…And just like that life turns upside down again!
This time it is a virus that has the entire world in a tailspin! So much is going on internally right now. I feel like a chameleon, one minute I am calm, faith filled, brainstorming new ideas, taking things in stride and another time I just feel panicked, anxious and fearful with paralyzing thoughts of “would I survive this time physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, financially?” How long will this pandemic last? Can this micro business of mine survive, and what can be done to ensure its survival? How long will it take for things worldwide to be “normal” again or will there have to be adaptations on our part to a new “normal”.
A whole generation of people has been lost and this virus is still only now ploughing through some countries, spreading itself and invading everywhere at an alarming rate, leaving so much pain and suffering. We don’t seem to yet understand the impact of the loss of the elderly and their contribution to family life, their role as extended family support for the younger generation and their assistance in character building. I also feel angry because many lost their lives due to selfish, disobedient people, who will not heed the call to social distancing and staying indoors. As individuals, we have such a responsibility to ourselves and to others, if we don’t learn now then when?
As much as I am concerned about my art business, I cannot help but think of my fellow artisans, their overhead expenses, stock in hand etc. especially those who are solely dependent on their small enterprises for their livelihood and that of their families. Those with loan payments, monthly rental or mortgage commitments among other things. For artisans all fairs and markets have been shut down.
I have been encouraged to start making my website work for me and that is such a great idea on one hand, but I am also torn, because so many are going to lose their jobs and some have already. I feel so guilty to advertise products, when people are fighting for their lives, and just to be able to continue to support their families!
I am relieved to hear that governments and lending institutions have taken the initiative to offer assistance.
When I thought of what will help to alleviate stress with financial commitments and free up cash flow the following came to mind:
- Temporarily waiver rental fees for point of sales machines during this time and for at least three months after.
- Temporarily waiver monthly costs for checking accounts or other accounts with fees attached and no interests incurred if your balance falls under the minimum amount of money required for that specific account.
- Deferral of tax payments up to six months after this pandemic, so that business that survive this period, have time to work on getting back on stream.
- Relief Grants for rentals of production spaces and/or monthly rental of personal dwelling spaces, with no interest or very low interest rates during this crisis and for 6 months after, so that businesses can utilize their cash flow in restarting businesses, restocking etc.
- Waiver or reduce monthly costs for websites so that small businesses can try to keep sites running with the potential for online sales.
- Offer of social media services for free to assist businesses in advertising and or teach the entrepreneurs how to help themselves in this area.
What can we do as entrepreneurs especially artisans during this time?
Firstly breathe! Exhale! Accept that no matter what happens it will be O.K. See this time as an opportunity for new beginnings or strengthening what is already there.
Create new artwork and designs
Brainstorm about new merchandise that can be added to what is already offered.
Make changes to websites to make it more user friendly and attractive
Create product from any raw materials in stock
Brush up on new techniques.
Spend time learning how to be proficient in using social media, running of websites, and blogging.
Find fun and innovative ways to advertise.
Create teaching videos on YouTube
Utilize social media
Be current with what others in your area of expertise are doing
Have virtual conversations with other artisans about collaborations
Take breaks - go for a walk if still permitted, if not walk indoors, read, look at a funny movie or something inspirational, rest, eat well, chat with friends/family on what’s app or telephone lol! Take time for self-reflection; listen to motivational talks!
Pray, Meditate and Trust God! Trust that you are resilient! Even if the seemingly worst-case scenario happens and the business is shut down, what you are meant to do will Rise Up!
Be encouraged that you are not alone. We are still alive and as long as we have life, there is hope!
Live in the moment and find things to be grateful for! Pray for one another, show compassion to one another, dialogue and find out from each other what we can do to help one another and give assistance without charge!
Let us count our blessings for there are many if we only open our eyes to see!