5 Business Ownership Tips I've Learned Through the COVID-19 Pandemic
I had clients in escrow in March of this year when the coronavirus started filling our news streams. The family had accepted an offer on their property that was $45,000 over asking price and included $5,000 back to them in closing costs when escrow was to close. My clients were thrilled, and with a short escrow, their new chapter was about to begin.
Without warning, the now infamous virus infected their transaction in ways no real estate professional could anticipate. The buyer's loan needed new documentation daily with approval requirements changing by the hour, and fear-mongering headlines began to affect the buyer's mindset. BOOM. We fell out of escrow and were back on the market. The California Association of Realtors' legal team scrambled to put together COVID-19 addendums, advisories, and other forms allowing either party to back out of transactions without due cause. I spent hours consulting with my managing broker to make sure everything I said to navigate my clients through this new territory was sound and would land them safely on the ground as soon as possible. About one month later, we landed smoothly with a substantial net profit in their bank account and their new chapter underway.
As I sighed with relief for a successful closing, I looked at the horizon of 2020 with determination to end this year with pride. Nothing would stop me from making this a great year. I started every morning with a news briefing on the progression of the coronavirus. I paid attention as it infiltrated China, Italy, one resident in Seattle, and then the rest of our country. I sheltered in place and worked from my home office for a week, and soon the days blurred into each other. A month passed. Another month passed. The funny memes about toilet paper hoarding evolved into volatile political slams, dividing some households and dissolving friendships around the country. My daughter, sheltering at home as a high school junior, battled feelings of depression as she struggled to complete honors classes while locked indoors in isolation, studying online. My husband's start-up IT business ramped up as his clients set up virtual offices at home, and then dropped off as companies struggled to make ends meet through a halted economy. My methods of meeting new clients through open houses, networking events, and door knocking were no longer permissible. Friends had family members diagnosed with chronic disease. Loved ones passed away. The important Black Lives Matter took hold - protestors took to the streets and woke up our anesthetized country. Still, it came with profiteers riding the coattails of the movement, igniting anarchy and destruction.
Confusion. Grief. And then... Innovation.
Here are the 5 things I've learned as a business owner through 2020 so far:
Family is everything. Isolating at home with my teen daughter was a wake-up call for me. I faced an inconvenient truth - I was checked out of the family when I checked in to work. I owed it to my daughter and to myself to give her more of my time. Finally, I was home to give it. Prioritizing my time to be able to check in with her more often throughout the day helps me experience actual production as a mom, wife, and actively engaged family member. It's been a challenging experiment, and a deeply rewarding one. I'm still learning the art of delegating time to my well-being, to my clients, to both of our businesses, and to my family day by day. As the parent/teen tension dissipates, I am beginning to experience an authentic sense of success. The confidence I feel about living out my life's purpose is stronger than ever.
Love my home. Working from home is too challenging when my house is chaotic or distracting with nagging honey-do items in the back of my head. After a few months of nonstop working and avoiding household needs, I recognized an opportunity to begin the wish list DIY projects I've planned. I've started investing my Love and respect for our home into small improvements, including a garden in the yard, new ceiling fans through the house (thanks, Jim!), and painted walls one room at a time. It feels good to be here, taking pride in my home and loving on it one small step at a time. With that energy, I'm able to get back to work, feeling more satisfied with my productivity than before.
Shift and evolve with the world's changing needs. What worked for me in the past to meet new clients is no longer a possibility. I had to pick one of two choices: throw in the towel and get a job, or learn new skills, and apply them as fast as possible. I chose the latter, and I'm bringing on Instagram, Google Ads, and LinkedIn as new tools to connect with my people. While I know a ton about Facebook, website, and email marketing, I needed to add some arrows to my quiver if I intend to take the world on and keep growing my business. If I were to insist on doing things the way I always have, I'd miss out on connecting with more people who "get me."
Re-employ acquired skills. I am in Love with business growth through beautiful, sophisticated marketing. I have 14 years of marketing experience for entrepreneurs, and when I get the opportunity to apply my skillset to the businesses of life coaches, I am in heaven. Life coaches are angels here on Earth. They uplift, encourage, support, and teach us how to improve our lives and the lives of those we love. I am so grateful to serve two incredible women - one a relationship coach and the other, a life coach. Both speak to their tribes with different styles and personalities, and their messages always align with universal principles: let go of what hurts you and move towards Love always. Helping with marketing for their businesses not only supplements my income, but it also supports my spirituality.
Invest in personal growth. I've always been interested in natural healing. After years of quietly waiting for the opportunity to study the healing properties of plants, here it is. I suspect it was here all along, and I was too preoccupied with "productivity" to realize it. I've invested in a year-long online course to learn the sacred healing properties of medicinal plants. Although I don't have a ton of time to give to the course, I have begun applying what I'm learning towards making and gifting friends with blended teas. It's my authentic offering to the world, and having the space to indulge in this makes my heart sing.
There is so much upheaval in the US today. I've learned to let go of the negative and look for the positive. I try to find Love in every situation, express Love with everything I say and do and tap into how I can share Love as a real estate mentor and guide for people needing to make that next step in their lives.
I hold so much gratitude for this gift of life and the opportunities I am given to meet new friends through my profession and to serve as an experienced and educated Realtor. I've heard stories from clients who have experienced poor real estate service in the past. I take it on as a personal endeavor to show them how a dedicated real estate professional guides her clients to a successful purchase or sale. If you are a business owner, you know! There's something special about having the chance to pour all you have into your client's experience of your service or product. It's the gift of entrepreneurship.
May you have a fruitful 2020 and remember, love on your people and INNOVATE!