We’re in a weird, weird place right now my friends. I wanted to put together a few of my favorite resources for this time.
This guide is my attempt to compile some useful resources, ideas, and more in one place for small biz owners no matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey right now…Whether your business has slowed down and you’re looking to invest this time wisely, you’re ready to get your learning on, you don’t feel like doing much of anything, or maybe you just need some financial help – here are a few things that can help.
Please note that many links below are my affiliate link. I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through my referral. I am only recommending resources I fully support and stand behind!
CreativeLive is my favorite platform for online learning. Every CreativeLive class is taught by a vetted topic expert via videos filmed by a professional crew. Unlike platforms like Udemy or SkillShare, I love that Creative Live courses are generally very robust and detailed – they don’t just touch on the tip of the iceberg on any given topic.
I personally use and recommend their creator pass that gets you unlimited access to over 1500 courses on their platform. Oftentimes that ends up being less expensive than buying one or two standalone classes.
You can look through all their offerings here, but I’m linking some specific favorite classes below. SO MUCH good valuable stuff for handmade sellers!
There are many, MANY other great courses on this platform. Those are just a few of the ones most applicable to makers!
Skillshare is another giant online learning platform that offers classes on all sorts of exciting topics.
From a business perspective, there’s a class all about building an Etsy shop that sells. I think SkillShare really excels at offering classes on building or honing your creative skills though. You’ll find lots of offerings on illustration, drawing, painting, watercolor, and more.
Check out all these college-level online courses you can take (lots of business and accounting things in there y’all!) right here.
Right now is most definitely a great time to get your reading on. Whether you decompress with reading a physical book, catch up on your Kindle, or tune in to some audio books while you go on your daily walk, this is a perfect opportunity to catch up on some recommended business reading. (Or just straight up fiction is good too!).
If you’re looking for some great business books, here are my recommendations:
If you’ve been procrastinating learning about biz taxes or figuring out what you need to do to get your financial ducks in a row, get started with this FREE on-demand video training – When to Worry about Taxes for Your Shop.
Join Kelsey from Paper + Oats for this free workshop all about how to create a PDF worksheet using InDesign. Now’s a great time to create a fresh printable for sale or as an enticing freebie for your audience. Learn how to do it from start to finish with Kelsey right here.
Make sure you’re getting the MOST out of Etsy and leveraging all that built-in traffic to the max with Merriweather Council’s free masterclass for Etsy sellers here.
Are you currently priced for profit? Make sure you’re making a profit and able to pay yourself from each and every sale you make. I have some great ideas for getting started with reviewing your current pricing strategy in this free on-demand workshop.
LEARN ABOUT PROFIT FIRST FOR MAKERS & CREATIVES
If you’ve been wanting to utilize Profit First concepts in your business, but you aren’t sure how to make it work for YOU, I hosted a pay-what-you-want workshop on April 20th. You can catch the replay here!
Baking in a simplified version of Profit First for your business is a game-changing way of ensuring you are able to consistently pay yourself from your business.
If you’ve been itching to get off Etsy or set up a separate stream of income, now’s a great time to focus on that. Once the holidays get here, you can focus on directing your traffic there and take advantage of lower fees on each sale.
Megan Minns, the queen of tech, systems, and organization, is offering a great deal on her new course, Simple Online Business Set Up, right now. If you need help getting set up online, buying a domain, setting up your email list & opt in, setting up payment gateways and more, check out her course here.
Focus on creating a bank of content to use over the coming months. Write six months’ worth of blog posts, gift guides, email newsletters, Instagram posts… whatever marketing strategy you use (or have been wanting to use) for your business. Create a bank of content to draw from over the coming months that you can schedule and benefit from in the coming months.
When’s the last time you checked on your keywords, tags, and titles? Take a day (or a week) to update your SEO on Etsy, your standalone site, and Pinterest. Bonus points for updating your product listings & pins with anything related to staying (and thriving!) at home.
Yeah, I’m biased but chances are you’ve neglected your bookkeeping system. Planning to apply for any small business grants or loans anytime soon? You’ll need to know your numbers. Need some help? Join the Accounting Accountability Club and/or grab a P+S bookkeeping spreadsheet.
Taking polished, professional and branded product photos is something I dread doing. As a maker, it always fell to the bottom of my to do list. Take time to polish up, re-take, and edit your product photos. Now’s a great moment to create not just updated photos but extra photo content & graphics for social media, emails, etc. Having a plethora of polished photos to draw from is something that will benefit you for months to come.
I’m bringing in a product photography expert to host a free workshop on this topic in late April so stay tuned!
Finally take that course you bought months ago. Make a list of all the online courses or trainings you’ve invested in but have yet to finish (or even start!). Get educated without having to spend ANY more money.
Finally get GA set up for your storefront or shop site. Google Analytics is totally FREE. You need to get it set up and collecting data for several weeks or months before you have any useful data to analyze, so get it set up now!
I already recommended the book here. Instituting Profit First concepts in your business means you are able to pay yourself from EVERY sale you make…so even if sales are slow right now you are still able to maintain the ability to pay yourself.
I will be hosting a live workshop on making Profit First work for e-commerce sellers on April 20th. You can register here.
Obviously the lower your expenses, the more money you can keep in your pocket. It’s time to crawl through your spending item by item and cancel or downgrade any monthly or annual subscriptions that aren’t serving you. This works for both your business and your personal finances.
Remember it’s almost always easier to get a sale from an existing customer than to convince new “cold” leads to buy. Don’t neglect your current audience and your existing customers. Now’s a great time to reach out to your email list and let them know what you’ve got to serve them during this time.
Offer your customers payment plan options via gateways like Sezzle, AfterPay, or Klarna.
There is still TONS of money being spent online right now. Resist the urge to shutter your shop or stop talking about your brand online. Think of your brand in terms of service right now. How do your products serve your audience? People are actively searching for products, ideas, services, and more that can bring them joy (or sanity) at home.
How can your products help folks stuck at home for an extended period of time? Make sure you’re actively talking about that on social media, to your email list, and even in your product listings.
If your product is especially suited for at-home use I’d even consider paying for promoted listings, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest ads right now to make sure your product is getting in front of all the people looking for solutions right now. This past month I have bought several things from ads that were presented to me right at the perfect time – sensory kits for toddlers, paint by number kits, Easter basket stuffers, loungewear, craft kits for adults, cookie decorating kits, etc.
Attorney Christina Scalera from The Contract Shop has provided some tips on how to gracefully communicate with your clients (and even cancel a client contract if needed) during this time. Read about it or watch the free replay on this topic here. She also provides attorney-approved contract templates and more on her site.
If you have 2 or more employees, check out the small business grant program Facebook is offering here.
If you are a freelancer without employees, consider applying for up to a $1k grant from the Freelancers Union Relief Fund.
Spanx founder Sara Blakely has a foundation dedicated to supported female entrepreneurs in the wake of COVID-19. You can apply for a financial gift here.
CERF+ is awarding up to $500 for artists working in specific craft disciplines to help protect their careers during the Pandemic. Learn more here.
The SBA is offering two opportunities for financial relief – the Paycheck Protection Program (to cover specific expenses like payroll, rent, and utilities) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (with a potential $10k advance). Learn more about them here.
My favorite Pinterest & Instagram scheduling tool Tailwind has a relief program you can apply for here.
I highly recommend checking out the FAQs written by CPA Amy Northard here to get answers to any questions you have about government loans & stimulus checks.
Wonderlass shares a great list of 40 ways to thrive in your business and your personal life right now.
I love this list of 100 things to do at home from Society for Creative Founders.
Lela from Lucky Break Consulting has got a wonderful compilation of blog posts and resources here.
ClarityWave has put together a giant list of (usually not free) business tools & software that are either free or discounted during this time. Check it out here.
This is not so much a round-up post, but a great compiling from Aeolidia of how other artists & makers are responding to the coronavirus pandemic right now.
If you’ve created another resource or know of something else you think I should include in this list, leave me a comment or send me an email!
If you found this mega list helpful, I’d also be SO appreciative if you share with your fellow maker friends or creative community!