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I'm Dolly — a Nashville based family & branding photographer AND a systems + workflow educator (and Podcast Host) for creatives who want to be more streamlined and organized with Systems, Workflows & SOPS to better impact the backend of their businesses. I'm here to help you look awesome (for your photos) & feel great about workflows!
You all, these times are incredibly weird, strange and sometimes just downright scary because of the unknowns of life. And no, I’m not referring to the last season of the Bachelor, I’m referring to the COVID-19 virus which has literally swept our nation at astonishing speed and might. It feels like overnight the entire nation has had the rug ripped out from under ourselves, and we are trying to cope with what is happening as we continue to fall. I’m not going to lie, facing unknown waters is an incredibly scary and sinking feeling for me, and I bet I’m not the only one with this sentiment. I know that there are many facets of fear in this time of crisis, and one of the growing fears-which I am facing- is the unknown about what is going to happen for all the small businesses and entrepreneurs whose businesses are feeling the squeeze of this virus.
Honestly, I have been debating if I wanted to post anything about the COVID-19 virus because I just wanted to continue to create content and publish every Monday and Wednesday (as usual). But there is just something genuine about being real with you, the reader, and I love connecting with everyone on a weekly basis so I figured I would be real and share how I am dealing with this pandemic as a small business owner.
Like many of you, I have spent a lot of time cooped up in my house for the past 2 weeks, and I have had a lot of downtime (in between my son’s napping schedule + my own working schedule) to think about what this all means to me as a business owner. As a woman of action, I am always looking for ways to improve and grow my business in tangible ways so I wanted to share some steps I believe small business owners (soloprenuers) should take as we continue to face the unknown. I have been doing these actionable steps for myself for the past 10 days, and it has helped the heart of my business in deeper ways. *Now, let me just clarify, these are NOT steps to take in order to ensure you to have financial success…these are steps for you as a business owner to take to continue to dig deeper within your own heart and mind as you navigate these uncertain times*
First off, you are not alone in this journey. If you need encouragement, please reach out to someone you trust and care about and please share what is going on in your mind. The more we are isolated during this time of quarantine, the easier it can be to feel alone in our own thoughts. Reach out to someone you trust and let them know what is going on in your mind about your fears about your business. Just talking to someone may help in a small way. No, it will not solve your financial stresses, but it will help alleviate your emotional stress.
Evaluate your finances for your business. Actually sit down and see what expenses need to be taken off in order to trim down any excessive spending where you could be saving. You may have certain membership fees you are paying (i.e. like Netflix, Hulu, Hello Fresh, etc.) where you know you can take those out and still operate your life and your business.
Is this a time for you to consider pivoting? If you are a service-based business and your income primarily comes from face-to-face meetings, can you pivot your life to more virtual interactions and still generate an income? Can you pivot by diversifying your offerings could serve more of a specific clientele? Brainstorm. Evaluate. Use this time to think.
This may be a harder thing for business owners with kids to do (like me) because your kids are now at home full time WHILE you are running your business so you have most likely discovered you will need to get creative with your schedule. But for those of you who either may be single OR who either are kid-free in this season, take advantage of this time at home to really invest in your business.
-Are there updates you need to work on for your website? LinkedIn Profile? Social Media Marketing? Updating your contacts? Working on your SEO (Search Engine Optimization)? Blogging? The possibilities are endless, and this applies to any small business!
Clean out a room (or several rooms if you are ambitious). Spring Clean like it’s no one’s business! I mean, you are inside for the next several weeks, so perhaps now would be a good time to conquer a living room, bedroom, closet, attic, etc. that has been bugging you for several years now. As a business owner, sometimes if things are cluttered up in my house, that can sometimes have an “emotional clutter” on my business and I feel scattered and don’t know where to even begin. It sounds so strange, I know, but sometimes just taking a moment (an hour, two hours, maybe even a day) to clean out a room may do wonders for your mind. Marie Kondo it up people! Now is the time, and who knows, clearing out space may help clear your mind to face new business ideas (well, it does for me at least)!
Write notes of encouragement to other small business owners. Yes, I’m actually encouraging you to send snail mail to other business owners who are in the same boat as you. If you don’t like writing (or you don’t have stamps), send an email. Another thing you can do for other small business owners is to write up some reviews for them (boost up THEIR credibility and BUILD them up). Encouragement is one of my main love languages (yes, I said it, LOVE LANGUAGES) and it is the lifeblood of my business. I love encouraging everyone and even in this very weird and turbulent time I have been trying to focus on lifting others up even more. Again, use this step to genuinely encourage other business owners. Don’t expect anything in return, do this step out of the graciousness!
If you have purchased an online course and you have not finished it yet…take the time to do it now! Again, you have the time now, so please finish that course you invested in for your business! Continue to grow your knowledge so you can grow your business in amazing ways (and growing your business now means planting seeds and hopefully you’ll see those seeds come to fruition weeks and months from now)!
Oh and if you’re worried you don’t have any time to watch those purchased courses because of kiddos, then I encourage you to take 30 minutes every day for yourself and your business to watch a course video (or read the material) because anyone can find 30 extra minutes every day! Wait for your kid’s nap times, or wait until everyone is asleep, or maybe wake up earlier to knock out a 30-minute course session. Either way, finish that course you invested in for your business to grow and water the knowledge you need to grow your business.
Showing up may be different for you depending upon where you are in life as a business owner (if you have a spouse, if you have children, if you are caring for an elderly loved one) it’s going to look different for everyone, but you still need to show up. Don’t allow the fears of the unknown to drag you down and you miss out on time with the people who you are actually living life with. SHOW UP!
Okay wow, I actually feel like I just rambled on and on about what has been going on in my head, but I truly hope this helps encourage another small business owner in some small way. Normally I would be sharing a helpful tip for running your small business (and I will resume that next week) but this week I just wanted to be REAL and HUMAN with you all and use this time to give you some tangible ways you can continue to work on your business while facing the unknowns.
I hope this blesses you.
Know that I am rooting for you and I appreciate you following along in my own journey of being a business owner.
Talk to you all next week!
Now, if you are at a point in your small business where you are ready for a complete branding session (in the future) and you need content, not just for an updated profile picture, but you need professional photo content for your social media and website to boost your online presence, I would love to chat with you about capturing and best illustrating the message behind your business through a branding session! If you are not based in Nashville, then I strongly encourage you to find a local photographer who lives in your city who specializes in branding photography who could help elevate your social media presence with images that will match the message behind your business with consistent and professional images. To schedule a branding session with me, please click here.
If you enjoyed reading this article, please share it on Facebook or on Pinterest! I love encouraging other small-business owners and I love connecting with other businesses as I continue to grow my own small business!
Dolly DeLong is a Nashville-based family & branding photographer and a creative business educator & encourager. Dolly loves serving families, eloping couples, and business owners with her timeless, radiant photography. She loves capturing the joy and emotion in both digital and film photos.
She also has a heart for serving the larger business community. Dolly shares her knowledge of tools like Pinterest, Dubsado, email marketing, and business systems with new creative business owners in an encouraging and supportive way through automation training, helpful blog posts, and her online courses. You can start your automation journey here.
Dolly’s faith and love for her family motivate her to help other business owners find the joy and freedom she’s found in running a successful small business.
Whenever she has a spare moment, she enjoys watching TV (i.e. Survivor), eating way too many sweets, and listening to podcasts while running or walking. To work with Dolly DeLong Photography LLC, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out her contact form here.
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