Disclosure: This post is sponsored by GoDaddy. All opinions are my own.
Like many other business owners, I began 2020 full of hope and optimism.
In December of 2019, I spent several weeks developing my 2020 playbook. It consisted of financial projections, learning and development goals, new customer acquisition plans, travel itineraries, and content ideas for my website and social media.
The new year started off pretty well. I managed to secure new advertising clients. I was selected for several influencer campaigns. I was a regular guest on local TV and radio shows. But my biggest win was a major contract from a government agency.
Things started heading downward in early March when COVID-19 began spreading rapidly across the U.S. These developments hit my businesses hard because March and April were supposed to be two big months.
Every March, I work with a client to put on an event called Project Prom dress. It is a drive to provide prom dresses, accessories, gift cards, and money to low-income students who otherwise would not be able to attend prom.
We had to make the hard decision to cancel the event since it required face-to-face contact. Also, school closings were a major factor in our decision.
Canceling this event meant I would not be receiving a payment that I had already budgeted for. That hurt.
The next major blow came when my long-time client had to close his art gallery due to a lack of sales.
And my major government contract was placed on hold indefinitely.
I even had to cancel my first photography exhibit where I planned to showcase my work and sell a few prints.
Soon, clients decided not to renew contracts and requests for my services started to slow. Within the span of a few weeks, I had lost several sources of income. I didn’t know how I would make it.
The weight of these things caused me to feel anxious, angry, and uncertain about the future. Thankfully, I have a partner who is patient, kind, and encouraging. One night while I was wallowing in my fear, she said these words to me: “I know you’re feeling stressed right now, but give yourself some grace. I know you’ll make it through this. You always do. And I’ll be by your side every step of the way.”
After hearing those words, a tremendous burden was lifted from my shoulders. I stopped worrying and started thinking about creative ways to rejuvenate my business and pivot.
I thought about what my customers needed during this slowdown and figured out ways I could help them achieve their goals. With these things in mind, I developed my short-term business plan:
I’ve been working with small businesses and nonprofits to write their COVID-19 communications and business response plans.
I’ve created fun online challenges to keep people occupied and help them take their minds off what’s happening around them.
Go Back to Basics
After getting out of my funk, I’ve gone back to doing the things that helped my business grow in the first place: Creating engaging content, developing advertising and marketing plans for myself and my customers, connecting with people through social media.
Do Things Differently
A large portion of my business was developing and managing live events. Lately, I’ve been developing online courses and events, meeting with customers via Zoom, and working with brands as an affiliate partner.
Learn New Skills
I’ve signed up for several online courses to sharpen my saw and increase my knowledge. When my clients are ready to buy again, I will be ready with new skills and services to serve them better.
I like to remain in contact with fellow entrepreneurs to brainstorm and share experiences. GoDaddy has made that easy with the #OpenWeStand microsite. I go there for resources, inspiration, and connection to other entrepreneurs during COVID-19. Having a community of people who can relate to your current circumstances and business dilemmas is invaluable during this period of uncertainty.I’ve also found ways to make a few extra dollars. For the past few years, I purchased many domain names. Most of them have languished because I haven’t done anything with them. During this slow period, I decided to put them to work by purchasing Cash Parking on GoDaddy. I’ve also listed them on the GoDaddy auction site. I hope to sell a few of them quickly and invest the money into my business.
In the midst of all of this, I’ve also decided to place an emphasis on self-care. These include:
- Visiting friends and family virtually through Zoom, Facetime, Facebook Live, and other platforms.
- Avoiding the news (this one is the hardest because I like to stay informed)
I would love to hear what you’re doing to keep your business moving forward and taking care of yourself. Please let me know via social media. You can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.