What tools and apps did we fall in love with this year? Will any newcomers make the list? Maybe you will find out about tools that can improve your process. Yes, believe it or not, there are a few good things that came out of 2020 so let’s dive in.
Normalizing Working From Home
While we have been on lockdown, one of the best things to happen is that we have normalized working from home. As someone who has been self-employed for almost 13 years, I can tell you that people’s concept of how you work from home is often very different from the reality. Working from home can be perceived, especially by your family, as being available for everything else that isn’t work. Nope! Working from home means I am WORKING.
I think more people now have a better understanding of what working from home actually means and there is a greater appreciation for it. This means there will be less shade cast on those who choose to do it. It’s very challenging. You have to be super self-motivated to get yourself up and going every morning. If you don’t have a boss to answer to and you’re just answering to yourself, that’s harder than anything else. I just love that working from home is more normalized and appreciated now.
A Shift of Focus to Communities
What I mean by this is that more people are supporting and shopping small. More people considered local business owners and how to support them this year. How do we support that restaurant that had to close for 2 months? How can we support that hairstylist who couldn’t cut hair for 3 months? How can we give back to our community and support these small businesses so they don’t have to shut their doors? I think that’s a huge deal. Some people were already tuned in to that but this year really brought it to the forefront and saw people coming together to support their communities. That’s a good thing.
Appreciation for Essential Workers
I’ve always loved firemen, policemen, doctors, nurses, and the like. However, as a community, there is a much greater appreciation now than there even was in March. I’ve sure you’ve seen the pictures of the poor nurses who have been wearing their masks for so long it’s damaging the skin on their faces. I’ve done my best to self-isolate, but when I absolutely have to use go out and wear a mask for an extended period of time, I don’t like it. I can’t imagine having to wear all the gear these people have to wear for hours on end. They do it all while putting themselves at risk to help other people. They are just amazing to me.
Online Learning and Free Learning
There has always been a ton of information online but now that everyone is stuck at home, online learning has really come into the spotlight. Many places have even offered their resources for free because of the pandemic. Personally, I took this opportunity while being in lockdown to really launch our YouTube channel. Now I have multiple videos in a variety of categories posted on YouTube that are totally different than anything else I have available and it’s all free so go check those out! YouTube is a great resource for any kind of business owner. We also have IGTV posts, Facebook Live videos, this blog, and more. You just have to access that free information and put it to use.
I love StreamYard and use it for all my live videos. It’s also great for video meetings. You can use it to interview people live. It allows you to share your screen and schedule live videos in advance. The 2 things it does that no other platform does (Sorry, Zoom.) are allow to stream live to multiple platforms at once and it has some of the coolest branding capabilities. If you’re streaming on both Facebook and YouTube, for instance, you can see the comments that come in from both platforms and even bring them up on the screen for everyone to see. I am a big fan of StreamYard.
TikTok is Awesome
I know some of you guys are going to disagree with me on this, but TikTok is awesome. If you haven’t been on TikTok, I highly recommend you check it out. It is by far my favorite app. Of course, I got on there because I have to research all of the apps to answer questions and my first thought when it broke onto the scene was “oh great, another stupid Snapchat-like app exce[t with video, and I’m gonna be stuck watching a bunch of 12-year-olds dancing around.” Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of 12-year-olds dancing around but there are also some other great communities. There’s a mom community. There’s a firefighter community and a police community. There’s an entrepreneur community. There’s a body-positive community. There are all these different communities that have a very strong presence on the app and they are incredibly supportive of each other. Imagine if YouTube and Instagram had a baby and that’s TikTok. It’s very quick pieces of video and you should totally check it out.
TikTok made such a splash this year that Instagram had to answer back with reels. Reels are Instagram’s way of competing with TikTok. TikTok has been taking followers from Facebook and Instagram because it has a much more intuitive algorithm. If I like or comment on a couple of videos, the algorithm picks up on that and it gives me more of what I like. I don’t get the weird random dancing 12-year-old because I don’t like that stuff so it doesn’t send me that stuff. It pays attention to what you like and suggests things for you.
On Instagram, you have to basically be following the accounts to get the information. There is a for you page but to get on it you basically had to be famous or have a million followers. Well, lots of small business owners don’t have thousands of followers. On TikTok, anyone can show up on the for you page so to compete Instagram has introduced reels. Reels allow you the chance to finally show up on the for you page of Instagram without an incredibly large following. This also allows newer content creators to show up on the for you page. We’ve had a ton of success with reels this year with some getting over 900 or 1,000 views because we showed up on the for you page. You can never go wrong with video content. It gets such great engagement.
So this one is more of a personal than a professional one, but I love Disney+. I’m so glad they did that this year. With limited entertainment options due to the pandemic, being able to stream quality shows and movies has been amazing.
Regardless of the situation, you can always find a silver lining if you look hard enough. 2020 was hard but it wasn’t a total loss. There were some great things to come from this rough year.