4 Things I Learned From Running a Small Business In a Pandemic

K this year was actually 5, am i right?

I keep seeing the coveted social media recaps and i swear anything that happened before June feels like 2015. Maybe it's just me... please confirm.

Regardless how long this year has felt it has brought a few good things. in 2019 my maternity leave was finally drying up. I took the 18 month option we have in Canada because I knew I probably won't be going back to work. I wasn't confident I could make enough money from this little business to stay home with my daughter, but it was worth a shot.

January I sat down with my boyfriend and made a scribbled chart on the back of a flyer we got in the mail. I wrote all my expenses and from that decided to just expect the bare minimum to cover bills. Up until that point I was doing well, but not great. After all, it was still a side hustle. I cried a bit. I was pretty scared - but we were doing the damn thing.

Just a couple months later we went into lockdown. Everything I knew up to that point revolved around craft shows and storefronts selling my products. I had to throw my plan out the window and just plain wing it. Which brings me to the next 18293423858497 months and what I learned:

If you put yourself out there, are real, show your face and be transparent - people will relate to you and find ways to support you.

This doesn't always mean buying from you. some of my best supporters have never purchased my products. But they always comment on my posts, participate in giveaways, tell their friends, share posts and events etc. Not everyone has the spare income to buy "wants" and I getttttt it. But, lots of people have really big hearts. They want you to succeed and interacting and spreading the word is an easy and free way to help you. I can't begin to express how amazing word of mouth is.

You don't always need MORE customers, you need to interact with the ones you HAVE

May 2020 was the highest revenue month I've ever had. Over Christmas, Over shows and full freedom. It was crazy! Locals spent their money to support the community. Were they home bathing and buying random stuff on the internet? probably. Did they choose to buy from me over box stores and drop ship services? Absolutely. I did the same thing and it felt so good to support others knowing they can put that money back into their businesses, families and community. I sent 5 packages this whole year out of Canada. I did no sponsored ads. I barely even used hashtags. (This isn't advice, it's probably a good idea to do that) It is just to relay the fact that almost everyone is within a couple hours of my city. 50% were repeat customers and almost the remaining 50% were friends and family of theirs

Learn to ride the wave - Stop avoiding things you're bad at.

This one is kind of weird. If you go remember to what I said in the beginning, my income was from shows and stores. I'd like to do a big 'ol face palm for that. My weakest areas were my website sales - BY A LOT. So now in the midst of a pandemic I need to figure out how to build my email list, update my site to be more appealing, SEO and get people to not abandon cart when they see shipping fees. I have no advice for this other than do some research, talk to people who's strengths are your weaknesses and just put the option out there. I did have to do some compromising with free shipping over $100 or offer porch pick up (in multiple cities at the end of it) but giving a little bit made it easier on customers and helped in the long run

Just get creative. It'll work out or you'll learn from it

One of the reasons I wanted to be my own boss to begin with was because I hate routine. I hate mundane tasks. I love risks. I love making decisions - even if they flop (and they will and have) Just try something new - it doesn't even need to be crazy or expensive. Want some advertising? go old school and staple some posters to telephone poles. dress up in a costume.. hand out samples.. offer incentives to join your socials or email lists. Toss some free stuff in orders just to say thanks. Have a referral options. try an exclusive item? Worth a shot!

This year has been super weird! I'm proud of everyone for pushing through however you did. I'd love to hear what helped you pivot during such unprecedented times!

#mojohydro #business #ideas #pandemic #learn #trynewthings #bathandbody #smallbusiness

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