By Jessica Alex
It’s no secret that 2020 has been a rocky year for most, if not all, of us. Although our experiences have varied, the pandemic has been a total disruption in our lives in some way, shape or form. Even for those who are coping well, there has still been a significant change in lifestyle: not being able to host parties or large gatherings, not being able to travel or to hang out in person with friends and family, wearing face masks to enter buildings and stores, having to line up outside to get into a grocery store (that only used to happen on Black Friday and Boxing Day at big box stores), or curbside pickup only, or having to remain six feet apart — really, the list goes on.
With all that being said, I have done my best to turn this roller-coaster year into a positive experience as much as possible. Truthfully, 2020 has taught me a plethora of things, and these seven lessons have stuck out to me the most when it comes to my business and my experience as an entrepreneur.
1. It’s OK to pivot
In fact, for many of us, 2020 left us no choice. It was either adapt your business or lose your business. Pivoting can be an essential — and even liberating — decision for your business.
(This past summer, I happened to write an article about pivoting for The Edge: A Leader’s Magazine.)
2. Go for it
So many new businesses were created during the pandemic, and I couldn’t be more proud and impressed. It is often during these disruptions (whether social or technological) that some of the most innovative ideas are born.
3. Loosening up won’t hurt your business
I pride myself on being a professional, but I’ve learned that being professional doesn’t have to mean being rigid. It’s OK to have fun and bend “the rules” from time to time. I learned that lesson during our first lockdown, which never seemed to end. I hosted more Lives, and even as the year has progressed I’ve shared more of my “bloopers” to poke a little fun at myself.
4. Everything happens in its own perfect time
I have put a lot of pressure on myself to get things done in a certain timeframe. Of course, when it comes to a client projects, I stick to my deadlines. Though, certain projects of my own, like starting a podcast or my idea to host networking events for female entrepreneurs, got put on hold once we were in lockdown.
When it came to the podcast, I had a grand idea to use a studio space and also video record the interviews. However, the pandemic had other plans. So, instead, I decided to take my podcast and turn it into live videos on my page, which really helped to boost my own and my guests’ visibility, creating connections. It also led me to finding a podcast producer [page link] to help me properly launch my podcast. Now it’s coming out in January, and I couldn’t be happier.
As for the networking events — if and when they happen — great! But, as I’ve realized in 2020, if it doesn’t happen, that’s OK, too. And besides, that probably would mean that there is something bigger and better on the horizon.
5. It’s OK to take a break
The go-go-go 18-hour day entrepreneur life is one that many of us (yes, including me) have subscribed to for years. And, admittedly, during the pandemic I still found myself working around the clock. However, as we have gone further into the year, I have learned the importance of slowing down. You might be productive or you might just be busy, but one thing’s for sure: you probably aren’t being efficient if you’re working so many hours.
Taking breaks throughout the day or taking days off can actually help you run your business more effectively, because your mind is more rested and clear.
And, more importantly, it’s just healthier that way, and as they say, “Health is wealth.”
6. Keep showing up
Even when things are uncertain, keep showing up. My business completely slowed down in the first few months of the lockdown. And yet, I kept showing up on Instagram, and my audience and my connections grew. Once restrictions were loosened, and people were becoming more optimistic, I had clients left and right. If I had not shown up during my slow period, I would not have had the same results.
7. Get creative
Experimentation is, or at least should be, one of the best parts of marketing. Marketing tactics that work for one business may not work for you — and that’s where experimenting comes in. You have an idea and you test out your hypothesis.
Even if that idea doesn’t work, in essence, you don’t get the desired results or you don’t meet your key performance indicators (or KPIs), there are still lessons to be learned from those results. Is there something from the campaign you launched that you can bottle up and use for next time?
I learned that it’s fun and exciting to test out things and then see how your audience reacts.
What are some lessons 2020 has taught you about entrepreneurship and your business?