and clients that don’t put you and them at risk.
For example, if you typically go to customers’ homes to fix their computers, what about offering to pick their computer up off their front porch and take it back to your home to fix? This way you don’t have to have face-to-face contact or risk going into a home that has not been properly cleaned or disinfected. And you can disinfect the computer before you even begin to work on it.
Or maybe you are a business coach who normally meets with your clients in person. In this case, why not do video conferencing instead? This way, you can help them continue to overcome their professional challenges, such as how to keep their business going despite COVID-19.
Keep Your Clients in the Loop
One thing we can learn from bigger businesses is the importance of keeping clients in the loop. I’ve already received about a dozen emails from companies I typically do business with—such as my bank and local restaurants—all telling me what they are doing in response to the coronavirus.
This inspired me to do the same with my clients, so today I sent an email sharing that I was socially isolating myself with the goal of staying healthy. As a result, I was available for any writing and editing they may need, and advising that I would let them know if anything changes.
Within five minutes, I received a response from one client with some work he wanted me to do. About ten minutes after that, I got an email from another client thanking me for letting him know and saying that he was going to sit down and make a list of the things he needed from me in the days ahead.
Letting your clients know what you’re doing during this time of chaos helps remind them that you’re there if they need you. This gives them some certainty in an uncertain world.
It also gives you the opportunity to strengthen your bond with them, like I did in my emails by opening with, “I hope you are healthy and well!” This shows that they are more than just a client to you. Instead, they are someone you care enough about to check in on and wish them well.