The year 2020 will be one of the most challenging years in decades because of the corona virus epidemic that has been spreading around the world. And for self-employed people especially, everyone is trying to figure out how to switch to a predominantly digital business model.
Unless you are a specially trained medical expert, its hard to judge how long our governments will be requiring us to stay home and physically distance from each other when we go out. To say this is a catastrophe for in-person service businesses, is an understatement.
What we do know is that this situation is resulting in more and more human interaction having to be carried out using online tools. Self-employed people therefore need to learn new skills and master their technology so they can shift into this new reality.
As a business that has provided website services for over 10 years, I have a bit of knowledge in this area. I have put together a short list of links to tools and articles that I think present some useful ideas.
What I can’t do without
Double encrypted secured storage
Sync.com – Secure cloud storage* – this service is a replacement for competitors like Dropbox or Onedrive. Their servers hold data in Canada and encrypt what you store in such a way that only you can access it (end-to-end encryption). You can backup, share documents, access from any device.
I seriously could not run my life without a password manager. I tested out five of them and decided on 1Password, another Canadian company. It also can be accessed from any device. Basically, remember one password, and autofill forms with your login and password details. Great for families and businesses. For example, I have set up a ‘vault’ that I share with my son so that if anything happens to me, he has immediate access to accounts such as electricity, rent, phone and emergency contacts.
Video Conferencing Tools
I have used the following free and paid services. I’m not making any recommendations other than that everyone should remember to use provided security measures, like requiring a password to join the online meeting.
- Google Hangouts
- Google Duo
- Facebook Messenger
- Facebook Live
- Instagram Live
If you are doing anything that is confidential, such as counselling or medical consultations, please check if the service has end-to-end encryption, where only you and the user(s) can access what is seen or being discussed. Your registering body should have some guidance and suggestions for you about your legal requirements.
Other digital communication tools
In addition to the options in the video conferencing section above, here are three podcasting specific services which seem to be most commonly mentioned.
Yep landlines and smartphones still work for doing business.
There are a lot of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) apps and services, such as those listed above. I use Fongo for in Canada which provided me with a free phone number, but there are lots of other options.
Here’s a review list from 2020 which includes items from the video list above, as well as some others.
Texting / SMS
I personally dislike getting texts from businesses, but there are some very good uses for this method of communicating. Reminders for appointment times, quick communications, and etc. Many software-as-service tools offer an SMS option which you might want to consider.
Here’s an easy read article from HuffPost with suggestions for professional texting etiquette.
And that’s it for now. I hope this has been a useful summary.
If you or someone you know have something useful to add here, please let me know. Also, please pass this page along to others who may benefit.
This is a very stressful time for all of us for different reasons and its really important that we take care of ourselves and each other. If there is anything I can do to help you, please contact me for a free 45 minute consultation.
I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and are staying safe.
*Affiliate links – where indicated by a *, the link I have provided is for an affiliate program. If you use that link to sign up for the service, I will be paid a preset amount. I only provide affiliate links for services that I myself use and feel confident recommending.