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Give these Brands Some Slack

We all remember in 2020 during peak COVID scariness when anything we ordered online took forever. If you lived in the Midwest there was a 100% guarantee your USPS shipment got stuck in Chicago for weeks on end. And while things aren’t as scarce as they were in 2020, the end of 2021 still is having some pitfalls that are affecting brands that ship online sales.

Even more, small businesses that needed to find a niche to sell online during 2020 (to make up for in-person services or sales they lost during the quarantine); are suffering from what’s happening now. So what is happening?

Shipping is still an issue:

The queue of container ships waiting to enter Los Angeles’s and Long Beach’s neighboring ports hit an all-time high of 65 vessels this past week, and they’ll wait an average of 8.7 days longer to deliver their cargo.

The average transit time from China to the US is now 71 days, compared to 40 days in 2019…and you thought your morning commute was long.

Why it mattersThese California ports are the busiest in the US, and they accept the majority of imports from Asia. A snag outside their docks signals an economy-wide slowdown in getting goods → consumers.

To my esthetician clients! They began selling Korean or Chinese skin care products online to make it through the pandemic sales slump, they are now having to wait a long time to get re-stocked.

Product Price Hikes…Again?

Your local stylist to your behemoth Target? Covid-19 worker restrictions in Malaysia have caused the price of palm oil, a key ingredient in every bottle of shampoo, to skyrocket as much as 70%.

Travel restrictions in Vietnam are making coffee beans more expensive for companies like Folgers.

For now, its fine. It will be a really crazy time to buy things come Christmas though. Santa’s elves stationed at Target, Best Buy, and other retailers are scrambling for extra inventory in an effort to keep their shelves stocked for the holiday season.

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Staying Creative & Connected During the Ever-Lasting Pandemic

Ever since quarantine(s) started and things began to shut down all around us, I’ve found myself being faced with issues that I don’t have answers for. I am sure I’m not alone in thinking that I truly did not expect to be working more than much less, than not at all… While the state of the world remains clouded in so much uncertainty not too much has changed for me. I’ve always worked from home. Ironically I was about to purchase a studio before the pandemic because…I was sick of working from home. Surprise to me! Nevertheless, this is our current reality, and we must all find a way to adjust and adapt.

The Start

At the beginning of COVID, many businesses I’ve never worked with before realized the importance finally of their online presence and social media marketing. They needed to either be online or improve their online presence with SEO, social media marketing, and better websites. Thus, I was busy… Like I needed 8 clones of me – busy!

I started feeling guilty…

While other businesses had to close with the uncertainty of when they would re-open their doors. I remained opened and thriving…at first…

How I stayed creative: Well… I was busy! So it was easy!

The Middle

Once our economy began to tank and panic started setting in the brands that I work with on a regular basis stepped back from working and even marketing their brands for a bit. Understandable. We all had no clue what to budget for during the peak of COVID. Business slowed down and I got bored…

Something about me: If I’m not busy, I struggle mentally. I know it’s not technically healthy to have a go-go-go, hustle-hard frame of mind when it comes to your job. But I always have. When I had no work I sunk into deep deep depression just like so many of us. It was rough.

How I stayed creative: Reaching out and collaborating with others on projects is a great way to keep the creative energy going. I did just that and worked with brands who like me, are usually too busy to collab! Not then!

The End (Infiniate End of COVID)

And where I am now. A much better place mentally of course! And now that things are picking back and getting back to (semi) normal

How I stay creative: The importance of your mental health in these challenging times cannot be overstated. Looking after your own well-being is critical to the creative process, and meditation and mindfulness can be powerful tools for maintaining wellness. I’ve started taking yoga with Buti Yoga and even learned breathing techniques. I’ll continue to always keep my mental health flourishing to keep my creativity flowing.

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50 Online Tools Pro Business Owners Use

Social Media Tools

LaterSchedule Instagram posts and stories; as well as Pinterest, TikTok, and LinkedIn posts. Also, utilize the Linkin.bio tool to use links on Instagram.

HeyOrcaSchedule Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, & Google Posts.

Analisa.ioReady to hack your marketing campaign on Instagram? You can with Analisa.io. Analisa.io gives you a range of marketing tools for monitoring profiles and hashtags. You can use it to snoop on your competitors, monitor campaign performance, connect with influencers, and more.

BitlyUse it to shorten URLs when they start getting a bit too long and track your links better with this platform.

RafflePressEverything you need to make your next giveaway a viral success and grow your following!

Audienseis a social intelligence tool that allows you to discover new target audiences and segment them. Most importantly, it helps you understand your audience by telling you how they tick.

Oktopost – a social media management tool designed for B2B companies. It allows you to schedule your content and measure its effectiveness. Oktopost is also useful for curating content that is important for your business. And if you collaborate with a lot of people, it can help make things run smoothly.

IFTTTWith it, you can combine different tools together to create individual “recipes,” or sets of instructions. For example, you can set it up to send a tweet every time you make a new Instagram post. It’s a bit tricky to navigate at first, but you can use other recipes to simply plug and play. Best of all, it’s completely free to use.

BuzzSumo – One of the best tools we’ve found for discovering new and popular content on the web. With it, you can plug in a topic or a selection of keywords.

FeedlyBest known as a content discovery tool like BuzzSumo, but it works a bit differently. It’s a content aggregator, and you can use it to collect content from any number of different areas.

TweepiTweepi is a Twitter tool that helps you get more followers.

Sprout SocialAll-in-one social media marketing tool to help managers better control their efforts. It features multi-level access which makes it easy for managers to coordinate and delegate tasks to team members.

HootsuiteThis app is a simple but powerful tool for the average social media marketer to schedule posts and measure content engagement.

TailwindGreat for creating content on Pinterest and Instagram. Use it with Pinterest to pin to multiple boards at once, bulk upload, and schedule posts.

Brand24This gives you insight into what people are saying online about your brand. With this tool, you have instant access to mentions of your brand anywhere on social media.

VisageVisage is a tool that helps companies design social media graphics that are perfectly optimized for each platform. Visage’s graphics templates make it easy to manage your brand’s style and tone. That way, you can ensure consistency across all social platforms.

Veed.ioWhile a little buggy still, this is a great platform to add your audio to elements like soundwaves and more to enhance your video content.

CanvaWhile my least favorite tool out there since it tends to push non-creative users into having social media graphics that look the same as everyone else using Canva – it’s still great to create graphics, videos, presentations, and more on the fly.

Influencial – Want to jump on the influencer marketing train but don’t know how to begin? No worries, Influential‘s got you covered. Influential is a smart matchmaking platform that connects businesses with influencers.

Website Content Tools

UbersuggestUse Ubersuggest allows you to reverse engineer your competitors’ SEO so you can see how to beat them with keywords.

GrammarlyI don’t care what you do for a living, you need Grammarly which corrects your grammar and misspellings in real-time as you type…anywhere.

ProWritingAidTo get the full potential of this extension for Chrome and some other browsers you’ll need to use the paid version. Not only does this correct grammar, but it shows you things like your Readability Grade, Passive Voice, and more — which is essential in writing for web content.

Hemingway AppWant the features of ProWritingAid but don’t want to pay $20/month for it!? The Hemingway App could be a good option. It looks outdated, but trust me it does just as good a job and for FREE!

SurferGenerate a whole content strategy in a few clicks, and write data-driven content loved by search engines and people.

UlyssesThis app organizes your writing projects all in one place and helps you stay focused on each project. On a side note, I have many creative peers who suffer from ADHD and find writing apps to have too many bells and whistles that distract them. They love Ulysses for it’s clean and string forward use.

Yoast SEODownload the WordPress plugin if you use WordPress or use the Readability Analysis tool while writing content.

AhrefsBy far the best out there is Ahrefs. The minimum price is $99/month, however. This may not be affordable for some startups – but trust me when you can budget it for your SEO it’s worth it.

Local (SEO) Business Listings Tools

MozWant a one-stop-shop that will assess and then tell you where you need to add business listings or correct existing ones. Along with other FREE SEO tools use the Moz Local Listing Score.

Financial Tools

WaveOver the years I’ve tried many invoicing systems. Wave is still the best and keeps getting better and better. Send invoices effortlessly, manage payroll of your team, manage expenses, and all other accounting needs.

HoneybookI haven’t personally used this platform, but I hear good things for invoices, customers management, and more.

NovoConfused about where to go for business checking? Your local brick and mortar may not be the best choice. If you’re looking for the best in online business banking, Novo is fantastic.

Business News

Morning BrewBy far my favorite and the ONLY email newsletter I actually open every day. Their writers are creative as well as to the point. If you have an interest in the topics like what’s new in tech, investing, bitcoin, real estate, and other business ventures you’ll like it too!

Productivity Tools

LastPassLastPass saves your passwords in its encrypted password vault so you don’t have to remember all of them

AsanaI love this project management tool to show clients where I’m at in the project process. It’s also great for big teams to manage what is getting done within many projects.

PinstripedEver wonder how Fortune 500 companies run a meeting while you can’t get Becky in accounting to stop talking about her son’s lost tooth during a work conference call? Pinstriped is a great tool for just that.

FocusmateAnother great tool for my ADHD friends, this site really helps people who have to virtually co-work with another by eliminating procrastination. This also is a great tool to use if you have team members who struggle to stay on topic during Zoom meetings.

Learning Tools

HubSpot AcademyFrom quick, practical courses to comprehensive certifications, learn everything you need to know about the most sought-after business skills.

SkillshareNot sure how to make successful Facebook Live videos? Or fun social media content? Not sure about any aspect of your business and want to learn more. I guarantee there is a Skillshare course for it.

MIT Open CoursewareSpecifically the Entrepreneurship Courses, learn from top MIT professors on things like “How to Develop “Breakthrough” Products and Services” and more.

MasterclassI have to be honest Masterclass can be sometimes more entertaining than informational but still list-worthy.

Scheduling Tools

CalendlyThis is the top scheduling tool right now. There’s a reason everyone uses it! It works seamlessly!

Customer Management Tools

KeapCapture more leads and track them the whole way through they are customers. This is also a great tool for when you want to add more salespeople. You can automate the process with them easily.

Freshworks CRMWant a free version of Keap? Here it is!

Human Resources Tools

BambooHREasily hire and onboard employees as well as manage successful and legal offboarding when you need to fire employees.

Security Tools

SurfShark VPNGET it 83% off + 3 months FREE – Browse the internet safely, keep your identity secure, plus watch more tv shows and movies available in other movies on streaming sites.

ZeroFoxis a security tool that identifies and protects brands against hackers looking to take control of social media accounts. The platform also works to protect its clients’ social media reputations. They do this by removing offensive and intentionally disruptive content, eliminating impersonation profiles, and protecting followers against scammers

Business Podcasts

Love Your WorkDavid Kadavy is a best-selling author and creative entrepreneur who shares tools and inspiration for creators and solopreneurs.

Per our Last EmailRaise your hand if you love venting about the crazy ups and downs of freelancing life! Then you’ll love this podcast on Spotify too!

The GaryVee Audio ExperienceHosted by successful author, speaker, and CEO Gary Vaynerchuk, this podcast finishes off our list with a little something for everyone.

Working Without PantsAs the title may suggest, this podcast is unapologetically casual in tone, but that doesn’t diminish its value in the slightest. Jake Jorgovan interviews creative freelancers and consultants on how to attract clients and deal with the inevitable solopreneurial hiccups.