I’m a dab hand at working from home I know, I know.
When I first embarked on the road with freelance writing and marketing, it felt distinctly lonely. I’d had 27 years of banter in a classroom and staffroom with staff and students, and to be home alone was initially disconcerting.
Not any more though.
I’ve seen two camps on social media and in real life – those who actually miss the act of going to work and others wondering why they didn’t bin the bosses and commute years ago.
I used to be in camp #1
Routine of daily, short treks to school as an English teacher defined me. The morning briefings, registration and daily churn of teaching meant it was full on social interaction for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. Exhausting? Yes. Stressful? Yes, at times. Fun? Yes, it could be, with the right students and management.
Now though I look back and think, why?
Why did I continue in a job for so long? Was I institutionalised? Yep. Did it pay well? I used to think so, but I can earn more now in a week than I could as a month as Head of English. Did I work harder then or now? Now. Which makes me happier? Teaching or web design. Patently bleeding obvious it’s the latter.
April and May 2020
“April is the cruellest month” according to TS Eliot, but for me, surprisingly, those 30 days have been my most profitable. I’ve had over 3000 website visits – or 100 per day on average, from a starting point of 400 five years ago. I’ve taken 3 or 4 websites orders each week, meaning the order books are full until July, almost.
You can see my updated portfolio here.
Coronavirus and lockdown
I’m in little doubt that lockdown has nourished the success of this business. I don’t know about your financial circumstances – but our spending has dropped to a trickle with one big supermarket shop a week. There’s been no spending on clothes, petrol, alcohol (although the rest of the world is apparently drinking more) or eating out. We’d go to Norwich most weekends and eat lunch and dinner there (dinner and tea to northerners) and spend without restraint.
I look at my bank balance now and it sits like my car’s fuel gauge – almost full.
Of course, I realise, with retirement in April and a teacher pension and lump sum, I’m not short of a bob or two for a rainy day, but why does it explain record profits in a month when money is tight?
Time on your hands
You and I, your business, may not be cash rich but you’re certainly time rich and with little to do apart from a daily exercise, a weekly shop and some DIY or gardening, we’re all heading for that missing social contact online. It’s obvious, isn’t it? And I think, like when I was in employment limbo, in November 2015, that there’s time to think.
Think about your own future, your own ambitions and how you’re going to rouse from this consumer deep sleep, when it ends.
Sleepwalking into recession?
Possibly. I’m certain the high street and consumer habits may never ever revert to old patterns. But if my family’s own restricted spending habits are anything to go by, there’s money and pent up demand to consume out there.
If you’re pessimistic about the future, post-lockdown, I’d suggest you’re looking at it the wrong way.
We will be eating out, shopping, having city breaks and cottage holidays at home when this horrible virus dissipates – your company’s marketing needs to take advantage of this surge that I think is eminently possible.
Now is not the time to slash marketing, strangle your digital presence – quite the opposite, you need to plan and invest wisely for eager consumers like me who’s ready to splash the cash big time, once released.