Hello! I have been feeling really motivated creatively over the last few weeks which has definitely come as a shock to me! You may have noticed an influx of new illustrations if you follow us on the Plewsy instagram feed.
I was completely expecting to be feeling withdrawn from the business when we were plunged into lockdown and certainly didn't think I would be in any frame of mind to be creating new work, never mind launching a new print range! I think that this creativity has provided me with a spur of motivation in all other areas of my business too, which I suppose you could call some kind of a silver lining?!
There are many small businesses out there who are inundated with orders, rushed off their feet and raking in the money right now - brilliant, congratulations to you, what an achievement! But there are also business owners sat at home scrolling their Instagram feed and seeing other people's success knowing that their order book is empty and they are not hearing the Shopify app ping throughout the day. THAT IS OKAY. It's important we are mindful that everybody is in a completely different situation.
Many of us (as parents) are juggling a million balls of educating our children, entertaining toddlers and/or cuddling newborns whilst still trying to work, if you don't have kids you too may be struggling with this overwhelming feeling of not being able to control our current situation and finding that in waves that feeling just takes over. All of these things have a huge impact on your business! Again, THAT IS OKAY.
I thought it could be useful to pop together a little round up of 5 ways to face covid-19 challenges as a small business. If you find yourself with some time to spend on you/your business here are a few little things that I have found to help over the last few weeks.
1. Learn new things
What a great opportunity to use this unexpected time at home to learn new things. I have found that time that I used to spend packing wholesale orders has left me with a big hole of time to fill. I have really enjoyed delving into the world of Facebook Ads, watching webinars on digital marketing and gathering as much information and tips on how to properly approach PR as I can.
This could well be source of my motivation right now, as my brain soaks up new information - it feels like some sort of progression or growth for Plewsy. As you know one man or one girl bands are very much you, you are the face of the brand and more often than not you won't have the cash to outsource this kind of thing. Have a look at Carly from Keystone Virtual or Amanda Perry for some free resources.
2. Read, read, read!
Immerse yourself in a book! I bloody love reading, but have recently used the good old excuse 'I just don't have the time'. But you do, yes you do! Even if it's a few pages before bed, try to read. It's calming, educational and much better for you than scrolling your phone before you nod off.
A few things I have read recently: Flatshare, The Silent Treatment & Hype Yourself.
3. Don't feel defeated by the situation
All of the planning that you worked so hard on at the start of the year has just gone out of the window right? Yep, thats us too. We had lovely plans for our 5th business birthday - a beautifully designed mailer to be posted to our customers, so many plans for craft fairs and to exhibit at Home & Gift Harrogate in July. All of our financials are out of the window, the majority of our stockists are closed due to the covid-19 lockdown and therefore are not placing orders with us. 90% of our revenue has just stopped. THAT IS OKAY. And that's okay because everyone is in the same boat, nobody saw this coming, no-one was able to predict and plan their business to ride a humongous pandemic wave.
Don't feel defeated, just think about how you can flip things on their head and make the most of the opportunities available. People are shopping online more, can you develop your website or spend time on your social content, are you able to offer a discount?
4. Try not to compare yourself/your business
This one is so tough. Especially with the amount that we are currently spending on social media right now - everyone sings their wins while you begin to feel rubbish, then a whole circle of negative feelings evolve.
Try to remember that what others share is not always the full truth and everyone is sailing a completely different boat! You can't compare a butchers to a greetings card supplier or a 10 year old established business to a start up.
5. Join a supportive community!
There are so many lovely communities out there for you to become involved with. I am a member of The Mamahood - Home of the UK's best mother makers and Mum-run brands. Behind the scenes there is an amazing supportive community where you can ask questions, ask for advice and share with others. Also have a look at York Insta Meet, The Enterprise Collective, PR Dispatch.
I hope this helps, I guess the moral of my story is be proactive but please don't feel like you are a failure, nobody saw this coming and nobody could prepare.