In the span of a few weeks, the world has been turned upside down—and some of our businesses with it—by the Coronavirus pandemic and the need for social distancing. We’ve already received emails and DMs from friends and clients who are concerned about the future of their livelihood and the industry as a whole. As a small business owner, responsible for a dozen contract workers, employees and partners, I feel it, too.
We don’t have all the answers, but what we do know is that it sometimes helps to do something. In the midst of social distancing and a constant influx of bad news, overwhelm can set in. It’s normal to have worries—for your family, vulnerable neighbors, and the economy just to name a few. It’s understandable that you’re anxious about your hard-earned career as an interior designer. But we don’t have to feel helpless. In times like this, we believe in doing the next right thing.
Take a deep breath, find areas where you can be productive, and do your part in helping others. With that in mind, here are seven things you can do right now for your community, your business, and for other small businesses during social distancing. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but just a few simple actions that will quell your anxiety and give you some purpose.
The best thing we can do for our neighbors and friends right now is stay home. I know that for some people that just is not possible, but if you are able, do your part to flatten the curve by taking a little staycation. Wrap up some overdue home projects, restyle your shelves, bake, or binge a Netflix series. We can do this!
There are likely people in your neighborhood that are more at risk than you. Let’s make sure everyone has the food and supplies they need and someone to call if they become ill.
Assuming you’ve caught up on your emails and inquiries and tended to all the urgent matters, it might be a prime opportunity to take a good look at your business processes. See where you can streamline or improve things to make your days run smoother. As business owners, I know it can sometimes feel like you barely have time to take a breath, let alone dedicate time to making real changes to your routines. Now is the time! Not sure where to get started? Here’s our Designer’s Guide to Processes.
Use your newfound free time to create and schedule content, whether that’s images, blogs, or social media posts (preferably, all three)! Style and restyle corners of your home for extra social media photos, write captions, and create product round-ups. Here are 12 ideas to get the ball rolling.
If you have any professional photos that haven’t been put to use yet, consider using this time to send in some submissions to magazines and online publications. It might be a while before you hear back, but your email will be waiting in their inbox for the appropriate time. More here on getting your design work published.
Just because you can’t go to work doesn’t mean you can’t work. If you don’t currently offer virtual design services, now might be the time to consider taking on some distance design projects (term coined by IDCO client and Design Camp alumni, Julia Miller). If you want to keep busy and make some extra income, offer a few spots for consultation calls or other a la carte services. While spending may slow down temporarily, there are a lot of people still working and earning money. Being stuck at home might give them just the push they need to refresh their space.
Update Your Website
Even with our user-friendly website templates for interior designers, the process of updating your website takes time. While working from home, use this time to give your website a good glow up. You can read more about our website templates here or check out our friend’s at The Haven List templates here.
This is a crucial time for our economy, and circumstances are especially critical for small businesses that rely on in-person sales in brick-and-mortar stores or pop-up events. If you’re financially able, support these businesses! Think of purchases you’ll have to make in the future and go ahead and make them now when the owners can use the income the most.
For example, I just loaded up on client gifts from our friends at Truck & Barter and ordered all of my graduation gifts from small businesses. We also snagged two of these puzzles from amazing photographer, Lauren Marttila as a fun activity for these days at home. There are so many ways to show up for others right now, and we truly believe that kind of love and compassion comes back around in time.
Here in Austin and back home in San Francisco, restaurants are still open for takeout and delivery. While we’re cooking more than ever (check out our weekly menu and shopping list here), we’re making an effort to order delivery from a restaurant 3x a week. Uber Eats has eliminated all delivery fees, and will leave the food at your door – social distancing approved.
Now more than ever, it’s important for us to use our platform to encourage people to think of others and take care of themselves. In a personal sense, now is a great time to engage with your community and offer meaningful and uplifting content.
Outside of our own businesses and profiles, now is a great time to write glowing reviews (you can leave one for us here) for the businesses we love and share them on social sites.
Don’t forget your local businesses that are adapting and staying open during this time, like restaurants and coffee shops that are transitioning to pick-up or delivery only. Even if you don’t leave your house to patronize these businesses, look into the virtual tip jars that many service industry businesses are setting up right now to help their staff members.
Above all, guard your health, check on your friends and neighbors, and take some time to rest and reflect. Try to make the best of some extra time at home by spending dedicated time with your loved ones and crossing off those overdue to-dos. And when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the massive amounts of data and all that remains unknown, just focus on what’s in your power—whether that’s spending your money with a small business or putting together a puzzle with your family. Stay well, friends!
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