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covid 19 can suck it
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COVID-19 CAN SUCK IT!

Being the owner of a small business consulting company that specializes in helping small businesses get off their feet and start generating their own money, I have a lot of living to do and a lot to give. 

I started the company 2 years ago in October and I’ve worked hard to get our business where it is today. A year ago we reached an important milestone: a full year in which we didn’t have to seek out any new clients. 70 percent of our business that year came from returning clients and referrals.  And last year I was so busy that I had to turn new clients away.

After nearly a decade of self-discovery and development, I felt my work was finally paying off. I even had an offer for permeant contract work in Melbourne and I was going to leave my full time job to be self-employed.  

That all ended the moment the Coronavirus wave came crashing down (Covid-19 can suck it!).

The day after a state of emergency was declared to fight covid-19 our first client asked to cancel their service agreement with us. “startng my business just isn’t a luxury I can afford right now,” they said. The next day the same request came from two more clients. The following week we lost our second-biggest client. The hits kept coming and by last week, nearly half the income my family depends on had evaporated completely. 2 years of blood, sweat and tears lost in a matter of four weeks thanks to sucky Covid-19. 

And still I know the worst is probably yet to come.

I used to get excited every time the business phone would ring because it almost always meant a new customer or a new sales order. Now I dread the sound. Today it invariably means another client is calling to say they can’t do it because Covid-19 really fucked them up.

I don’t blame my clients, of course ― they’re almost all business owners themselves and are facing unprecedented circumstances of their own. One small business owner  told me he even had to let his brother go. But knowing my clients are justified in leaving doesn’t make the bitter pill any easier to swallow. 

Perhaps the hardest part of watching our company crumble is feeling helpless to prevent it from collapsing further. I’m normally a proactive person and when something is broken, I’m quick to jump in with a fix. In this case, I’m not even sure where or when to begin. My go-to method of putting my head down and pushing forward isn’t working this time because replacing old clients with new ones has proven nearly impossible. Most companies aren’t looking for new advertising opportunities at a time like this ― and those that are lack the requisite finances to do so no matter if they got the Covid-19 wage subsidy.

Especially because I know I’m not alone. Unemployment numbers rising, I know I’m just one of many facing the same ― or much worse ― economic conditions. I feel for business owners who’ve had to confront the additional emotional burden of letting employees go and know it weighs heavily on their minds.

I worry even more for their former employees. My team generally consists of independent contractors, so officially we haven’t had to let anyone go or sever any partnerships during this crisis. But I know that we are receiving far fewer assignments and we’ve worked especially hard to keep any opportunities on the table that we can. 

The truth is I feel resigned to this temporary existence. I’m trying to keep as many balls in the air as possible while giving my all to the clients I have left. I’m also spending more time than ever on my knees.

And yet, there are silver linings. It’s true that you often don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Even though I feel the losses of my company, this situation has reminded me to hold onto what I have with deeper appreciation and get creative and take advantage to what Covid-19 had brought to the table.

I have developed my Company in such a way that we are now 70% online, I was forced to review my costs and automate my processes and as a result I am even able to reduce the prices I charge to my clients and become increasingly competitive.

Sure I ended up scrambling into survival mode but I have reduced my over-heads considerably, encouraged my suppliers to do the same and we are collaborating together as a Start-up Evolution group of entrepreneurs to reduce cost for our companies and clients and gain profit as well as encouraging the sustainability of our business. I was able to start seeing sales rise again, but slowly.

Another silver lining is that I can still wrap my arms around my wife which matters so much to me more in the end. And being able to spend additional time her these days is a blessing I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.

But I also have to admit that sometimes when I see her face looking up at me, I feel a pang of worry and concern about what our future holds. The reality is that I don’t know where my company will be when all this is over or if we’ll have any livelihood left at all.

In the meantime, the least I can do is share my experience of loss with others. I believe that no matter what battle each of us is fighting, it helps to know we’re not fighting alone. So Fuck you Covid-19, you won’t beat us.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Russell

Russell



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