A Quarantine Routine for Web Designers: Making the Most of a Global Pandemic

quarantine routine

PRO TIP: If you can’t be bothered to read 1,000’s of words right now, you can watch the video a few paragraphs below or listen to the podcast episode right here. 🙂

I am writing this from a mobile trailer nestled in the forests of rural Canada. A trailer that has no running water.

What does that mean for showering and pooping? I’ll… leave that to your imagination.

This is what my 14-day quarantine routine looks like after my 3-month trip through Mexico, Portugal and Spain ended before it barely began.

Well, at least I managed to get a couple of weeks of sun in Mexico before being locked down indefinitely. 🤷‍♂️

The Covid-19 global pandemic is transforming our world faster than our minds can process.

Millions are sick. Thousands are dying. Borders are shutting. Travelers are stranded in foreign lands. Life as we know it is grinding to a halt.

Where we’re heading, nobody knows.

What we do know is that billions of people are being forced to isolate themselves in their own homes. Mandatory quarantines are being enacted by governments all over the world.

For most people, this means:

  • No work
  • No travel
  • No commutes
  • No socializing with friends or family
  • No venturing outdoors for anything other than bare necessities

That makes up about 90% of how we spend our time day-to-day.

With so much free time suddenly at our disposal, people are wondering what they’re going to do with it.

The best creative ideas are born out of the tightest restrictions. We’re already seeing some great examples of this with the Covid-19 epidemic.

 

 

But listen…

Can I get real with you for a second?

We have an infinite number of ways to keep ourselves productive, engaged and physically and mentally healthy during this difficult time.

But you know how 90% of us are going to choose to spend that time?

Binge-watching TV and endlessly scrolling through social media feeds.

That is the sad reality.

You have a massive opportunity to NOT be one of those people.

This blog focuses on web design. More specifically, how to build a successful web design business.

By far the most common question/complaint/frustration/excuse (whatever you want to call it) I receive centers around time.

“I don’t have enough time.” – Everyone, ever

The Covid-19 pandemic just handed time to you on a silver platter. Sprinkled with gold dust. Gift-wrapped. Tied neatly with a bow. With a loving note attached.

a love letter from the coronavirus covid 19 1

Do not let this opportunity go to waste.

When this is all over and things start to return to normal, whatever that new normal is, you will not look back fondly at the 174 episodes of Weird Things: Slightly Weirder Than Before or the 586 hours you spent playing Build a Fort, Lose, Try Again.

That stuff is not gonna keep you sane over the coming weeks and months.

Making progress on personal goals will.

And if your goal is to build a web design business that gives you true financial independence, and relative freedom from the economic uncertainty of global pandemics, now is the time to make progress towards that goal.

Using Your Newly Acquired Time Wisely

Let’s break this Quarantine Routine down into three categories:

  1. Business development
  2. Professional development
  3. Personal development

Starting with…

1) Work on Your Web Design Business

Here are some ways you can make progress with your web design business.

Make a logo

If you still don’t have a logo made, what are you waiting for? Now’s the perfect time to make one.

Create your brand

A logo is just a small part of your overall brand.

Build your website

I’m seeing a lot of people out there who are trying to sell web design services and get clients… without having a website themselves.

Would you buy web design services from a web designer who doesn’t have a website?

Improve your website

If you already have a website, great!

There are always ways to improve it.

I am constantly tweaking, refining and updating my own website.

Get some backlinks

In order for Google to take your website seriously, you’ll need to establish some credibility.

To get credibility, you’ll need to get some high authority websites to link to yours.

There are a number of strategies to gain backlinks, but this one is the easiest I’ve found so far.

Refine your internal processes

Take a deep dive into how your run your business. What processes you follow, tools you use and steps you take.

Then think about ways you can improve.

Last year I discovered that, after years of using FreshBooks for my invoicing and accounting (because I love FreshBooks), there was a cheaper tool available that had all of the same features and more. So I switched to InvoiceNinja.

Reach out to your current customers

Too many businesses get so caught up in trying to acquire new customers, that they neglect their current ones.

Don’t be one of those businesses.

These are very uncertain times. Many businesses are wondering how they’re going to stay afloat.

Reach out to your clients. Tell them what your plan is to weather this storm. Ask them if you can do anything to help.

Reach out to your employees/freelancers

If you’ve already reached a point in your business where you can afford to hire employees then, first off, congrats!

Secondly, stay on top of them. Especially if they are in another country.

I have some employees from the Philippines, and already finding a stable internet connection has become a challenge for them.

Ensure your workers that you are there to help in any way you can. Create a backup plan in case you lose all contact with your employees.

Don’t get caught flat-footed.

Improve your customer experience

Look at every step your customers have to take and find ways to simplify it.

From initially landing on your website to sending the first deposit, is there anything you can do to make it better?

I recently modified how I send my proposals to web design leads. I used to send a simple email. But over time I grew frustrated by the lack of ability to track whether my emails were being opened and read. Following up with leads was a chore.

After researching potential solutions, I signed up with Better Proposals. My conversion rate has since improved, and now I know exactly who is reading my proposals and when they do so.

2) Sharpen Your Professional Skills

Practice writing

Writing is good for the soul. And your business. It’s an extremely valuable skill.

Good writers are more successful in nearly every facet of life.

So start up that blog you’ve been thinking about doing forever. Or just start doodling in a journal every day.

Practice your sales skills

Yah, I know. I hate doing sales too. But it’s a necessary part of any business. Especially in the early stages when you’re starving for clients.

Think of all the mom and pop shops that have been forced to close due to the pandemic. Can any of them benefit from having a website right now? As everyone is now at home Googling from their couch?

Hit up Google Maps and start cold calling/emailing local businesses.

Study web design

If you’re still struggling with your current level of web design skills, then you should be taking every opportunity to study web design and immediately practicing what you learn.

Read the blogs, watch the YouTubes, listen to the podcasts. Then pick a web design tool and start experimenting with it.

Study SEO

SEO is a critical component of web design that is too often overlooked. What’s the point in having a website that no one visits?

Again, like a broken record I say:

“Read the blogs, watch the YouTubes, listen to the podcasts. Then pick a web design tool and start experimenting with it.” – some chump from like 10 seconds ago

Don’t over-complicate things!

Start a podcast

Sure, why not? Everyone is doing it.

And they’re doing it because there’s enough solid evidence to suggest that podcasting is the new blogging. I myself came around to the idea about a year ago.

You’ve got a bunch of microphones that are already recording you without your knowledge or consent anyway.

Why not use them to make a buck or two? 😏

Make a video

Sure, the YouTube gold rush is long gone. But it doesn’t mean you should avoid the platform entirely.

Video content is only going to increase in popularity as people find reading less and less interesting.

Better late than never.

Record a simple voiceover with your mic, then start with adding stock footage and simple animations.

3) Engage in Healthy, Upbuilding Activities

I’m doing my best not to lecture you on your habits. All I can do is talk about what’s worked for me personally, and why I think it will work for you too.

Read books

Reading is a lost art.

In the age of information overload, and overwhelming nonsense, being able to sit down with a good book for an hour or two is a skill. And like any skill, it can be learned.

I hated reading. Now I love it.

Check out my list of my favorite books if you’re looking for some inspiration.

Exercise daily

Cliche but true. A healthy body is a healthy mind..

And now that we’re all gonna be stuck indoors for who knows how long, you’ll need to work extra hard to stay active.

I’ve found a simple combination of running and kettlebell workouts works great for a home-based Quarantine Routine. (ooo Quarantine Routine… I should trademark that 🤔)

Eat healthy

Also cliche but true.

Your brain can only be as useful as the food you feed it. If you want to stay productive during your quarantine, you’ll need to feed yourself properly.

Listen, I love potatoes. Some people have even called me Potato Pat. But that doesn’t mean I wanna be one.

You know what I’m talking about. 🛋🥔

Learn a new skill

YouTube is perfect for this.

It’s also perfect for Cat Fail rabbit holes…

Like any other tool, YouTube must be used wisely to receive the greatest benefit.

I’ve also signed up for a free trial of Skillshare. It’s too early to tell whether it’s worth the $20/month subscription, but I’ll take the 60 day free trial and see where it leads me.

Maybe I’ll do a review post about it?

Keep TV watching to a minimum

There’s so much TV. Way too much TV.

99% of it is absolute filth that will pollute your mind. I really believe that.

Don’t succumb to the allure of the binge. Keep TV in its proper place.

Think about not just how much time you’re spending watching TV, but what type of content you’re watching.

Look for shows that are entertaining and refreshing. Avoid ones with dark themes and disturbing content.

You’ll find the search so difficult that you may just give up on TV entirely. (not the worst idea btw)

Along those lines…

Be mindful of what you’re consuming

With more time on their hands than ever before, most people are defaulting to their ingrained habits of consuming anything and everything.

There’s so much stuff out there about the Covid-19 pandemic. Much of it is simply not true.

And even the stuff that is true doesn’t need to be consumed constantly. You don’t have to keep refreshing that live blog on BBC News.

It’s important to stay balanced. Check the news in your area daily so you know your local government’s guidelines. But once or twice a day should suffice.

Don’t Waste This Opportunity

bored woman quarantine covid 19 1

It goes without saying that taking care of yourself and your family during this pandemic is your number one priority.

Doing anything you can to support your local community and healthcare workers is crucial as well. Staying home, not stockpiling goods and reaching out to people are easy ways to help.

But outside of those things, you will likely find a lot of time suddenly at your disposal.

Don’t waste that time watching TV and scrolling through memes.

Now is the perfect time to make some progress on your most valued goals. This will be a great test to see where your true priorities are.

Who knows where this Covid-19 pandemic ends.

At least let it be the start of something good.

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