I’ve done those exercises before … the one where you close your eyes and picture what your business would be like if you lost all of your instagram followers, your inquiries dried up and your current clients quit.
I’ve asked myself those hard questions and wondered what I’d ACTUALLY do if it happened.
Then COVID19 happened.
I’m not trying to make light of the terrible, awful things others have faced because of this pandemic. The sickness, the death… it’s heartbreaking. And unfortunately along with all of that came financial loss for so many – business shut down, jobs furloughed, unemployment rates rising. And for a small business owner like me – with a tiny, remote team and my main revenue stream an in person event – COVID19 hit hard.
In May, we announced that we were postponing our annual conference until 2021. I don’t regret that decision – even though it’s one of the hardest business decisions I’ve ever made. We refunded all attendees, applied for federal small business grants and took a good hard look at our business expenses – cutting anything & everything we could to help make ends meet.
I was 3 weeks postpartum when all of this happened and goodness there have been moments where I’m an emotional + mental mess. I miss planning my favorite event of the year. I miss the financial security. I miss my tiny yet mighty team.
I miss a LOT of things that “used” to be. But in losing my main revenue stream I’ve learned a lot, too. I don’t know if these lessons are the answer to all of our 2020 small business woes, but they’re a step in the right direction:
You have to be scrappy
I don’t know about you but I’m bootstrapping my biz just like I used to do!! Now’s the time to be scrappy. This is a season for resilience & persistence… against ALL odds. What else can you offer your audience? What new services or products can you introduce them too? Let the hardships EMPOWER you to get creative & think outside the box with your business & your revenue. As entrepreneurs, we know what it’s like to step out into the unknown and do something CRAZY. And running a small business during a pandemic is C – R – A – Z – Y! Keep pressing forward – every scrappy to-do is keeping your dream alive.
Remember your “sweet start”
Just like being scrappy – it’s time to remember the good ol’ days of getting our biz off the ground. I want you to harness that sweet start feeling! How did you first begin? What did you DIY to get your biz off the ground? Did you have late nights, early mornings & everything in between? Yet against all odds you had a DREAM and you MADE IT HAPPEN. You worked your butt off, googling too much & refilling that coffee cup x4. Yet even through the hard, there’s a sweet start to it all. I’m currently in a season that feels a lot like that “sweet start” – big odds seemingly stacked against me but persistence to keep moving forward through it all. Are you harnessing your sweet start feeling?
Focus on what has to happen
I’ve been forced to get back to the basics. I’ve been thrust back into what life USED to be like – before the team, before the financial security – back to the early days of bootstrapping my business. Not only are my 2020 Business Goals very different than planned, but my work hours are limited, too. This means I’m focusing on ESSENTIAL work-to-do’s. Right now, I’m saying a firm “no” to business tasks that aren’t essential. What do I consider essential? Two things: Marketing + Maintenance. Amanda Hedgepth taught me this strategy and it’s what’s kept my biz wheels turning!! Marketing: constantly showing up & reminding people what I do, why I do it & who I do it for; Maintenance: loving & serving my current clients & customers well. I know that even with limited work hours and new biz goals on my plate, these two things are PRIORITY and should be accomplished before anything else!!
It’s okay to be tired (& angry & annoyed)
We’re balancing a lot of heavy emotions. It’s okay. Feel them. Acknowledge them. But don’t let them own you.
Think of all the possibilities
When we found out we were officially postponing Round 10, I kept asking myself one big question: what now? I reached out to a few close industry peers and asked them that same question; Katelyn gave me some of the best advice when she said: Think of what you CAN do now!! Think of ALL the possibilities! Sometimes we get so caught up in what should have been. We get tied too closely to the plan. And when the plan gets disrupted, we feel lost + confused. That’s how I felt when I lost Round 10 this year. And I’m willing to bet some of you have felt that way, too. I took some time to feel sad & discouraged – I let myself mourn the change of plans (because change IS hard!). And then I started thinking about what COULD be (not what SHOULD be). I brainstormed. I asked my audience. I talked with my peers. And all the sudden my calendar-wiped-clean year seemed FILLED with possibilities … shiny, new ones. Ones I never would have planned for or even considered had the year gone as “planned”. What possibilities are in front of you right now? What new ideas, new offers, new biz adventures are waiting for you because of 2020?
If you’re facing big change in 2020, you’re not alone. If you’re facing unexpected adventure during this hard season, I’m right there with you. But instead of sitting here wishing & waiting for 2021, I’m pulling up my bootstraps and making the MOST of 2020. Are you?