WordPress is being used by millions and, as the Coronavirus circles the world, it is impacting the WordPress industry overall. At the beginning of this pandemic, I was interested to see how various WordPress entities are being affected, so I’ve reached out to business leaders and independent professionals in our industry to learn what they’re doing to keep things going.
With all the crazy past days, I wasn’t expecting lots of replies. To my surprise, many people made the extra effort to stop for a moment and share their thoughts with the rest of us. Each time I got a reply, I rushed to see what people are going through, what their struggles are and how they are holding up in such unexpected times that we’re living.
The things you will read are very different as people are going through various challenges. Some deal with adjustments for working remotely. Others are figuring out ways to keep their income and support their employees. Many are struggling with focus while dealing with an unpredictable future. And most end on a positive note and a feeling of hope and longing for togetherness.Coronavirus: 20+ #WordPress community leaders share their struggles, measures, and missions 😷 Click To Tweet
Even if each contribution is different, they have one thing in common – they’re being open. Showing weakness during these days is a sign of great strength. This is proving what I’ve first learned about the WordPress community: it all comes down to trusting one another and being authentic.
Hope you’ll enjoy reading these wonderful people and you will find the support you need.
The WordPress community shares thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges to come
- James Farmer
- Topher DeRosia
- Matt Medeiros
- Brian Jackson
- Marieke van de Rakt
- Matt Cromwell
- Adi Spiac
- Ryan Sullivan
- Francesca Marano
- Tom Zsomborgi
- Ionut Neagu
- Miriam Schwab
- Akshat Choudhary
- Ben Pines
- Rahul Bansal
- Vova Feldman
- Tim Soulo
- Puneet Sahalot
- Adam Connell
- Jean Galea
- Oliver Dale
- Barbara Saul
It’s inevitable that in times of global unrest and uncertainty people will be scared. I’m scared right now.
Indeed, many of us have had some pretty difficult times over the last few years, but speaking for myself – and I hope to a degree for Incsub – it’s in our DNA to work hard, look after our own, and prevail in the face of adversity.
And that’s exactly what we plan to do during this period.
We’ve built our company on the principle that people’s health, family and loved ones come before work. Always. And as all of Incsub is our family, we strive to look after everyone here as we would our own. Not just now, but always.
A work / life balance is something we all should strive to achieve. We normally give 35 days paid leave per year and encourage / insist that everyone takes advantage of that (vacations are good for the body & the soul!). During this crisis we’re also giving everyone an additional 20 paid days should they need it to care for themselves, their families and their loved ones.
And this isn’t new for us. When someone in our company experiences a loss, or has a medical issue, we always make it a point to cover their wages and help them as much as we can. After all, work is the last thing they should have to worry about during hard times.
More companies need to do this. To stop seeing their people as numbers and ‘just’ staff. And instead seeing them as vital members of your family. Doing that makes how we make decisions and operate during this, and any other crisis (or just the day-to-day), really straightforward.
In terms of our new working life, pretty much all of our team were remote before this started, so we already had a good head start on handling isolation. We already have regular video meetings, encourage everyone to build lasting relationships, and help stave off the feeling of loneliness that often occurs with remote workers.
And the same goes for a lot of our members! It’s not just WordPress support we’re providing now, but also emotional support on a personal level. Many live chat sessions have gone down over the last 30 days with members who often just want to talk about what’s going on in the world. We’re fine with that. In fact we’d encourage it.
And on that front we are also a founding supporter of WP&UP and continue to be an ongoing sponsor. They support & promote positive mental health within the WordPress community. We recommend them to everyone in Incsub (I’ve used them) so they have an outlet outside of WPMU DEV, CampusPress or Edublogs should they need.
Reader, if you could do with some help, visit the site, if you are of the level required to sign checks in a remote working company, especially in the WP space, I implore you to support them.
We’ve always wanted to be more than just-another-company-you-worked for™, this will never stop and the present times are, in fact, an opportunity for us to be better at that.
And in addition to that I’ve thought for a long time that we could do with some cooperation in this space (WordPress) along the lines of paid leave, other worker entitlements and, of course, mental health support for remote workers… especially in a time of crisis like we face now. So maybe, as a group, this is the opportunity to put something like that into place.
Your health, your family and your loved ones come before work.
If you’d like to discuss that more, let me know at [email protected] (my actual direct email, so please don’t be offended if I take a while to get back to you).
Stay safe and look after each other.
I remember very well the economic downturn of 2008 and the years that followed. The web development industry boomed, as well as the ecommerce industry. Businesses that stayed alive needed cheaper ways to communicate and turned to web sites, and many people who lost their jobs started their own companies. Many of those people needed online stores, but options were pretty limited in 2008.
I suspect this time will be similar as far as demand goes, though no promises of course.
If you’re in web development, there are a number of things to think about:
- You’ll probably soon have more work than you know what to do with. Don’t hoard it, share with other devs who don’t have enough. Check Forwardr for work opportunities.
- If you can, try to write some code that you can give away that will help a wide range of people. I’m making a simple business listing plugin for a friend so she can list all the physical businesses in her area and what they’re offering.
- Don’t burn out. Starting in 2008 I worked 8 hours at my day job, and then 4-5 hours every evening for 2 years. Eventually I quit my day job so I could focus full time on the work available.
- You may have the opportunity to make a lot of money during this economic downturn. This can be both good and bad. Use it wisely. Save some, pay down some debt, and put yourself into a position to help other people, whether financially or simply emotionally. Don’t abuse this opportunity, but use it to help people.
Again, this is all based on experiences from 10-12 years ago, and both the web and the economy are very different now, so I might be quite wrong. But I think we’re going to know within the next month or so.
I think WordPress specialists have a unique opportunity to help traditional brick-and-mortar businesses prepare themselves for the online world during this crisis. There are still so many small business owners that do not have a functional website or the means to set one up. The power of WordPress is the flexibility it offers through third party plugins and themes to quickly get something online that can actually help an owner’s bottom line right now. Now is not the time to quibble about the pixel-perfect design or which shade of blue converts best, but to enable e-commerce or online learning opportunities. This is something I’ve been offering for free to my local community.
Another opportunity is to teach someone how to build or “implement” a solid WordPress site for small business. There will be a big workforce displaced from these times and we can aid in creating new career or income opportunity for others. I’m a huge advocate for the blue collar digital worker and we are needed now more than ever.More of Matt's perspective in his video:
Watch this video on YouTube
I don’t think any of us planned that come Spring, we would be in the middle of a global pandemic. I know I didn’t. In regards to our businesses, it’s going to impact all of us (whether positively or negatively) at some point or another. Unfortunately, many of us have already seen or know someone who has experienced the ripple effects.
I own an ad-revenue based site in the gluten-free food niche, and it has already taken a 40% hit in revenue due to people no longer searching for the type of content I’m producing. It’s not surprising as nobody cares about eating gluten-free during a pandemic. This same type of thing is happening to thousands, if not millions of businesses and websites across the globe.
So what am I doing about it? Well, for one, I’ve shifted a lot of my focus on other projects that are generating more revenue for now. I’ve also reprioritized my tasks to ones that I know will directly impact my revenue immediately instead of those that are trivial things that merely needed to get done.
With that being said, if you are in a position where you can, I recommend not entirely ignoring things that are in a temporary dip. Why? Because things will rebound. It’s just a matter of time. Just like stocks, you won’t want to sell, just because things are down. You keep investing or keep at it; things will recover.
If you are already struggling and in crisis mode (I’ve seen many), take advantage of connections in the WordPress community. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Some might be able to offer you assistance or even work.
There are no perfect solutions in a situation like this. The best advice I can give is to not obsess so much on growth until this is all over. Take any actions you must immediately to ensure your business survives.
I’ve been an introvert all my life, and to be honest, I was already practicing social distancing before all this began. However, for those of you who are extroverts, I recommend utilizing technology like Zoom and Slack to stay in touch with your friends and colleagues. Just because you can’t socialize in person doesn’t mean you can’t socialize.
Regardless of your views or thoughts on COVID-19, I strongly urge everyone to take this time and practice responsible social distancing. Many of us have loved ones and elderly family members that are counting on us not to help spread the virus. We are in this together! And I, for one, will be hunkered down and working through this from home (and on the patio).
Marieke van de Rakt
The Netherlands 🇳🇱
I am an optimist. My glass is always half full. So, when someone asks me to share my thoughts on how businesses should tackle this new context, I am going to tell you an optimistic story. I would like to emphasize that although I am optimistic about the future, I really do understand what a terrible hard time this is for everybody. For me personally, this time is really hard as well. I’m having a hard time dealing with remote working while homeschooling my four children. At the same time, I am worried about my father who’s immune system is far from perfect.
WordPress is resilient
An economic recession is already happening. This will affect businesses. People have less money to spend. Agencies will have less customers, or customers with smaller budgets.
Still, people need to market their products. They’ll need websites. That will not change. And compared to other CMS-es, WordPress has the advantage of being really cheap and at the same time these big brands such as Disney and the New Yorker use it. WordPress will be a good alternative for people who do not want to spend big money on their website, but want to have a professional site nevertheless.
The WordPress ecosystem has been remote from the start. Of course, we’ll miss seeing each other at WordCamps, but we will be able to keep WordPress growing and evolving, even if we’ll be in this remote lock-down situation for a couple of months. Our community and our ecosystem will remain stable.
Yoast is resilient
As for our own company, I am also optimistic. We are experiencing a slight drop in sales, which is most probably due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we’re still profitable. When we started Yoast in 2009, the economic situation wasn’t that good either. We’ve managed to grow -even in times of recession. And, I’m positive that we’ll keep on growing, perhaps not as fast as we would have if this pandemic did not happen. Our product isn’t that expensive and search is a free way of attracting traffic (as opposed to advertising in Google). You just need to put in some time and effort in order to do good SEO. But if people have less money to spend, they might be more likely to put in that time.
We have to stick together. We build WordPress together and we need WordPress to thrive. Be kind to each other. Help each other out. Invest in WordPress, promote WordPress. I feel like in times like these it is important to help each other out. At the same time, it’s OK to keep marketing. You should make sure your tone is correct and you should not try to make a profit out of this situation. At the same time, we should keep doing our job. We’ll keep releasing cool new features of Yoast SEO and we’ll keep improving WordPress. We have to keep going…
At GiveWP, we’ve seen an increased interest in online donations. More people are visiting our site than ever before, and more people are starting to use GiveWP and purchase our add-ons.
Many nonprofit organizations previously relied heavily on in-person events for their fundraising and often neglected online giving. Things have changed overnight in that regard.
Because the need is so urgent, we feel a burden of responsibility to continue to provide top-quality tools and technical support to nonprofit organizations. We’ve heavily discounted our products during this crisis to help more people get the tools they need quickly.
Predicting anything in these challenging and unprecedented times is a step away from lunacy. So I see only one option, to stay positive and cultivate optimism. This is certainly not the end of the world, we will overcome this together and certainly learn a lot in the process.
As WordPress business owners we must be grateful and realize that we’re in a privileged position. Not everyone can do their work online. Not everyone can switch to a remote position without any downside. So I believe this privilege should also come with responsibility for helping others that are more strongly affected.
Over at Cozmoslabs, up until this point we used the same office for the entire team. We enjoyed the “rubbing elbows” sort of thing, the lunch salad we all helped prepare, the daily interactions, the face to face talks or brainstorming new features for TranslatePress.
However the recent events made us transition our team to fully remote. And because we had the right tools in place before, there wasn’t much friction involved in this transition.
Making sure each team member has all the tools he needs in his remote work environment is key. Just as important is encouraging non-work activities among team members, especially those that are known to have a positive impact on your mental state. Things like practising sports indoor, meditating, reading, learning new things, walking a few minutes daily or sun exposure.
We moved our biweekly meetings online and try to keep them short, useful and relevant to everyone. We continue to use Slack as our main communication channel, making it clear that we shouldn’t expect immediate replies and that each one is responsible for managing interruptions that may affect his productivity.
Clickup is our hub for tracking everything that’s happening in our business and gives us an overview of what each one of us is working on, what has been done and what’s next.
Remote work is not an option anymore, so we should streamline everything business wise, making sure our teams have all the tools they need to work comfortably, while encouraging non-work activities that reduce anxiety and increase mental well-being.
There are also quite a few things we can do to help others. If you have an office space, continue to pay rent, cleaning services, providers, even if just part of it. If you planned on attending events (or even sponsored them) that got cancelled don’t ask for refunds – if you can afford it. Ask for credit instead and use it in the future. They certainly need the cash now. You can support local businesses like restaurants by ordering to go / home-delivery or simply donate to organizations that help fight Covid-19. The possibilities are boundless.
WP Site Care
Whenever I encounter uncertainty in life or business I find the most helpful advice to be actionable steps and direction that I can take to move forward a little bit at a time. Tell me what I should do next. David Allen talks about this at length in his book Getting Things Done and calls it his Next Action principle.
As we go through drastic changes in life and business and an ever-changing virtual landscape, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I’d advise you to think about what you can do next. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by declining sales or unprecedented demand, don’t let the wave swallow you.
Put another way, remember the movie What About Bob? Bob follows the advice of Dr. Leo Marvin to take Baby Steps everywhere he goes. Itty bitty tiny little steps. Bob interprets it a little more literally than Dr. Marvin intends, but honestly? There’s nothing wrong with incremental and deliberate progress. Progress is progress.
- Just Keep Swimming
- One Day at a Time
- Eat the Elephant
Eli Doctor said “Writing is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
The same is true in your WordPress business and the uncertainty that lies ahead. What can you do in the next five minutes to get things moving in a positive direction? Do that. Then do the next thing. You got this.
What a time we are living! I don’t think any of us, from Boomers to Millennials, ever thought of having to rethink our lives and businesses because of a pandemic.
SiteGround has a strong office culture, with a long tradition of coming together at work and outside of work so when in the beginning of March we switched to a fully distributed work model to keep our team safe from the spread of the virus, it was a challenge for all of us. There are a few things we did to keep the morale high and stay engaged even remotely.
First, our Brand Manager, Dima Peteva, put together a remote working guide, which we decided to share it in our blog since we think it might be useful to other company facing a similar transition. We started a new Facebook group, only for employees, where we can stay in touch with more personal topics: just in the last week, we posted about our hobbies, easy recipes, productivity when you have kids at home. We started a Get Fit Challenge with live pilates streaming classes and other “challenges” so we can share common interests and keep ourselves healthy while isolated. We organized games clubs and prepaid accounts on various platforms so we can keep playing cards, boarding games, Counter Strike and others, together. And there are more things coming up weekly.
Equally, we take care of our clients. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen an increase in the new clients, which we think is due to more and more people going online while staying at home. Now they seem to have time to start that website they always wanted. So, what we decided to help them even further – and we further discounted our prices so that they get to give it a try at almost no cost. We also keep generating useful content as we collectively have a lot of know-how worth sharing and now seems the right moment to distribute as clients have the time to read it. You can check our blog for the latest posts.
As far as the WordPress community goes, I think it is the ultimate example of resilience and generosity: events moved from in-person to online with the guidance of the Community Team, and WordPress 5.4 was released with the help of over 500 volunteers at the end of March. Everyone is still giving selflessly, people show up to online chats and even Meetups that haven’t met in a while found that organising one right now was a good way to reconnect.
Contributors are taking more seriously than ever the responsibility of making the most used CMS in the world, so there is a lot of positive energy around contributing right now: if you want to start, now is the time!
I think we are phasing into a new normal: more remote work, more companies will go distributed, kids and teenagers getting used to online learning pretty quickly and I am an optimist. I think we will come out of this changed for the better: more organised, more patient and understanding towards each other, and with a higher sense of solidarity. In professional and personal relationships.
Hope you, your family and the Codeinwp team is safe and well! Yes, the past few weeks are shocking and something that the world hasn’t seen for a while, restrictions and terrible news across the globe. Businesses are heavily affected, millions are losing their jobs and this is just the beginning.
While I’m not an expert and I don’t want to act smart or someone who knows what’s going to happen – no one knows at this stage TBH – but I have a few tips that might help or the readers, business owners and managers could consider.
I would recommend you not to panic and stay calm so you can make the right business decision.
Teams working remotely for the first time will have some busy days, but I think after a few weeks they will be able to get on speed and start a new daily routine in order to be productive. And how knows, it can turn out that working remotely is not that bad at all! There are plenty of useful tutorials, tips, videos, and tools available for remote workers, they just need to search for it and start using them!
If your needs cash on hand quickly, discounts might be a good solution, but definitely not a good long term strategy. Benji Hyam summarized this in a Twitter thread pretty well and I have to 100% agree with him.
Marketing is pretty challenging at the moment. Marketing budgets disappeared for most of the companies or have been reduced drastically. But this also means an opportunity for those who can still spend some money on educating customers and keep building a relationship with them along with strengthening their brand. Dave Gerhardt is a very smart marketer (helped Drift for years) summarized this in a Twitter thread. I can only recommend his advice if you have money to spend, spend it on marketing and don’t slow down, you will see 10x return in the long run.
The media is now full of bad news and this can be very frustrating, a lot of people are anxious and stressed out. To find some positivity we have a #theresgoodintheworld Slack channel where all the good things are welcome, starting from the good news, cute baby photos or your cat doing silly things! Also, we have a #kinsta_is_good channel where we share positive reviews and messages from our customers. This brightens up our day every time we see a new message there!
During this isolation, it’s also difficult to maintain your social life. But our team came up with an excellent idea! It’s so simple but still very powerful. It’s called “Meet and Have a Coffee with your Team member ☕” You have a Zoom or Slack call with your team member and you drink a virtual coffee 🙂 You have a go-as-you-please 15-20 minutes conversation on anything, work or not work-related, hobbies, tips, books, movies whatever. I would recommend you to implement this type of meeting between your colleagues!
The WordPress space and “online content” is probably in a better position than 90% of other industries. We can all work from home and retain nearly the same level of productivity. Some companies might even grow during this crisis, as long as they manage to adapt to the evolving needs of the public (link).
Of course, that’s the best-case scenario for the WordPress space, and there’s literally no certainty things will play out like that in practice.
That being said, equally important, or perhaps even more so, is to think about the worst-case scenario and act like it’s just as likely to happen – even though the chance might be very small. Things like healthcare collapse, virus mutations, even more severe economic downfalls are all something we must think about, and keep finding ways to mitigate the risk.
The good news, I believe, is that sometimes the amount of personal effort needed to contribute and help prevent such situations is really really small. Like, nowadays, just staying home is enough. When the worst-case scenario is disappearance, no effort should be spared to prevent it. We, as a society, business people, can’t take this kind of a “disappearing potential” risk too many times (more on this idea here).
Think of it this way; if there’s a 1% chance we’ll disappear because of some event, and we take this risk 100 times in a row, we’ll lose. It might take us ten, 100, or 1000 years, but still.
🛍️ If you’re looking for ways to make remote work effective for your business, check out these in-depth resources:
- How to Work From Home (And Stay Sane)
- How to Stay Focused When Working Remotely
- Best Time Tracker Software Compared
- Best Webinar Software Compared
- 15+ Excellent Productivity Tools
At Strattic, we already had a semi-remote culture before the Coronavirus forced us all to work from home. Therefore, in many ways the transition for us was relatively smooth, and we’ve found that some aspects of our workflow and communication have even improved.
At the same time, there are many challenges between working with the kids at home, staying upbeat in the face of the unknown, and retaining company culture from afar. In this video I talk about some of what we’ve learned since going fully remote at Strattic.More of Miriam's perspective in her video:
Watch this video on YouTube
The impact of Covid-19 is already immense but over the next few months once the dust settles the total damage would have been unprecedented. WordPress is extremely popular among SMBs and this segment has been decimated in the past few weeks due to the pandemic. While they will recover, we should all brace for the fallout of this. All businesses will be cutting costs across the board and our community will be affected. But there will also be an opportunity – the shutdown of physical stores has been a shot in the arm for ecommerce. It will be natural for all businesses to further invest in their online presence. Our community is well positioned to assist them in this transition.
At BlogVault, we are focusing on providing effective 24/7 support more than anything. Our entire team is now working from home (no public areas) so as to do their best to self-contain. We are working with full steam to keep improving our product and will launch exciting new features over the next few weeks. We are also offering our product for free for 3 months to schools, nonprofits and direct-response teams in a bid to fight his pandemic together. We are in this together!
Building the right business and marketing strategy in light of COVID-19 is no easy task. Web creators should address it seriously, and devode a substantial time every day thinking about it, writing about it, and talking to other colleagues about it.
It’s hard to grasp the financial implications, and that’s why I think a simplified and relevant version of what happened can help:
As SMBs suffer losses, they are less likely to invest in their site. Marketers, designers and developers who provide digital services have already started noticing a decline in business, as many have commented on our Facebook group.
Some web creators have adapted to the situation. They have tweaked their services to accommodate to relevant services and products which have grown in demand. I wrote about it on the Elementor blog, and so did Rand Fiskin.
So, what can web creators do?
- Build an online course and teach some of their skills. Many are seeking to learn and consume content these days.
- Focus work on relevant WordPress websites. Transfer brick and mortar stores to online WC stores. Build sites for health-related businesses. Create a YouTube channel. Develop membership sites.
- Spend the free time to develop new skills and hone the ones you already have.
- Transfer your work to WFH (work from home). This means more focus on your proposals, since you don’t get to meet your clients face to face. This also means building processes for connecting with your clients through video.
There are many other ways web creators should adapt to the situation. They just need to understand the current situation and change their strategy accordingly.
We have seen a few deals in the closing stage going on indefinite hold in the last few weeks due to COVID-19. So we are expecting some decline in our agency revenue. As a debt-free and cash positive business, we can withstand the impact without affecting our team. Also, as are remote, the team is delivering existing projects without delay.
Just to play safe — as it can still get worse from here — we have slowed down new hiring for one month. For folks already hired and awaiting joining, we have sent emails reassuring them that their employment opportunity won’t be affected.
As a distributed team, we, at Freemius, are already used to working from our home offices. Most of our selling partners are indie plugin & theme developers or small distributed teams who also work from home. So, luckily, current events have had almost no impact on our day to day operations.
Also, from my acquaintance with the WordPress community, I feel that we are all in much better shape than many other ecosystems. Most of us are tech-savvy, comfortable with the online world and distributed work, and heard of Zoom before the pandemic 😉
That said, we already see a few verticals getting hit by the COVID-19 situation more than others, especially plugins & themes targeting events and tourism/travel. Regardless, except for a ~10% decrease in sales volume in February, it seems like plugin and theme sales are growing steadily.
In these challenging times, I can’t stress enough the importance of transitioning into a subscriptions-first, SaaS-like business. While COVID-19 has an unprecedented global economic impact that’s impossible to ignore, we’ve already witnessed how smaller-scale changes, like updates in Google algorithms, can “kill” companies. To help more plugin and theme shops join the subscriptions economy and build sustainable & resilient businesses, we, at Freemius, are starting a new fund, which we’ll be announcing on our blog very soon.
While we can’t predict the future, overall, we actually believe the situation will drive more money into our industry as businesses will be pushed to adopt digital-first practices. Additionally, people that have lost their jobs and are now stuck at home will be looking for alternative sources of income online. Overall, it will lead to more websites and more plugin & theme purchases.
We are already witnessing a ~25% increase in new developer registrations. Developers are looking for additional revenue streams, and Freemius is a compelling solution for them to get to market quickly and affordably.
So generally, we are quite optimistic. I want to use this opportunity to wish all my WordPress friends easy quarantining. Stay home, healthy, and safe! I’m hoping to see you in WordCamp EU/US 2021, having drinks, laughing, and talking about how crazy 2020 was.
Here at Ahrefs we’re clearly seeing more and more customers cancelling their accounts because their business has suffered (loss of website traffic, loss of clients, etc) and they therefore look to cut their expenses to keep their business afloat. So our own business has already suffered from the situation as well.
But despite the fact that our business was hit, we still wanted to support our customers and our CEO and Founder Dmitry Gerasimenko has decided to offer all Ahrefs customers on lower subscription plans (and that is more than 2/3rds of all our paying customers) a free no-questions-asked account extension.
Props to @ahrefs for giving lite subscription users a free month subscription during these tough times—I'm sure lots of small businesses and consultants are very grateful to you all right now. pic.twitter.com/0HLRpHocG7
— Daily UX Writing (@dailyuxwriting) March 27, 2020
So all in all, we’re trying to support our customers to the best of our ability and we’ve seen many companies in MarTech industry do the same.
COVID-19 has been a major setback for a lot of us in the WordPress community. Starting from the cancellation of WordCamp Asia followed by WordCamp Europe and several other WordCamps. The outbreak has affected all of us.
Difficult times like these help us re-think our approach towards the world not just from the business perspective but also as a part of the community, how we can help each other.
After this outbreak, we sent out an email to our customers to check-in if they are doing fine if there’s anything we can help them with. We were overwhelmed by the responses we received and a learned a lot about how families and businesses are facing this situation bravely.
I believe we all rely on one-another to keep the business going. It’s not just restricted to our customers or team. It’s a complete chain that needs to remain functional. For e.g. a lot of our customers build WordPress websites for small businesses, several of them provide monthly care plans, SEO packages, etc. The majority of these businesses were working with brick and mortar businesses that had come to a halt. So, eventually, it impacted our customers, their business and ours too.
As a business or an organization, we can prepare ourselves for such events so that we can stay afloat, functional, and minimize the impact as much as possible. Here are some suggestions:
- Stay organized: The first and foremost thing that can solve a lot of problems is to stay organized. Using the right tools for communication, project management, reminders, etc. can help you work from anywhere, anytime.
- Try to maintain a distributed team: Not everyone’s business might need this but it’s good to have a distributed team or a completely remote team. Even when you are only a few people working from an office, it’s a good idea to allow people to work from home.
- Save and Invest: Save a decent amount of income to prepare yourself for rainy days. Not just yourself but for your business as well. It can be difficult for a lot of businesses to stay afloat in such situations when there is no or very little revenue. So, everyone who is a part of the business gets impacted and people lose their jobs. This is when little savings for the business can help you keep going without impacting the lives of those associated with the business in negative ways.
- Diversify: Diversify your business in terms of products, services, or clients whatever is possible for you. Not every business can offer a wide range of services, some specialize in a few things. Such businesses can have some fun-side projects that can bring a little extra income or have clients in different locations. So, just like your distributed team, having a distributed client base can help you sustain.
- Keep Learning: This is one of the things that businesses miss out on. The learning path often reaches a dead end with an increasing workload. This acts as a barrier to diversification and growth. So, invest in training yourself, your team-mates to help them learn and acquire new skills.
- Establish Relationships: Establishing a strong relationship and trust among your team-mates and customers. This will help you run your business smoothly especially in such difficult times.
These are the things that have helped us, our business through these difficult times. Despite being under lockdown, our team has been able to work from home efficiently.
Thankfully, my business hasn’t seen much disruption initially in terms of how we work. However, traffic and revenue have declined since the outbreak started.
We’re set up to run 100% remote without issues and the team is used to working remotely so the social distancing is somewhat business as usual.
As a result, we didn’t need to implement any new systems or processes in our business.
In case it’s helpful, here’s our content publishing tech stack:
- Google Drive – The majority of our business files are stored here. It’s convenient because it’s easy to share with anyone who has a Google account and you can monitor file changes, etc.
- Notion.so – This is our go-to tool for project management. From our SOP’s and internal learning resources to our editorial calendars & planning work. What’s nice is that the drag & drop nature of the platform allowed us to create something that fits how we want to work. Notifications are built-in and it’s especially great for teams.
- Google Docs – Google Docs integrates directly with Google Drive which makes it especially easy to collaborate and keep files where they need to be. The best part? It’s completely free for anyone to use.
- Communication – Real-time communication has never been too necessary in my business so email communication has worked fine so far. Given the additional social distancing, we may consider moving to Slack soon.
- LastPass – We use a lot of different tools. A spreadsheet of logins can work but it’s not very secure. LastPass is a great solution to this.
Now, it’s difficult to see how things will play out over the long-term but whatever happens – we’ll get through it. Regardless, we need to stay calm and support each other as much as we can.
On a personal level, I’m trying to stay informed while distancing myself from mainstream media as much as possible. Mainstream media has a sort of a foreshadowing effect. For example: most people didn’t start panic buying until it was discussed on the news.
Let’s be good to each other and stay safe.
This excerpt comes from Jean’s post on the topic of Coronavirus and how it affects us:
The key takeaway from all that is happening, in my opinion, would be this: Don’t panic, but don’t stick your head in the ground like an Ostrich either.
If you feel like the whole world is ending and all you see around you is panic, I invite you to take a look at the facts. Switch off your TV, quit Facebook and Twitter, and think. You cannot trust the media to give you reliable information, because their job is to sell advertising. For that, they need more and more traffic, and fear and panic are the drivers of that traffic. Learn to understand what people’s incentives are.
There is no scope for panic. There are some tough times ahead but if everyone does their bit and tries to adapt to the new reality we will get out of this quicker and be back to normal.
Since the start of the Coronavirus crisis we have seen traffic fall on some of our sites and an uptick on others. We are entering uncertain times and a once in a lifetime event for most people on the planet right now. We are lucky that our team is already fully remote so we are able to continue as usual at the moment. As a business owner it has been my job to communicate and reassure our staff that business is continuing as normal. We have offered additional help to anyone who needs it and made available any extra software that our team might need.
It’s a shame to see profiteering in some areas as now as the time for us all to pull together to get ourselves through this event. I truly believe in the strength of the human spirit and think humanity will come out the other side of this stronger. I also think this crisis will change things for the better eventually and we will see more companies realize that remote working is a viable option as people will spend less time commuting which allows them to spend longer with family and friends.
What a time this is! And we, at WP&UP, are thankful to be here to support people within and beyond the WordPress community. So many more of us are having to work remotely, all of a sudden, and this can be quite a shock to not only them but those who are at home already. We are all having to find a new way of working and managing that work/life balance from the same place.
WP&UP has seen a significant rise in support requests in the past couple of weeks, with peer support also growing within the community. We’re open to you all – join us via wpandup.org/join. Each week we hold an #OpenChat, on Fridays at 15:00 UTC and already this has been welcomed and resulted in the increasing number of participants cheered and feeling less isolated. That is what we’re here for, and to provide as much support as we can, whether directly with people or through useful content on the website.
Something I personally have loved is the community spirit, online and offline (but virtually – Facebook, Next Door, and the like) – with local communities coming together to support each other, and online communities growing in spirit and openness. It may be that my love of community enables me to see this, but I do hope this spirit continues beyond the current situation. I think it will and that is something very positive to come from this terrible time.Go to top
I’m grateful for everyone chipping in and sharing their thoughts in such busy times. I also empathize with those who couldn’t join this roundup while struggling to keep up. Days are going by incredibly fast when you have to manage both family and work at the same time – and from the same place.
All things else left aside, these thoughts are a proof that our community is strong and, eventually, this too shall pass! How will we later look back on our decisions today? What would we have learned then that we cannot grasp now? Even if the effects are not fully foreseen yet, as part of the global economy, WordPress too will suffer and will change. Only time will tell how.
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