Running your business through times of hardship is no easy feat. I personally experienced this over the last couple of months and today I’m getting pretty transparent with you. I’m diving into this experience, but also sharing what you can do to plan and prepare your business for those times.
While I’d originally planned to share on this topic later this year, I decided to release it earlier since it is still so fresh on my heart, but also explain why there hasn’t been an episode for the last month.
Disclaimer: I don’t know everything. What I do know is just my experience. So if this is going to make you feel bad about the way that you do things, or if you have been through some extreme hardships, and this is going to bring things up for you, I would urge you not to listen to this particular episode. Protect your peace, protect your mental health
Running a Business through Times of Hardship
After being a business owner for nearly a decade, I’ve of course had ups and downs in my business. It wasn’t until this past December that I was truly put in a position that I wasn’t ready for.
During the time that my hardships came up, I was deep into the planning of The Creative Educator Conference. While I’m not a fan of putting labels on the big accomplishments in business, this was the biggest event I’ve ever planned. I didn’t know what went into planning it as the person who everything fell on—and I felt that pressure.
By December, we’d basically sold out of the conference. The holidays came and my family experienced one of the hardest losses we’d ever had in losing a member of our family on Christmas morning. Two weeks later, we were hit with another loss in the family.
As a business owner, we struggle in these times to know when to work, what to work on, and how to be there for your family. For myself, I flew to be with my family, but I was on my laptop in certain times because there were so many final touches to put on the event.
Finding Support in Community
Unlike years past, I had scaled back on my team during this time. I knew that I wanted to know the ins and outs of conference planning for my first one, so I didn’t bring on much help in the planning process. When all of this happened, I had to navigate how to manage business, hit pause, and take control over how I was running my business.
For me, I knew that prioritizing my family during this time was the most important thing. While I didn’t have a big team, I did have community of peers to be able to reach out and say, “Hey, you guys, this is what’s going on, I really need people to step in, and to take things off of my plate.” They were there even when I struggled to ask for help.
Of course, on the work side, I prioritized fulfilling contracts and obligations that I’d already committed to. Other things in my business that didn’t take priority were the things I hit pause on, including this podcast.
When my podcast producer heard the news of everything that was happening, she reached out and told me to take my time, decide when you want to come back, and we will make it work. This is why community and relationships beyond contracts are so important in your business.
Streamlining Your Business
You know I love being transparent, which is why I’m sharing that not everything in my business is streamlined the way is once was. I’m in a transitional season and reworking what this looks like for my business, but this was a reminder of how valuable a plan is. Back in episode 13 of the podcast, Natalie Jayne joined us to share all about maintaining your business during times of crisis.
How I Maintained My Business During Hardships
If you’ve been around here, you know how transparent I like to be on the podcast—that’s why I want to share exactly how I maintained my business and dealt with this time of hardship:
I was honest & up front about what was going on in my family—which is difficult for me as a private person who protects her family from the public eye that my business has. I did this through an out of office email and a small social media announcement.
I turned off responses and DMs on my Instagram stories.
I muted my notifications and got off social media.
I wanted to protect my peace and communicate the delay that people would experience during this time.
Hardships can come in all forms. A major event in your personal life isn’t the only thing that gives you permission to take a step back. You know when those times come and you have the permission to do what is best for you, make the decisions that will help you navigate life and business, and share what you want to during hardships.