What to do as a creative in response to COVID-19

March 25, 2020

This is truly an unprecedented season in our lives with the COVID-19 crisis. It's the top of everyone's mind and the main topic in most conversations. I've been talking with lots of clients, agency partners, and creatives over the past week and the outlook isn't great at face value. With lots of people losing their jobs, companies cutting back on spending, and our society going on lock-down, it leaves creatives with a lot of uncertainty about the next few months. That said, this season has opened up a lot of potential for personal growth and the opportunity to pivot our focus.

Work on "That project" you've been putting off

When creatives get into busy seasons, the first thing that often gets put aside is "that project". The project you've been dreaming of working on - maybe starting that e-course you've been thinking about, writing that script, creating that design project, or a new website for your business - you get the idea.  With most industries in a major slowdown right now, you might have a lot more free time.

I'll talk about time management here in a bit, but carve out some time each day to work on "that project".  Personally, I've been "heads down" working on networking and business development for my business the past few months and while that's still a focus right now, I'm carving out time to do some fun things with some new course content, helping a friend write a script for a feature film, and getting a handle on more of our processes.

Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas:

  • Take time to audit your brand - how is your website and digital presence? Does it represent you and your current work?
  • How's your portfolio or demo reel? - Now could be a great time to work on it and get it up to date! Write some case studies while you're at it too!
  • If you've been doing this for a while, consider creating some educational content for your clients or do Kajabi's 28 Day Challenge!
  • Read a book

Learn some new skills

Do you have a ton of gear sitting around unused? Try some new lighting setups or practice your b-roll skills. If you're an artist or designer, look up some tutorials or practice some new techniques. The internet is such an incredible resource for sharing and learning knowledge. Continuing education in your field is always worthwhile and helps you grow as a creative. I'm personally in a few online courses and love the community and inspiration that come from them. Another favorite tool is CreativeLive which offers free live streams of new classes and has others available for a reasonable price.

Here are some great classes to check out:

Move your content online

With the majority of people staying home and being more reliant on the internet, nows the perfect time to move your content and messaging online. (Internet traffic in urban areas is up 98% right now!) Your audience still needs to hear from you and you shouldn't get discouraged.  That said, your messaging does need to change to fit the current climate. Should you stop selling your _______ (Insert thing here)? No!

Your inbox is probably full of emails about the virus. I did a quick search in my inbox for "Covid-19" and I have 251 emails from the past two weeks. Most of those emails are totally useless by the way... looking at you, local dentist, who emailed me to say you're sterilizing your equipment as usual...

Consider if you need to send an operational type email that updates your clients on your business and how you're going to serve them. If that's not necessary, then create content that helps people get through this time. Don't use COVID-19 to manipulate your audience into buying your product. Be positive in your messaging and don't use fear as a motivator to make sales.

If you believe your offering is of value to people, then keep selling it, it's something that people need. Another thing you can do is reach out to old clients and see if there's anything you can do to help them at this time - do they need help with communications, video, graphics, writing, etc?

The other thing to consider is hosting doing webinars or live streaming. People are looking for thought leaders, encouragement, and entertainment in this time. One of my favorite examples is a local bakery who offered in-person classes for customers. During this crisis, they're doing livestreams every day teaching all their classes for free. Not sure where to start? Platforms like Zoom or Crowdcast are excellent tools for getting your content online and interacting with your audience!

Set yourself up for success with WFH (Working from home)

If you're a creative that has been training for working from home for a long time and this might be a minimal change for your routine. If you're new to working from home, it's going to be really important to create boundaries and routines to keep your sanity in check.

  • Schedule your day - This is one I'm still trying to stick to, but if you really want to be productive (and sane), plan out your day. Include time to exercise, have quiet time, eat, get work done, and take breaks.
  • Create clear boundaries for work and home - they may be the same right now, but set clear times when you will work and when you won't. Build a healthy balance between work and "being home" with your family.
  • Create a dedicated workspace
  • Cut out distractions - TV, social media, phone calls, texting, etc.
  • Connect with other people who are working from home - Get a free zoom account and talk with people digitally face-to-face. Don't be afraid to turn on that camera and say hello to your friends, clients, partners, etc.
  • Take breaks - a good guide is 10 minutes every hour to get up and walk around, stretch, drink some water, etc.
  • Create a routine to start and end your day - go for a walk, get some coffee, plan out your work, etc

Pivot your business

If your business typically requires in-person work like photography or video, this season is especially difficult. Think about other skills and knowledge that you can use to serve your audience. If you're finding yourself in this spot, here's a few ideas to pivot your business temporarily:

  • Start that e-course you've been considering
  • Sell your photography or video footage on stock sites
  • Offer your expertise as consulting services
  • Offer post-production to other creatives who might be working through a backlog
  • Start a YouTube channel to teach and share knowledge
  • Start a podcast or offer to edit for others

What other ideas do you have? Share in the comments below!

 

While this season is going to be a big challenge for creatives across the board, we have to harness that creativity to find new ways to bring in revenue and weather this time. Now is the time to come together and encourage our fellow creatives and step out to help each other. Turn off the news and stay off Twitter for a bit and take a deep breath. Take this season as a time to reset, grow, and find new opportunities.


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