Running a business is not easy, especially now that it's probably being run out of your house with limited resources. The shelter in place order and self-isolation hit me with a rocky start, but after some careful planning, I have been successful using my time for things I’ve been wanting to do, such as rebranding and relaunching Academe! Because of the virus, working with other people has been a challenge, and doing it on my own has been even harder. I won’t say I did it completely alone; shoutout to my parents, my boyfriend, and my friends for your support with the relaunch!
Running a business is hard enough as it is, and running it alone makes it even harder. Social distancing is necessary, but it limits the things other people can help you do for your business.
Rebranding Photoshoot When it came to the rebranding of the academe website, I decided to update the website and its pictures. After realizing studios weren’t booking shoots or renting spaces, I made my own. I Invested in a 50mm lens, a tripod, a couple of Muslin backdrops from Amazon, and got my dad to rig up a mount and a rod for me.
I’m comfortable being in front of the camera, and thankfully so because the quarantine has limited access to other models. As photography and YouTube being some of my hobbies, I already own a DSLR camera. But, because I had no one available to take the pictures, I bought a wireless remote control for my camera — a game changer, and started shooting! I would recommend doing 4 or 5 outfits at a time to pace yourself. Don't sleep on your phone's self-timer! I have been caught numerous times walking around the house looking for good lighting and a good place to lean my phone against (I also use an $11 phone stand from Amazon). All that is necessary for good photography on your own is natural light (sit/stand/place products in front of a window), a self-timer, and a tripod to stand your phone on (literally anything). Editing photos is a topic for another time, but all I will say for now is: less is more.
Finding the small things that you love and sharing those things has been the key to my content creation in quarantine. I love fashion and photography, and I had a lot of new clothes that haven't seen the light of day because of the lockdown. Even though it was a pain, after days of boredom, I finally got dressed like I was going out and took some pictures. I felt so great and productive -- it definitely got my creative juices flowing. And I didn't stop there. I also started to repost things that make me happy on my Instagram feed (like plants, landscapes, aesthetically pleasing drinks, etc.) with captions relating to what I'm feeling rather than a quirky caption. Not only does this make my feed look aesthetically pleasing but it gives my followers diversity in their feed and gives them something they can connect to other than just my face and body.
Now, posting to Instagram isn't as stressful when trying to keep up an image on your feed.
I also ended up filming YouTube videos where I went in-depth on my photo-shoot process. Subscribe to my channel for a notification when that video comes out.
I had the idea of adding brand ambassadors or a focus group to exclusively receive new products to promote on their social media platforms. While inquiring, a couple of larger agencies I was researching responded stating that their influencers wouldn't be doing any product sponsorships until further notice due to COVID-19. A lot of brands rely heavily on word of mouth and customer marketing on social media. A way around this is to use your friends and family. Giving people you know your products to try, wear, or review is a lot easier than working with people you do not know (unless that person is buying the product). Having an outdoor photoshoot with one or two of your close friends or family members can be a lot of fun. Get some music, some snacks, and your favorite outfits -- y'all are good to go!
Social distancing can make it hard and very inconvenient when it comes to running your small business, but it is not impossible. Though it may be just you, know that you are not alone. All of us small business owners are in this together. If you have a small business or know someone who does, comment them under this post. Let's follow each other and create a little community. In the wise words of High School Musical, "We're all in this together!"