Running an Indie Biz During a Pandemic

As Lockdown seems to be coming to an end, I figured now would be a good time to reflect on how the past few months have been as an Indie Biz owner.

I'm not classed as vulnerable, and I don't know of anyone who has caught the virus, so I've definitely come out of this a lot better than some. However, now that it's been a few months since I last did any freelance work, things are starting to get difficult.

Let's start from the beginning! I was so excited when the Lockdown first started as it meant that I wouldn't have to get up early to go to my freelancing job for a little while. I hate getting up early so this was definitely a plus. However, during the first week it became apparent that I wouldn't be able to do any of the work from home, so that meant that the biggest portion of my income was now gone for the foreseeable future.

During the first month, my orders sky-rocketed. I've never had so many orders in such a short time and it felt amazing. It got to the point where it would genuinely take around an hour to pack and post all the orders that I was getting. Most of the orders were for colouring books, as gifts to keep loved ones occupied, and it felt awesome to know that I was helping people to cope with the "new normal",  albeit in a small way.

The Quirky Colouring Book

Not having any freelancing or events to go to through the week, I had plenty of time to put my business hat on, and used this time to learn more about running a sustainable business, as well as diving into the creative side.

I created some illustrations for a client who wanted to decorate his daughter's bedroom with wall stickers, and from there a whole new product range began.

Cute Glossy Vinyl Stickers

Now that I have the tools to create my own stickers, the possibilities are endless! I can now make designs for any occasion or cultural events, almost immediately, which will hopefully result in more traffic and sales. I also invested in a Cricut machine, which adds further possibilities to the products I can make. I've started making custom circular logo sticker sheets, and sent my first order out today which I'm thrilled about.

 

I've also tried to adapt products to Lockdown and staying at home, including printable colouring sheets and digital downloads, so that people can still enjoy my products without increasing the risk of transmission.

To further my business knowledge, I signed up for website reviews, and took part in the Indie Roller Digital Boot Camp in May, which was a lot of fun and SO informative! It was also great to be in a Zoom conference so that I still had some interaction with other humans! 

As time in Lockdown progressed, the orders slowed down again, and I've been finding it more difficult to finance both the business and pay my share for the bills. I'm not eligible for any of the government schemes, so I decided to re-launch my Patreon to try give myself some sort of a monthly wage.

I set up a Patreon at the end of 2018, but never really had any solid plan for the content I wanted to share, and ended up shutting it down because I didn't feel like I could provide enough of a service/entertainment to my patrons.

This year, I was feeling more optimistic. My brand is stronger and being a member of Indie Roller has helped refine the reason WHY I want to do any of this in the first place. I set a monthly calendar for the content that will be going out to each tier, which helps me know what I need to do and when to do it, no going round in circles because I don't know what to do. Here's what the calendar looks like:

 Patreon Content Calendar

It's colour coded for which posts go out to each tier and it's in a 4-weekly format instead of dated, so that I don't have to change it every month.

I'm focusing on video and audio formats more than written text, as I feel like these capture my personality more, so by being a Patron you're more in touch with my world and what I do. Plus, most of the time I find it easier to speak my thoughts than write them.

You can check out my Patreon here

As time goes on, I'm starting to feel less resilient and more doubtful of myself. Hopefully things will pick back up again soon, and I'll start seeing results from Patreon, Newsletters etc 


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