How COVID-19 Has Affected Me and My Small Business
It’s been a crazy few weeks, right?
Everything seems to be moving so fast, and yet, so slow at the same time.
I’ve actually procrastinated on writing this blog for so long because I feel a sense of paralysis. With all that’s going on in the world, what’s the point of continuing my day to day as normal? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there are probably a lot of people who are in my same situation; who need to know that a lot has changed but it’s important to recognize what’s going on and rise above feelings of helplessness.
I’m very privileged to co-own a virtual small business that has always allowed me to work from home. While my job is in no way threatened, EID Visions has had to adapt to new challenges brought upon by the pandemic and social distancing. The biggest being our local efforts being thwarted.
Our company was created and operates in the state of Maine so we’ve made it a priority to have a local presence. As a relatively new business, it has been very important in our growth that we connect with other Maine businesses. As every day passes, more stay at home measures are put in place.
I hold office hours at a local coworking space, SoPoCoWorks, every Tuesday and Thursday. I usually reserve a conference room and folks from the office and others in the area are able to come meet with me and talk about anything marketing or business related. Once COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, I decided to switch to having virtual office hours, opting for a video chat or phone call. So far, no one has taken us up on it. Understandably so, there’s a lot on people’s minds right now.
Small businesses are being told to close if they are not essential. A lot of these small businesses don’t know when they will be able to open again and a lot of owners depend on their small business to survive. The last thing they’re thinking about is how to bring in more customers with marketing when potential customers are forced to stay away. This puts EID Visions in a weird position, if the small businesses we want to work with will not be getting any customers, we won’t be either.
With everything closing, conferences we’d been looking forward to for professional development and networking have either been cancelled or postponed. Most notably for us, we were planning on attending the Fast Forward Maine Summit on April 7th and 8th. The coordinators have since made it a free virtual event for anyone to attend. While I’m sure I’ll be able to gain a lot of interesting and useful knowledge, one of the most valuable aspects of events like these is the in person networking with other like-minded individuals and small businesses. It’s one of the main ways we find new clients.
Being able to go out and meet people is one of the most important parts of our business. It’s the way we can give that personal touch and show folks we want to help them anyway we can! As an introvert, I prefer texting and emailing but even I understand that it feels colder to communicate through a screen than in real life.
As I mentioned before, I’ve felt paralyzed at times with everything that’s going on. I’ve felt less motivated to do anything, which has been detrimental to me personally but also to my business. I have not been keeping up with my tasks and procrastinating on absolutely everything I have to do. I’m working on finding new ways to stay motivated and engage in self care so I’m able to get back on the bandwagon!
On a more personal level, even before the widespread recommendation to social distance, once there was a case in Maine, I decided to limit my time out in public. I have an autoimmune disease that makes me more susceptible to contracting COVID-19. While I’m healthy overall, I definitely didn’t want to risk it. The paralysis and anxiety doesn’t come from fear of getting the virus, though, but the uncertainty of the situation along with the constant changes happening everyday.
On the bright side, there’ve been several “good” things about having to practice social distancing. First off, I’m an introvert! It’s been great to not feel obligated to be sociable. I can take the time I need for myself without feeling bad about not hanging with friends. I can sleep in longer and feel more well rested throughout the day. I’m not eating out as much so it’s helped me stay on track in my health journey. I’m spending more time with my fiancé and my cat. And I’ve been catching up on TV shows like New Girls and Star Wars Clone Wars.
I think the most important part of all of this is to just take it one day at a time and to listen to professionals on how to stay healthy and safe. We will get through this together (but separately).
If you’re in Maine, check out this great resource roundup from the Maine Public Health Association. If you’re not in Maine, I urge you to stay educated with state specific resources, the CDC, and WHO.