In these unusual times, I thought I’d just update you on what’s happening here at Kieran Harrod Design, how the government restrictions on the movement of people, closure of schools and support for the self-employed have affected what’s going on day-to-day.
If you’re unaware, perhaps visiting from outside of the UK and not up to speed on what’s happening here, then this is the brief overview. Every citizen in the UK should, with a few exceptions, remain at home and only have contact with those in their household. Those who work in key roles, health and social care, food production and distribution etc are able to travel to work and conduct their roles assuming it’s not a job that can be done from home. All other workers should if possible work from home. Where home working is not possible, and if the business remains open and able to manage “social distancing” in the workplace, then staff can travel to work.
Many businesses outside of key roles have shut down either through choice or necessity. The government has created a scheme for employees to be furloughed by businesses on 80% wages. This doesn’t cover the self-employed or a good number of other positions, though other sources of aid have been devised to try and help.
Britons can also go out to shop for essentials, food and medicine, and for one form of exercise a day, locally and for around 1 hour.
Schools have been closed apart from children of key workers who cannot make any other arrangement to enable them to keep their children at home.
What this means for me
As a self-employed freelance designer, one thing that won’t change all that much is working from home. I do that for a great chunk of the time in a separate office with a fully set up desk space.
Family circumstances, however, mean that for the first week or so of the lockdown, I’ve been in full childcare mode. To keep me sane we’ve done some school work (and big thanks to Horsley School for providing plans, tools and activities to use) but we’ve also had plenty of play and made the most of the timely launch of Disney+!
I’ve grabbed moments of time to work, but it’s not been the fantasy picture of setting children a task and having an hour to concentrate on projects!
I’ll not pretend I’ve not really enjoyed it. I chose to have kids and I quite like them, so spending time together has been a pleasure! But it’s not fiscally practical to keep away from work during the crisis (just like it’s not fiscally practical to keep away from work normally!)
I’m very lucky to have both excellent customers and a number of ongoing projects, so in the immediate future, I’ve work to get on with and deadlines to meet. As I’m now able to begin getting to my desk more, I’m working to complete these existing projects and continuing to create some great design work!
Projects that I quoted in the weeks before things went crazy have understandably been put on hold, so the pipeline is fairly shallow.
The current situation with Covid-9 means that I’m not receiving many regular enquiries for new work, many existing customers are furloughing staff, shutting down or simply not booking new work themselves.
There are I’m sure new projects being planned and I suspect folks who have less defined working days may be exploring side projects they’ve never had time to commit to. However, both visits to my site and actual enquiries have certainly dropped.
So if you’ve had extra time to work on that side hustle, or been able to think more about that project that’s always been on the back burner of business priorities, do get in touch, I’d love to discuss how we could work together to make something amazing.
I want to be as generous as possible to customers with outstanding invoices, especially those small businesses who have had to close premises or who cannot continue to operate in any useful way.
With everyone’s finances unclear, I don’t want to be that guy who makes people stress even more, but I also don’t want to be stressing about my own cash flow and these invoices are for work that has been completed.
It’s a near-impossible situation so I’m asking all customers with outstanding invoices to pay what they can if they can, and though I might send the odd reminder, I’m not chasing hard until things get back to normal.
This will leave me out of pocket in the short term, but my customers are excellent people and I want to be able to support them through this tricky time.
With so many things switching online, I can identify the additional pressure that my hosts servers are under from increased web activity.
There should be no interruption in services for any customer, but if anyone spots that their site is down, let me know. I’m sure it’s a temporary issue rather than a structural one.
The one exception will be for media content. I identify early in the design process clients who will need to regularly upload and serve larger media files. For such clients, I typically use Amazon S3 to host and serve these files. Such clients will know who they are. If you’re not one of these and begin to upload large audio or video files, we will need to explore hosting options or alternatives such as Soundcloud, Vimeo and YouTube.
If your site is already offloading files to S3, and you upload and serve more than usual, then you may notice an increase in the bill for hosting additional files (most clients get no bill as it’s covered in the standard usage terms of S3). Again, especially for video, I can’t help get things going on YouTube or Vimeo then embedding or linking for there.
My side projects
I think like many designers, I’ve always got some side hustle ideas that I never get time to work on. Whilst the immediate workload will keep me busy, I have a few ideas for interesting projects that may even be able to help support my small business customers and friends. More on that soon!
Two small things I have done.
Firstly if you’re offering services online for the first time and want a quick and dirty way to get it going, I’ve created a sample landing page to capture customers and create a recurring payment system using a verified PayPal account.
Ideal for services like exercise, yoga or pilates classes, makeup tutorials, cookery, dance & more!
Visit the sample site and give me a call, I’d be happy to help either by pointing you in the right direction, or making something similar for you.
Secondly, if you want a version of the Covid’s Hierarchy of Greed illustration that accompanies this page, then why not get yourself a keepsake of this weird time and grab a mug or tee from my TeeSpring store.