The world is a different place than it was on the eve of 2020, especially for small businesses. To survive, you need to be flexible, creative and inspired. So how the heck do you do that during a worldwide pandemic?
I’ve got three of my friends/ small biz owners/ Mums here who are managing to grow in an uncertain economic time. We want to share our advice with you because we believe in bringing our Sisters along with us.
All four of us are all finalists in a National Business award for women who are also Mothers (so we have lots of other priorities, too).
We want to lift you up.
Four of us gathered for an inspiring zoom chat on Friday. We spoke about everything from branding to marketing to community and creativity (which is of course, what I’m most interested in) so get your notepad out.
Here’s what we had to say about staying creative and inspired.
1. Recognise that you ARE Creative
Humans make things for survival so we are all makers. It’s important to acknowledge that even if you are the queen (or king) of spreadsheets that you are still creative. It takes all kinds.
Jenn of, Social Media and Marketing with Jenn Donovan, claimed she didn’t have a ‘creative’ bone in her body but the three of us quickly pounced on her to disagree. Jenn is highly clever, innovative and intuitive- as you need to be in marketing. Once we dug a bit more we, and Jenn herself, realised that she draws inspiration from the world around her- and she actively seeks it out too.
Podcasts, books, and paying attention to other talented marketers are what helps Jenn fill her brain then she needs to give herself time to download it all. For Jen, that can look like spending an hour just writing down ideas. It’s a vital process for her to stay current but also give herself time to think and plan.
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GMB – Google My Business – a business asset you NEED. If you're: ???? a small business ???? a small LOCAL business Then Google My Business definitely should be part of your digital marketing strategy. I talk about it ALL the time. On social, in groups, on my webinars, but I'd never done a podcast about it – UNTIL NOW! Yep, episode 85 is all about Google My Business, why you need it and a few surprisingly ways to use it to help you be found in the universe of google! Go have a listen – episode 85 – Small Business Made Simple Podcast – link in bio or DM me for the link. www.socialmediaandmarketing.com.au/85
Get your ears onto Jenn’s podcast here.
2. Pay Attention to Where You Want to Go
For Sarah, owner of Alined Design she studies (gets lost inside) Pinterest for visual inspo. She also belongs to several online communities where she can keep up with people who are the best in their field, and that inspires Sarah to keep reaching. Her business is growing and she’s always on the lookout for how to improve the experience for her customers, and sometimes that means paying attention to her own experience as a consumer. If she gets excellent service, she tries to implement it in her own business in some way.
Sarah would much rather continue to serve her own loyal customers than constantly hunt for new ones; she understands the importance that not only great design, but great service, and great relationships, play in small business.
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What are you in business for? ⠀ It's a question we ask all our clients – for us, it's solving digital problems and helping our clients feel confident and connect online. ⠀ The better we do, the more people we've helped and the more people they have helped… and the ripple effect of people helping others is something we are immensely proud of. ⠀ To get that relationship started you've got to connect. How do you even to that? ⠀ We use StoryBrand. Read all about it here. It's awesome powerful stuff. ⠀ https://www.alineddesign.com/how-to-connect-with-your-ideal-client-and-sell-more/
3. Join a Community
For Janelle of Buy From Tasmania, it’s all about her own backyard. If COVID taught her one thing, it would be the importance of supporting her local community. With Hobart’s infamous markets closed to the public, Jenelle set herself the task of creating an online marketplace that was more about making connections than making profits. She sought to serve not only vendors and consumers but her community, the environment and her children’s futures.
Find BFT on Instagram here.
4. Take Breaks
Being an Artist/ Overachiever is a conundrum in itself. I’ve experienced burnout and mental health consequences of no boundaries, not being able to say no, not shutting off and not leaving time for myself. I’ve learned that making time to potter is essential to my creativity. Turning off my business brain for a while is essential to my creativity. I need to fill my tank with seemingly unrelated things like walks, music, food, play, even cleaning (so many treasures to find in an art studio). When you work in a business that is also your passion, sometimes you don’t know when to stop. If this is you, schedule downtime if you have to. Go take a hot bath, or gaze at the clouds. Daydream. Give inspiration the space to drop in.
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This moonlit lady is framed-up, ready to get packed-up, and will be picked-up on Monday. She will be whisked away by courier to her forever home in Canberra. This piece was meant for the @melbflowershow exhibition which was cancelled due to COVID-19. I loved sheltering this beauty in my own home but I’m happy she called to her new owner, another kindred creative I met through an Etsy conference years ago. She’s been professionally photographed so I can order prints if anyone else is keen on a limited edition copy. Protea Dream A4 $30 A2 $60 A1 $120 ???? #proteaart #painting #artwork #abstractpainting #modernart #artist #wallart #homedecor #fineart #contemporaryart #creative #creativity #design #interiordesign #decor #etsyau #acrylic #canvas #instaart #instaartist #style #homestyling #melbourneartist #australianart
Something all four of us have is that we are life-long-learners. We absorb inspiration from our worlds because we are doing our soul work and we are always hungry for more. I think we can stay focused, passionate and in love with what we do because we’ve finally been able to create businesses that offer our individual gifts.
There is something special about running a business that you love. We feel connected to and absorbed by the world around us, and we see how our services and our clients fit into that world. When you are able to have freedom, create boundaries, and do your soul work, it allows you to draw inspiration from everywhere (including COVID lockdown!)
Jenn’s parting words of wisdom
If you want to support small businesses, go past page one of Google! There are some fantastic small, local businesses on the next few pages. Go treasure hunting!
What will your next step be?