Dealing with Covid-19 - Small Business or Freelancer Depression
If you are a small business owner or sole entrepreneur and you need financial help please visit the Small Business Administration’s support website. The Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan are government-sponsored, and offer cheap or even free loans to help your business. But hurry, they are going fast. If you have already applied, please sit back and enjoy the rest of this post.
If you are like me, a form of depression is coming on fast. The year 2020 started off so promising and now it has gone to hell with no clear end in sight. Sales are down, making payroll is a real worry, and all your exciting business goals for 2020 are postponed indefinitely. Furthermore, that rainy day savings account has dropped considerably due to the stock market tanking.
What should we as business owners do during this time to stay upbeat and not sacrifice this time with depressive thoughts? Here are some suggestions from our customers, and personal changes I have made to help weather this storm.
- Change Your Routine. We are all stuck at home. We are all worried. It is very easy to get brought down by the thought of “same shit different day”. This is not an uplifting mindset. I have made an effort to change up my routine nearly every day. I start my mornings differently, I read different things, I work on different tasks in unorthodox ways and end my days differently. I have found keeping things new and different has fought off the depressive thoughts that kept me from charging forward.
- Use This Time to Zoom Out. Our economy has been in a massive bull market since March of 2009. Most of us have been chasing one great opportunity after another -- #Winning every day! When times are good we often forget to zoom out. In the last few weeks, I have reviewed all my long term goals with Skyclerk and have realized many of these goals were not well thought out or did not have optimal ROIs. I think this zoomed out review process will pay bigger dividends in the long run. There is something exhilarating about a renewed focus.
- Go on Vacation. Well, not really. We are not allowed to leave our houses, but take a break from life. One restaurant owner I know has taken this opportunity to have downtime. He explained to me he has not had a vacation since 2012 -- before he opened his restaurant. He told me he is reading more, catching up on TV, and doing house projects he never thought he would do. He is totally putting aside his business - for now. He hopes this time will supercharge his business efforts when he is allowed to open back up again.
- Work on the Bottom of your Todo List. A contractor customer of ours explained to me that with his newfound downtime he is working on stuff he has never had the time to get to. He used the example of opening an Instagram account. Some of us might laugh and think how hard it is but when you are a contractor out in the field all day, finding computer time, and the time to upload content can be challenging. His hope is when we emerge from this Covid-19 mess he will be better positioned to win contracts. He sees this time as an opportunity to focus on things he has struggled to do for years.
- Take Care of Your Customers and Employees. A lot of us have been so focused on growth since the last downturn we have forgotten to take extra good care of our customers and team members. Growth is on hold for the moment. Let’s focus on what we have. Reach out to your customers and thank them, see if there is anything you can do for them during this time. Spend extra time with your team to learn what their needs and wants are. Maybe this is a time to support an employee to learn something new, or work on something outside of their day-to-day activities. I think many of us will be judged by how we treated our customers and employees during this time. Those of us who did right by them will likely have a leg up in the future. Wait, what does this suggestion have to do with the fighting of depression? Simply put, it moves your focus to something positive and hopefully motivating.
The Internet is crowded with these types of posts -- “How people should survive the Covid-19 recession”. I am fully aware everything I suggested is not some new mind-blowing concept. My primary goal was to be one more voice saying you are not alone. Business owners everywhere are struggling, not just financially but emotionally. Freelancers and small business owners are worried, but as they say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.