When you are self-employed it is easy to panic when there is downtime. For birth professionals and providers who work with growing families, downtime due to the coronavirus is especially anxiety-producing, right? Not only is your income impacted, health concerns and uncertainty directly affect your work and your dear clients.
One of our goals at AfterThird is to help parents find the best support for their families. As such, it is important to us that our providers, in turn, feel supported. We have put together a survival guide to help you through the upcoming weeks and months as the public navigates coronavirus and welcome you to be in touch if there is more we can do to support you and your work.
Coronavirus Survival Guide for Birth Professionals
1. Grow Your Business
As many freelancers and self-employed veterans know, it is possible to take advantage of downtime to grow your business and emerge more valuable, more knowledgeable, and more astute. Here are some of our personal tips for growing or improving your business during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Training and education
Continuing education is important for providers. It helps you to maintain your expert status in your industry and lets you add credentials and qualifications to your resume. Is there an area of study that you can dig into over the next couple of months? Or perhaps an online training or certification you’ve been wanting to complete? Now is your time.
If there isn’t a class or training that you can locate (or afford), consider making up one of your own. Pick an area you’d like to grow your expertise in, download and print out materials, and create your own course. Who knows, you may have a new side gig creating courses on your hands when all of this is over!
Opinions vary on how long it takes to develop a habit, with experts and popular belief ranging from 21 days to 66 days and various others. Regardless, it looks as though there is going to be enough time ahead of us with less activity to develop some new habits and routines.
Routines are important for the self-employed and for those who run soul-focused businesses because they allow us to make behaviors that help us thrive a part of our daily and weekly lives. A regular morning routine, for instance, sets each day up for more success. A weekly marketing routine ensures that it doesn’t fall to the wayside in the midst of full weeks of seeing clients. Those with meaningful routines often feel more successful as well. Here are some routines to consider establishing during your social distancing:
A tidy desk, tidy filing cabinet, clutter-free phone, and organized supplies make for a happy business. Most of us have at least one physical or digital area that can be organized and made to be more useful, what is yours?
The Time to Address Business Goals is Now
What area of your business have you been putting off developing? Has your blog been sitting stagnant? Are there updates to your website that you’ve been meaning to make or to plan? Has your marketing plan gone stale? Have you never been able to really get your Instagram off the ground? Schedule time into your calendar each day to dive into the business project you want to tackle this year.
Dust of Your Books
The most valuable providers are often the most well-read. We all know how many birth professionals have shelves full of amazing books, but how many of them have you read? Spending the time you would be with clients reading a chapter or two is going to up your expert status.
Just like routines, having systems and automations in your business help to make sure that the important things always have a place. Spending some time setting these up while you are social distancing may be one thing to do that will benefit your business for a long time to come. Here are a few to consider:
Client follow up: do you have a system for contacting clients to get referrals or stay on their radar?
Social media: Can you schedule some posts ahead of time to automate this business essential?
2. Take Your Business Virtual During Coronavirus
Your clients still need and want your support right now. As you’ve probably seen, a lot of providers and business owners are taking their services online to remain available to their communities and even reach a larger audience. Join the trend! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- What current services or appointments can you move to hold through FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom? To best serve your clients and avoid a huge backup once things start running again, contact your clients and request to move things to a virtual format. Get creative and don’t hold yourself back!
- What sorts of questions or topics are coming up often? Is this an opportunity for you to begin a YouTube channel and then distribute the videos to your clients?
- If you run an online event add it to our calendar and we will help promote you.
- Can you collaborate with other providers? Why not schedule a call with another birth professional and brainstorm about how to join virtual forces?
- Reach out to clients to provide information relevant to their situation and the coronavirus. We have resources for pregnant mothers and working parents that may be useful. Your clients are sure to remember an email that you send reaching out and providing some information as a courtesy during this time.
3. Other ways to stay connected with your clients
-Be proactive and be the one to reach out
-Random “thinking of you” texts
-Snail mail! Bring back the art of the hand-written note
-Develop resources. Provide these to your clients now and then think about what you might be able to turn into download-able resources or products you can sell through your site in the future.
-Sell discounted packages to anyone who wants to book in over the next eight weeks.
4. Get Support and Stay Connected
It’s true – much of our wellness depends on us staying connected to others during social distancing. This may help you in many ways, from playing a positive role in someone’s day to networking that will benefit your business, to keeping you positive and productive. Our team has put together a list specific to birth professionals to stay connecting during coronavirus. We’d love to stay connected with you as well! Please reach out if there is anything we can do.
Organize a provider’s phone tree: A five-minute phone call can make a huge difference in your days and in someone else’s. Take charge and make a huge difference in your community.
Set up an accountability partnership: Having an accountability partner is an amazing and effective way to smash your goals and stay connected with someone else who is being ambitious right now. Make a call out to your community and you’ll not only set yourself up for more success, you’ll probably start a chain reaction.
Practical Business Support
The US Chamber of Commerce is doing an amazing job providing useful information for small businesses. You may even qualify for funding depending on the type of business you run. Here are a few articles to check out:
US Government Support
UK Government Support
More Support & Resources
And DONA International has provided a wonderful guide for doulas:
Above all: stay positive and lean into your community. We are all in this together and will make it to the other side together.