It seems a worthwhile moment to share a business update in light of Covid-19. It’s been 55 days since the UK started the lockdown on the 23rd March. You can find endless symbology with the number 55, but don’t bother, I chose today as it’s a Monday morning.
The Government started to lift some restrictions last Wednesday. Depending on your point of view, that’s either “about time too” or “Far too soon”.
The crisis hasn’t left anyone untouched, and that’s true of my clients from across the spectrum. Many are still unable to operate how they imagined, exploring alternative opportunities or taking the time to have a deep dive into their marketing, business plans and finances. Some have had to take the tricky choice to furlough staff, others have been able to continue to operate at one level or another.
Working at Home
I’ve always worked at home, in a separate office with a nice large desk, a comfy ergonomic chair (although I broke my 7-year-old friend and had to research new chairs) and freshly brewed tea at will (we use loose leaf, 2/3 Yorkshire, 1/3 Earl Grey, come over for a taste one day).
But things are different. With 2 at home off school, I eat lunch with the family and most mornings I set up the “board” for the day with various educational choices (many of which get ignored for Lego making and treat baking), plus a “what day is it” drawing (National Hairball Day was a highlight).
But I am, for the majority of the day, working at my desk.
With everyone else working at home, it’s been great to have Zoom chats! I was always set up for video calls, but now suddenly everyone else has been forced to discover tools to allow them to conference from whatever room they have! Most notable backdrops with users sat in the “spare room” seem to include ironing boards. Unexpected home workers seem relegated to spaces usually reserved for unloved household paraphernalia.
This and many Zoom quizzes inspired me to create some flashcards to help with those “is my mic working” struggles!
An advantage of this may be that now many people are more comfortable with it, I could continue to use Zoom and other tools to collaborate with clients. I always like to share my thoughts on work alongside the images I create, often recording a little voice over. I can perhaps improve this part of my service with a call and a screen share now more customers are happy to do so.
The Struggle Goes on
I have been exceptionally blessed that alongside some large on-going projects, I have won additional new business and I’ve plenty of work, all varied and interesting to keep my going, with invoices being paid.
Not all my customers are so fortunate, many in industries that simply cannot operate with social distancing enforced. I remain sitting on invoices that are due for a handful of clients in such a position and we’ll hopefully be able to pick things up again.
There’s a real risk some of these, despite all the welcome government aid, will not be able to operate and go under. That will impact my business both with outstanding monies owed and potential future work alongside them. But the real sadness will be great customers with previously good business prospects losing projects they’ve spent hard work, time and money on developing.
I expect that there will be a lag in how I’m impacted. Larger projects have long lead times and the early sales process takes time. Enquiries have dropped since mid-March despite work still coming in, so I do have a small worry that though things are manageable now, I may have a dip in meaty projects going forward.
There’s a concern too, about schools, if and how they can return without a vaccine or rigorous contact tracing. No school means at some point I’ll have to swing into action at least part-time (or more part-time) than currently, I am to look after the children. I can only assume that this could impact clients and slow down their moves into returning to “business as usual”
I chose to have children so it’s my problem to solve, though there is a something of a social contract that I imagined would include the kids being at school for a good portion of the day 5 days a week, that’s now simply not happening. I could argue that we shouldn’t have a society that relies so heavily on both parents (or long inflexible hours for both parents or single parents) needing to work to make a comfortable life, but that’s an argument for another time and another forum.
My side projects
Initially if business had quickly tailed off, I had some rather random thoughts and ideas to develop alternative side projects and I played around a little. I’ve not had time to develop these, which is clearly good as I’ve been busy with typical work. Here’s a few things floating around that you can look at, the main one being my store below.
Perhaps if things do go down later on, I’ll make a little more of these. They’re fun to work on and a change of pace, if a little scattergun at the moment.
Why not for example get keepsake of this weird time and grab a mug or tee from my TeeSpring store.