Stuck on small business survival tips during a pandemic?
I get it. You’re not alone right now. Feeling like your entire world has spun into some kind of crazy vortex. It’s worrying times for everyone but we will get through this together.
These times can be especially difficult as a small business owner. While some of you can sell online, others may look for alternative ways to generate income. You may be working from home and looking after smallies who are finding this a hard transition also…
I’m a mum myself with a 5-year-old little girl called Ivy. We live in Ireland. Most of my income comes from training, and workshops that have either been cancelled or temporarily postponed. My husband has also temporarily lost his income as he works in the hospitality industry and they have had to close down for the next few weeks because of Covid 19. I’m telling you this because I know how hard times are right now and the effects it has on your mental health with no cash flow. Over the last few days, I’ve been working from home and doing a few things to help me overcome this stressful and very weird time. Activities such as trying to stay focused on building my new business, getting out for walks on the beach, exercising and not killing my husband! I’d like to share some useful resources to help get you through this difficult time also.
Now is the time to work on your business whether that’s coming up with a new marketing strategy, a new product or service offering or finding alternative ways to generate revenue until all this madness blows over. Most of these resources are free or have an upgrade option. I want you to know that I and others are here for you to give you as much support as possible.
Below is a list of helpful online tools and resources to give you a boost.
Take what you need from this list. Get some inspiration. Use these resources to empower you. And, mind yourself.
USEFUL TOOLS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Right now many are rethinking how they do business online. Is there an opportunity for you to send out an email campaign with discount codes, upsells, information about your virtual service? There are tools here that will enable you to take a meeting online, create professional social media graphics, create a website, receive online payments and be more productive.
Toggl is an online time tracking tool to help you keep track of the time you are spending on tasks and review if you’ve spent your time wisely. It’s a super tool for freelancers, graphic designers and consultants but can work for anyone who would like to create a more focused approach to their work online. Visit https://toggl.com/
Evernote is an app that allows users to capture, organize and find their information across multiple platforms. You can add to-do’s, images, web pages and it also has a built-in searchable option. You can organize and customize the notes in whatever way you want for a seamless experience. Visit https://evernote.com/
Zoom is an easy and reliable platform for video, audio conferencing, chat and webinars. It allows you to interact with co-workers or customers when in-person meetings aren’t possible. Visit https://zoom.us/download
Crowdcast is an online platform that allows you to host interactive live chats, Q&A’s, polls and more. Invite attendees on-screen, and broadcast to platforms like Facebook Live, Periscope and YouTube Live. Visit https://www.crowdcast.io/
Acuity is an online appointment booking software that easily allows your clients to book appointments, pay and complete intake forms right within the app. Look super professional with an embedded booking form right within your website or connect it with your Instagram account so prospects can book directly on the “gram. Save a ton of time with no more back and forth emailing, diary management and invoicing. Acuity Scheduling is my personal favourite tool. Visit https://acuityscheduling.com/
Every Time Zone is a software tool that allows you to see what time it is across the globe at a glance. Really handy if you are working with multiple team members in different locations. Visit https://everytimezone.com/
Canva is a graphic design platform that allows users to create social media graphics, presentations, posters and other visual content. It is available on the web and mobile and integrates millions of images, fonts, templates and illustrations. Visit https://www.canva.com/
Google Drive is Google’s cloud-based file storage system, and it integrates seamlessly with the file-sharing & collaboration tools inside Google Docs. It’s a great way to work on projects and easily share real-time documents with others through your drive without having the back and forth of emails. You can also work on the same file at once. Visit https://www.google.com/intl/en/drive/
Asana is a web-based project management system. Users can create & assign tasks to themselves or other team members, and all members can have access to the tasks & comment & update their progress. Visit https://asana.com/
Kajabi is a complete online business platform that makes it really easy to build, market and sell online courses, membership sites and digital products. I personally use Kajabi to deliver all my courses, and my students also find the course platform user-friendly. Visit https://kajabi.com/
Bluchic allows you to get your website up and running with these affordable easy-to-use WordPress themes and design templates that are beautiful and professional without the struggle, or the designer price tag. Visit https://bluchic.com/
Mailerlite is a sophisticated email marketing software with features like the landing page builder and the pop-up customiser. They are currently offering their software free of charge for the next 3 months to governmental, educational and healthcare institutions responding to COVID-19. Just mention #staysafe in your approval questions to receive a free 3-month premium plan. Visit https://www.mailerlite.com/signup
N26 is a virtual bank that offers a business bank account for freelancers and the self-employed. Get a Mastercard with 0.1% cashback, sub-accounts and more. Since I’ve started using this app to manage my daily finances I’ve been able to easily track my expenses as well as get paid from clients worldwide with ease. The handy app is accessible on your phone and even gives you notifications when you get paid! And the best part is there are no bank charges so you actually save money. Visit https://n26.com/
Revolut is a digital-only banking app and card that sets itself apart from traditional banks with a focus on technology, low fees and flexibility. Revolut has the ability to convert currency at the best possible rates, transfer money internationally for nothing, and spend money across the globe without any fees. Visit https://www.revolut.com/en-IE
UPSKILLING RESOURCES FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Here are some of my favourite go-to training resources for learning new skills to help me grow my business. If you’d like to learn how to improve your marketing efforts, get found on Google by potential customers, or how to set up your next email campaign, you will find a host of practical online courses available to teach you just that.
Facebook Blueprint is a free online training platform for advertising. With over 90 eLearning courses, Facebook Blueprint helps you learn the skills to move your business forward. Learn anything about Facebook and Instagram. Visit https://www.facebook.com/business/learn
Google Digital Garage is a free online training platform to get the digital skills you need to grow your business using Google platforms such as Google Ads, Google Analytics and more. Visit https://learndigital.withgoogle.com/digitalgarage
Skillshare is a learning platform with online classes taught by the world’s best practitioners. Learn anything from design, languages, photography, video, marketing, productivity and more. Visit https://www.skillshare.com/home
Udemy is an online learning platform with free and paid classes and over 10000 courses. Learn finance and accounting, health and fitness, productivity, marketing, music, personal development and more. Visit https://www.udemy.com/
HEALTH & WELLNESS RESOURCES
We all know the age-old say that your health is your wealth. Well, it really is! Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also determines how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. By taking time out for yourself each day to get some fresh air, exercise and meditation, you can improve thinking, decision-making, workflow and reduce stress. So, take a look at the apps below and involve your loved ones.
Daily Workout Fitness Trainer is an app that can be downloaded on your phone. It contains over 100+ simple exercises you can do from home. Available on iOS and Android; free with the option for in-app purchases.
Zombies, Run! is a super fun app co-created by award-winning novelist Naomi Alderman. Users can live out their “very own zombie adventure story” while also completing a run or walk (#casual). As you log steps, you’ll hear a zombie-themed audio drama (imagine: guttural breathing, rattling groans) that might just inspire you to pick up the pace. Get the kids out for a zombie infused walk and have some fun while exercising! 🙂 Available on iOS and Android; free with the option for in-app purchases.
Daily Yoga is an impressive app that offers 50+ class plans and workouts, 500+ poses, and 200+ classes with HD video. Design for yoga newbies, advanced practitioners, and everyone in between to get their daily yoga fix. Available on iOS and Android; free with the option for in-app purchases.
Reflectly is an AI-driven journal app that uses positive psychology, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioural therapy to help you sort through negative emotions, understand how you’re feeling, and channel feel-good vibes (in the form of empathy, kindness, and gratitude) towards all areas of your life. Available on iOS and Android; 7-day free trial; monthly membership starts at $3.99.
Headspace is one of the best-known meditation apps on the market. The app is a great choice if you want to learn the essentials of meditation and mindfulness, with a free 10-part “basics” course and whimsical animations to help you find your feet. This is one of my personal favourites and really helps to get you to tune out for even 5-minutes! Available on iOS and Android with options for in-app purchases.
LEARNING RESOURCES FOR KIDS
It’s a hard time for our kids also – to help combat boredom and encourage them to learn and develop I have included a list of educational resources to keep your little ones occupied. There’s something for everyone. From a toddler to 15 years old, you will find educational games and online learning platforms to engage and excite.
Twinkle is a resource used by teachers. It contains every single resource for every single curriculum subject from junior infants to sixth class. They are offering 1-month free unlimited access if you go to http://www.twinkle.ie/offer and enter the code IRLTWINKLHELPS.
Poptropica is a virtual world for kids to travel, play games, compete in head-to-head competition, and communicate safely. Kids can also read books, comics, and more. Visit https://www.poptropica.com/
IXL is a learning website kids love! Master 2000+ skills online. Proven success. Primary & Secondary Maths. Immediate Feedback. Standards-based Learning. Adaptive & Individualised. Courses: Primary Maths, Primary English, Secondary Maths. Visit https://ie.ixl.com/
Fish school has 8 fun educational activities. Learn with colourful schools of fish that magically transform themselves into different letters, numbers, shapes, colours and more! Visit http://www.duckduckmoose.com/educational-iphone-itouch-apps-for-kids/fish-school/
Phonics Ninja is an exciting educational game that helps kids rapidly learn letter sounds, blends, and digraphs by sight, sound, and touch. The interface is so easy to use that even a 9-month-old baby will delight in using this app. Visit https://apps.apple.com/us/app/phonics-ninja/id1156244787
Starfall is an education resource, children have fun while they learn – specializing in reading, phonics & math – educational games, movies, books, songs, and more for children K-3. Visit https://www.starfall.com/h/
Science360 is a wonderful app from the Science360 Knowledge Network and is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. It provides the latest science videos from scientists, colleges and universities, science and engineering centres, the National Science Foundation, and more. Visit http://sciencenetlinks.com/tools/science-360/
I hope you find these resources useful and they give you some ideas so you can carry on building your business even through this difficult time. If you have any resources, you use that might be helpful to our readers please share with us. We’d love to include them on this list. Stay safe.
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ALL my best,
– Sarah Jane
Note: This page contains affiliate links. I only recommend the products that I love and have used myself.