Though the coronavirus stimulus package provides monies for small businesses, there is still some confusion about how much help you can receive as a solopreneur, independent contractor, or freelancer. This can make running your one-person business even more stressful because you aren’t quite sure what resources are available.
While I certainly don’t have any answers as to what type of monies we’re entitled to—or how to go about getting them—under this package, I can give you some help by way of providing a few resources available to you at no cost. Here are five to consider.
If You Receive Payments Via PayPal…
A week or two ago, I received a payment via PayPal from one of my clients. Typically, when transferring the monies to my account, I choose the standard transfer, which takes 1-3 days. However, before clicking on this option, PayPal notified me that it was suspending the fee to do a same-day transfer.
The reason provided by the company was that it wanted to give business people immediate access to their money during the Coronavirus pandemic, which I thought was a nice perk. You do still have to pay the normal fee of 2.9 percent plus $0.30 per transaction, but at least your money is available immediately versus having to wait for it.
If You’d Like Some Business Advice…
Umbrex, a global networking community of 650 top tier independent management consultants from 30 different countries, has created a Pandemic Task Force. This task force—which currently has more than 200 volunteers worldwide—offers free advice to small business owners who are struggling due to the Coronavirus.
Subjects they’re willing to talk about include finances, communication, cash flow, loans and grants, and more. “We are also offering tips on how to protect data as well as physical assets, communicate with customers, and work from home effectively where feasible,” says Will Bachman, co-founder and managing partner of Umbrex.
They also offer a Pandemic Playbook if you want an idea of how to operate in this unprecedented time. This offers a step-by-step process for dealing with the pandemic, complete with a small business checklist.
If You’re in Need of a Video Conferencing Platform…
In “normal” times, video conferencing is a great way to keep in touch with your clients. With social distancing orders in place all around the country, it is likely the only way to have one-on-one contact to learn more about what your client wants or the parameters of the project. The problem is that many of these platforms cost money, which can be in short supply if your income has been reduced with the stay-at-home directive.
Intermedia has responded by offering free video conferencing via its AnyMeeting platform. This enables you to meet with up to 12 different people at a time, which is helpful if you’re working on a project with other businesses. It also provides screen sharing, the ability to record, and more.
If You Need a Better Way to Respond to Clients…
When you’re on your own, it can be difficult to keep up with all of your client questions, especially if they come in at the same time. Understandably, these people want to know what they can expect from you during the pandemic, but the more time you spend fielding these calls, the less time you actually have to work and make some cash. Enter Numa.
Numa is an online platform that, for a limited time, is offering free answering services to businesses impacted by COVID-19. The way it works is that Numa answers your calls, to which you are able to set up a pre-determined auto reply. This helps you answer some of their most common questions—like changes in hours or services—without having to stop what you’re doing and take the call.
In cases where your clients need more help or have a question not on your list, you are notified to respond either via phone or text. This enables you to keep your clients in the loop in a way that is convenient for you both.
If You Need an Alternative to Collecting Signature in Person…
If you’re a solopreneur who typically meets with new clients in person so they can sign your contract for services, the new social distancing guidelines prohibits this process. Fortunately, PandaDoc offers a workaround by providing online signing via Free eSign.
Free eSign is an online platform that allows you unlimited document uploads and unlimited eSignatures. It also enables payment processing if monies are due upon signing. Credit card, PayPal and ACH payments are all accepted.
These are just a few of the companies offering solopreneurs a life raft of sorts until we’re able to return to some semblance of a “business as usual” routine. Several others exist as well, so if there’s another task you need help with, just look around. You may be able to find exactly what you’re looking for at no extra cost, giving you the help you need to survive this pandemic with your business still intact.