The creative and event industry has been hit hard by COVID-19. During what is normally our busiest time of year, things have come to a halt due to the Coronavirus. In the midst of homeschooling my kids, I’ve been stress texting with some of my industry friends about what to do with this new time. I have a group chat with photography friends Renee Hollingshead and Nikki Daskalakis. We talk almost daily about wedding-related and non-wedding related things! Today, we talked about what we were going to do instead of work on all the weddings that have been postponed. Rather than panic…ok, fine, we kind of panicked at first. It went like this:
Rudney: What can we do to keep creativity going?
Renee: Pull your hair out, strand by strand, jk.
Nikki: I’m blogging a lot…
We decided to each make a list of things to do in the coming months for our businesses and report back. Here’s what we came up with!
- Infuse SEO into your website. Beef up your blogs with new posts filled with keywords.
- Schedule virtual coffee (wine) dates. Who says you can’t network from your couch? Cultivate strong relationships.
- Finally, make all the PDFs you’ve been thinking would make your business so much more organized.
- Education. This is a great time to read. There are tons of free courses you can take online, friends you can learn from, and articles to read. You’ll only be stronger for it.
- Consider ways to earn a more passive income. Do you have knowledge that other people want? Turn it into a downloadable PDF available on your website. Work on marketing photo albums or prints to clients. Passive income makes economic emergencies less stressful.
- Spend time with your family. This time of year is typically the busiest for the wedding industry. I’ve got news for you…this summer and fall is going to be INSANE due to postponed weddings. I bet this winter will be busier too. It won’t be this quiet for long.
- Work on personal passion projects. How can you be creative right at home? Want to get better at flatlays? Practice making flatlays and photographing them. Creativity is like a muscle that needs to be worked out. Maybe you want to try out different film stocks and see how they work in different scenarios? Take the same shot with different film stocks, record your settings. You’ll be like Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride picking her favorite way to have eggs.
- Organize your hard drive. You know that thing is probably a wreck.
- Expand your Pinterest reach. Pinterest is a powerful marketing tool. Join a group board and pin your heart out. Join mine! Check back to your website analytics to see what kind of impact it’s made.
- Allow space for inspiration. What if you allowed yourself to be inspired by other mediums outside of the wedding industry? There are so many forms of art streaming for free online right now. You can take virtual tours of museums all over the world, browse The Met, see an opera, watch a documentary about fashion. Let your mind wander and see where it leads you.
- Update your website with new and fresh content. Couples will love looking at your latest work.
- Blog your favorite and most up to date content, create fun topics of discussion, keep it interesting. Blogs are a great source of inspiration and research for clients as well as drive traffic to your website.
- Schedule your social media posts (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter). We like using tools such as Planoly to plan out our posts.
- Learn a new skill that will be beneficial to your clients (aka styling, photoshop, lighting, posing, computer program, design, etc).
- Create a mood board for future editorials, designs, inspiration, etc.
- Set up a time to virtually meet with like-minded creative individuals to spark ideas, goals, advice, etc.
- Create for the sake of creating. Have an idea in the back of your mind? Do it as long as you can safely with social distancing.
- Plan your next great adventure. We like to travel and planning the next trip is always so much fun.
- Reorganize/decorate your office space to stay inspired.
- Take an online course. There is so much web-content out there including YouTube, If I Made, Creative Live and more. Check your favorite people, they may have some content worth purchasing.
- Support small businesses. During this crazy time, it’s important to shop small and keep the dream alive.
- Create intentional stock photo content for your business.
- Reach out to a calligrapher or stationery designer and offer to photograph their goods for practice and content. I bet you both will benefit from it.
- Map out your social media posts for the next few months. I’ve struggled with scheduling my Instagram posts. Take advantage of this time to plan ahead for the busy season that is coming.
- Take advantage of Spring and walk around stunning Washington D.C. parks. Photograph the cherry blossoms, magnolia trees, and create incredible images of architecture where you live – you can use the images for content on social media and Instagram
- Photograph your kids (thanks, Renee), or your pets. My kids are growing, and I don’t have as many photos of them as I would like. This is the time to spend quality time, and take them to a beautiful field or park and photograph those cuties. By the way…pets are kids too!
- Take online courses that will help improve your business practices. I just saw a bunch of outstanding Ivy League courses you can take online right now for free.
- Create a work routine that will organize and streamline your creative process.
- Revisit shoots and weddings that haven’t been submitted to blogs or publications yet. Make sure you get those SEO words in there. Just last week, I sent out two shoots and two weddings and got all of them accepted. Publications will get your name out there, and that will, in turn, benefit your business.
- Create a “Virtual Happy Hour” with friends that inspire you to share ideas or just hang out. There are a lot of online tools to help with that—Google Hangouts, Skype, etc.
- Plan a significant shoot that represents your brand. It’s time to learn to say NO to just anything and everything. Instead, create content that will represent your brand well. Be intentional and make the most out of your time and money with intentional shoots.
- Finally, give out freebies! Who doesn’t love free useful material? Create a PDF with valuable resources for creatives and couples such as timeline samples, how to meter light, hybrid editing, etc.
We hope these tips help strengthen your business in this change of season.