While the pandemic posed a new set of challenges, these three strategies helped her excel.
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Just like many women in business, my revenue saw a major drop in 2020 due to the societal impacts of the pandemic. With 60% of my income directly coming from hosting live events, I had to completely revise my business model in a short period of time.
Additionally, my working life was organized around daily childcare from two different babysitters, and with stay-at-home orders and my family’s pod arrangement, that was soon canceled. I instantly went from over 30 hours of childcare per week to managing what I could between my son’s naps and short bursts of time my husband had between business meetings at his office job.
Once I received SBA funding and restructured my business, I was able to get back on track to start building my business to its full potential, which required a complete overhaul of my priorities.
1. I planned on being unavailable
As someone who viewed work ethic as spending long hours on tasks and often turned hobbies into side gigs, it’s hard to see myself as someone who doesn’t have time to work. But with a child who seemed to intentionally plan his tantrums and blow-outs during client meetings, it was clear that I had to change the way I was using my time.
I began focusing my fully available hours on client meetings and consultations with prospects. These were moments when I had him down for a nap or when my husband had a free hour he could provide me to schedule a call. I also extended my hours to provide meeting options before and after my spouse’s work day.
I used screen-time hours or moments of independent play to manage my inbox and assign out tasks for a team of contractors to get done, and provided clients with reports and updates when my son went down for bed.
2. I focused on selling
Even in non-pandemic years, I’d been told by mentors that most of my time should be spent on marketing and selling while others complete the everyday tasks of the business. As someone who had negative feelings around sales and loved daily work tasks and achieving results for my clients, it was hard for me to commit myself to such a life.
What made it easier to commit to sales in 2020 was the heightened need that arose. So many small businesses and startup companies were in need of PR and marketing support at a lower cost. Because of the new business model I’d developed, I provided a needed service option for those who need an expert strategist, but can’t spend thousands of dollars per month.
By building templates and laying out each project in easy-to-replicate ways for my team, I was able to work with more junior talent to keep costs low for clients while being a resource for lots of other people needing work experience (many of whom were also moms).
3. I closed loops in my sales process
Once I began to smooth out my systems, I realized I had room for more clients, but had seen stagnation in my closing ratio. One of the challenges I faced was how long it took to close a new client: It was a week-long process with several steps, including building a proposal on a template in Canva, waiting for feedback, working up a marketing agreement from a document, uploading and sending with a signing platform and then sending an invoice. All of this required several days and five different technology platforms.
I found a tool that rolled all of those activities into one technology and made it seamless for the clients to see the rates, sign the agreement and pay their retainer in just a few minutes. This one change helped me double my client list in about a week.
While the pandemic year was initially traumatic for my business, it gave me an opportunity to leverage my own ingenuity to build a service strategy that gives me more of the lifestyle I wanted for myself. Being available for life-enriching activities was a value of mine, but I had never understood how to create that. Today, I’m able to beat my 2019 and 2020 earnings by leveraging smart strategies while also working fewer hours.