2020 hasn’t been pleasant. Prior to the pandemic, life was good. My start-up was growing, working towards its goal of disrupting the plastics industry. Then – BAM – Covid!
Watching the death tally inch higher and higher gutted me. I was terrified, not knowing what was going to happen. I was heartbroken because my business, which was named one of the top 50 to watch clean tech companies globally, was suddenly at a standstill, and I couldn’t do a damn thing about it.
An NBC News Article illustrated how women share an unequal burden during this pandemic. Women make up only 39% of the global workforce but already account for 54% of COVID-related job loss. I live in Oakland County, Michigan, and here, already 25% of small businesses had closed permanently by mid-September.
As a female business owner, these are the five strategies I’ve used to help me fight through the dumpster fire that is 2020.
Be Patient with Yourself.
To be honest, this is one of the hardest lessons I’ve learned. I’m not a patient person. On top of that, I’m really hard on myself. At one point, I actually started blaming myself for not seeing a global pandemic coming.
But when the lockdown happened, and I literally had zero choices but to stay home, I was quickly forced into a situation where I had to learn to be patient. My learning curve was steep, but it’s working out pretty well. My husband and I were planning our quarantine Thanksgiving dinner menu, and I asked him what he was most thankful for this year. Without any hesitation at all, he said, ‘you learning how to be patient.’
Start small with learning patience. Take a deep breath and count to ten. Keep going if you need to. Sometimes I get all the way to 50.
The year we all need a hug is the year hugs are literally outlawed. Next week, my friend and I are having a virtual hot cocoa extravaganza. We are planning to sip hot cocoa together virtually in our finest pajamas because it’s what we can do right now. These little virtual festivities have really helped keep me going, so give them a try.
It’s hard talking about feelings too. I’m pretty shy and come from a family that doesn’t not under any circumstances, talk about feelings. However, I’ve had to during 2020. Besides my squirmy and visually uncomfortable relatives, everyone has been really receptive and respectful. The day after the election, I was on a call and confessed that on Election Night, I’d stress eaten an entire bag of Doritos. It turns out I wasn’t the only stress eater in the group, which made me feel better.
You can start really small here and just call a friend. I’m sure they miss hearing your voice too. I’ve done this with friends, my grandma, and have even fallen asleep talking to my favorite cousin.
Reevaluate Your Brand
My company sells B2B, and our marketing was mostly in-person pre-pandemic. 100% digital marketing is a HUGE change that I frankly wasn’t ready for, and I’m currently still working through my love-hate relationship with the internet. Things were so bad that I made a Twitter account, and it got suspended before I ever tweeted.
However, I know that the only way I’m going to bring in the new business right now is to do it digitally. Start small here too. Pick a social platform that fits your business and research your competition.
Plan for the Future
COVID isn’t going to last forever. I’m a forward-thinking, goal-oriented person so I’ve spent a considerable amount of time during COVID planning for the future, both business and personal. Preparing to launch my own line of sustainable home and housewares products– is my pet project.
You can take a smaller step, though. Plan your dream trip, and make a virtual vision board on Pinterest. My husband and I did this for one of our at-home date nights. FYI – We are going to Greece.
Remember you are an Entrepreneur – You Eat Problems for Breakfast.
You are an Entrepreneur. You are resilient, and your superhero powers are evident. You eat problems for breakfast. You can and will work through your problems and this pandemic and find a solution that is best for you.
Remember, you own a business, which means you can decide what your business does, which is the flexibility you wouldn’t have in a 9-5 job. Think about the time we are in now and plan strategically about how you can incorporate the new normal into your business.
I’m not telling you to drop everything and start making hand sanitizer. I’m thankful to those that we’re able to help with this, but it wasn’t the right option for me and my business. Instead, I took some time to think about an immediate, short term, and long term plan. Follow that path, and remember why you became an entrepreneur.
I think about you every day, fellow small business owners. I can feel your pain and frustration. Just remember – You are not alone in this alone. There are 11.6 million other women business owners in the USA, just like you. Be patient, seek support, reevaluate, plan, and remember your superhero powers.