Well this is all pretty crazy! Who’d have thought, just a few weeks ago, that life would look like this right now? No one saw this coming when we were setting our intentions and goals at the beginning of the year and mapping out our 2020 marketing plans. If you contingency-planned for this, I take my hat off to you. For everyone else, this is likely to be a time of great uncertainty and worry. But then, when has running a business not been a time of uncertainty and worry? Life may have thrown us some particularly sour lemons, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still make margaritas out of them. I wanted to take you through some of the things that you can do to look after yourself and your business during this time of just plain weirdness.
The great psychiatrist Fritz Perls said, “Fear is excitement without the breath.” The same brain processes and chemicals are involved in generating fear that create excitement, the difference is breath and oxygen. In times of stress, we often hold our breath or breathe shallowly, which only adds to our anxiety. By breathing deeply throughout the day, you are getting more oxygen to your vital systems, calming your heart rate, and telling both your mind and body not to be afraid.
While you’re feeling anxious and stressed, make some time for regular meditation, or even just sitting quietly breathing deeply for a few moments – that’s all meditation is, at its core, anyway. Not only is that practice great for your mental and physical wellbeing, it also helps you to quiet all those thought processes that are racing at a hundred miles an hour. It’s hard to plan what to do next when you’re in panic mode. Calm your mind and let your thoughts come and go more steadily, until you’re able to focus in on the constructive ones that tell you what you want to do next.
It’s not business as usual right now for anyone. If you’re not able to carry on in the same way you did previously, then you might be feeling a bit despondent. But it’s not time to give up yet!
Think about how you can adapt your business to your new circumstances. If you provide an in-person service, can you move it to an online setting? If you can’t deliver your offering in its usual form, can you transform it into a new one – for example, can you turn it from a product into a service, or from a service into a training resource to enable your customers to do what you do for themselves?
If your working hours have been curtailed by childcare, identify what the most profitable and popular parts of your business are that you can focus in on. How can you make the most money in the least time? Break down what you do into its smallest component parts and have a look at where each element and feature delivers value for you; identify the ones that give you the most return and are the easiest to adapt to your current circumstances, then put what time you have available for work into those. Remember to leave plenty of time to rest as well – you can’t work effectively or productively if you’re exhausted.
Running a business can seriously shake your confidence. So can motherhood! Both involve doing something massive that you’ve never done before, no one can really tell you how best to approach it or what it will be like, and you’re going to make a huge number of mistakes and have several meltdowns along the way. That’s fine. That’s normal. When something huge like this happens, it can put another dent in your already bruised self-belief. But remember, you can absolutely do this.
Look back at everything you’ve achieved so far. Make a list of all the goals you’ve reached, the money you’ve made, the customers you’ve gained, and every little win you can remember on your journey so far. Remember the setbacks you’ve encountered before (sure, none of them involved global lockdown, but they may have been just as major to you on a personal level) and how you overcame them. Remember that you did overcome them. So you can overcome this.
The trick is to keep going. Focus on your end goal, work out an alternative route to get there, and map out a step-by-step plan to follow that route. Then don’t stop until you get there.
You got this!
Allegra Chapman is a business mentor and marketing strategist for entrepreneurial mothers. You can currently book a FREE half hour planning session with Allegra to look at how you can adapt your business to the current situation – just email email@example.com.