The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 is affecting everyone differently.
(I’ve heard so many stories! And here’s part of mine…)
Three weeks before my state announced its “stay at home” order, my family welcomed a new baby.
Which means – at a time when the whole world is grappling with the “unknown” of a global health + economic crisis, we’re also navigating a brand new parenting experience… i.e three kids under five-years-old!
And without any of our usual help.
Lots of people have asked how I’m “doing it all.”
And like you, I don’t have another option but to show up!
I could easily crumble under the pressure (and I’ve let that happen, briefly).
But I’m consciously choosing, over and over again, to become a stronger, better person through all of this – and build a stronger, better business, too.
In this 20-minute episode, I’m sharing…
- Exactly what we’re doing to build a stronger company (especially through this crisis)
- Why I think impeccable customer service is KEY right now
- And how I’m re-calibrating my personal / family life (for now + later)
My personal philosophy is that there’s OPPORTUNITY in everything… even this.
And maybe this opportunity is about slowing down + evaluating what matters most.
Listen in – and then share you thoughts with me over on Instagram (@emilyhirsh)! xo
[3:11] Honestly, nobody really knows what to do right now…
[5:42] But this is why I’m accepting the challenge to become a stronger person + build a stronger business
[7:08] Here’s what I’m doing to make my business stronger
[10:36] Quick Tip: Do NOT give your clients/customers anything more to worry about right now!
[13:32] Here’s what I’m doing to build a stronger family
[16:12] This is an opportunity to slow down (+realize how important that is)
[17:17] Every business has an opportunity within this global crisis
[19:21] But here’s what you should NOT do right now…
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Hello everybody and welcome back to the podcast. How are you doing, my friends? Is everybody surviving the quarantining, and shifts and change? And it’s pretty amazing. I really don’t think we’re going to … we have to find a new normal for sure. And I don’t know what the world’s going to look like when we do get to go back to somewhat of a normal situation. It’s crazy. I feel like sometimes I wake up and I’m living in an alternate reality, honestly. I’m like, “Did this really happen?”
And especially if you go to the grocery store.. I went to the grocery store, we’ve been going like once a week maybe, and that’s the only place we go or see people, and it’s so weird. You have to wait in line, and they clock in how many people are in the grocery store, then you go to the line and there’s not individual lines. There’s one line, and then there’s tape for you to be six feet apart from everybody. You stand on your strip of tape. It just is so weird. And people … like the energy, I don’t like it. Right now I hate going to the grocery store. It makes me sad because the energy in the grocery store is like nobody smiles. Nobody knows what to do. They’re almost holding their breath while they’re in there, and it’s just really strange. So I do not enjoy it, and it feels literally like Handmaid’s Tale or something, like we’re in a movie right now, and I can’t even believe it’s real life.
Anyways, I hope you are all surviving, and I’ve put out a lot of content to help support people during this time, including, we still have our weekly Hirsh Marketing Report that’s been going out, and we’ve been seeing actually some really cool things on ads, lower ad costs than we’ve seen in, really since I started five years ago, I have not seen it this low. And just helping clients kind of pivot a little bit where needed and/or adjust messaging and just seeing amazing results with that. So that’s super exciting. So if you haven’t gotten that report, you can go to hirshmarketingreport.com because we are releasing it every single week right now, on Fridays. So you have that insider information.
Today, I wanted to talk about how I’m leveraging this time to become a stronger business and a person. And I know that by now in this comes out, a lot of you might be feeling just done like, “Okay, this is a funny joke. Now let’s go back to real life and go back to how it was.” And it’s hard. There’s a lot that’s hard about this, and everyone kind of has their own reasons why this is hard, whether it’s kids at home, no schedule, no structure, your business actually struggling and sales struggling, and that being scary. I mean, for me, this is the first time I’ve been through an economic downturn like this. I didn’t have my business in 2008, and I was really young, honestly, in 2008, so I didn’t really … my dad had a business, but I don’t remember very much of it being greatly impacted. We were okay, and I definitely didn’t have a business.
So it’s a lot. There’s a lot of unknown, there’s a lot we can’t control. We don’t know what’s going to happen in some cases, and we kind of just have to push through. And so, I’m hoping that maybe this episode will give you some inspiration just so you can see how my perspective has been. I honestly feel like so much about this is making me a better person and a stronger person, because it’s challenging for me. I have a newborn, and my son was three weeks old when this all started happening, and we had to go into quarantine.
And I was going into the newborn phase thinking I would have my nanny for my other kids and my house help and all of the help and support that I have. I obviously still have help from my husband, but I just don’t have the normal level of support. And honestly when I say it, I actually feel a little bit like a jerk, like, “Oh, I don’t have my house help.” I get that it’s privileged, and I feel bad saying it, but I’m still going to say it, because it’s true. It is what I have been struggling with, and I’ve spent the last almost three years with house help, and it’s how I function. It’s how I am able to run my business and be a mom. And hats off to all of you guys who do it all, because, seriously, I have struggled.
We have definitely found a new routine, and it’s working. And I actually can’t work as much as I want to work. I can probably only work 25, 30 hours a week right now if that, because my husband’s still working a little bit, and so I have to be with my kids during that time. And we’re pretty big on no screen time, so it’s like I got to engage and create projects and activities for them. Anyways. I feel like this is challenging me to become a better person, because I’ve had, over the last several weeks and really almost two months, a lot of time to just crumble and be like, “F this. This is terrible,” and be miserable every day. I really could show up that way if I chose that. And instead I’ve really like … I had moments of that and then I’ve stepped up and created a new routine and created goals like, what do I want? What do I want to change? What do I want to be better between now and when this is “over.” And really, it’s making me a better person. It’s making me stronger.
And so I kind of want to share with you guys my viewpoint on how I’m leveraging this time to not only become a stronger person but also to get my business to be stronger. I really believe that we are given times like this, and sometimes these ebbs and flows just happen in business when the economy is not bad, that’s normal, too, to have a down month in business, or a down quarter, and then it picks back up. [See episode 132, Seasons In Business, for more about that!] And I believe that those downtimes are really for a time where you double down and you really improve your service, your foundation, your processes, your delivery to your customers. And it’s that opportunity to do that before it picks back up and grows again.
So for me, here’s how I’m leveraging this time, and if this gives you some ideas or inspiration. The first thing is my business margins and expenses. Thankfully, my business is still doing great. There’s a lot of potential in the ad space, so we’ve actually had some clients who want to spend more. We have had new clients come on, and I think that there’s going to continue to be a lot of opportunity for me, which I’m very grateful for. But still there’s a lot of uncertainty. So as soon as it started happening, I immediately went into my business expenses and got rid of anything we didn’t need. I really didn’t find a lot. I maybe found a couple of hundred dollars a month, honestly. I already run my business pretty slim, but still I went in and found anything we didn’t need to trim that back.
I also am being very aware of margins, because there’s times where you build your team and stack your team, and you kind of have a little bit … you over-hired a little bit, because you’re preparing for growth. Now is not the time to do that, just in case. So I’m keeping things pretty tight. As soon as this happened, I told my leadership team like, “We got to be really careful with capacity.” We actually are hiring, but we’re going to hire this … we’re going to just be extra careful on start dates and whatnot. So it’s a really great opportunity right now for you to look at your margins to figure out what do you not need, because when things are really good and cash is just flowing in and your overall margins are good and your businesses working, you don’t always look at those things.
You don’t always look at the little expenses, the softwares that you’re paying for. I know for me that was a lot of what I cut back is, I had softwares that we were paying for that we weren’t really using anymore or that we had replaced with something else, and I just missed it and hadn’t really focused on it and paid attention to it. And so I was able to cut those back. So it’s a great time to look at margins, to look at expenses, to keep things as trimmed as possible so that you have the highest amount of margin so that then any margin, your net profit … right now what I’m also doing is taking a percentage of that and putting it straight into savings, before I pay myself. That’s just what I’m doing personally. I’m not saying that that’s some financial advice, but I really think right now if I can take X amount of dollars every week and put it into a savings account, then through this, I want to come out with more savings. I want to come out in a better place than where I was going into this.
So it’s a really good opportunity, and honestly it’s also opened my eyes to how important that is, because to be completely transparent and honest with you, we just bought our house in November, and so I drained a lot of our savings, obviously, to buy our house and this is making me very aware of how I would like to have had a lot more savings in my bank going into an economic crisis, and the next time this happens, I will have more savings. Again, like I said, I’ve never been through this, so… I kind of knew it was coming, but I was like, “Eh, it’s coming soon. Who knows, but,” and I will be completely fine and I do have a savings, but it just opens your eyes to everything. You’re kind of like, “I wish I did this before this happened. I would feel a little bit more stable or comfortable or calm if I had this.” And all of those things I’m really like taking into account for the future, because this will happen again in my lifetime. Absolutely it will.
So the next thing I’m really doing is doubling down on our service and our delivery. Now is a better time than ever to look at everywhere we have a gap in our actual delivery. And I feel pretty amazing about my team’s delivery. My newborn, William, was kind of a catalyst actually before all of this to redo a lot and document a lot, and we created playbooks for every department and everything. So we were already in a pretty good place. But I just believe right now for your customers, do not give them anything to be upset about, to be frustrated about. They already are dealing with enough. And so I’ve had several conversations with my team. We always are on our A game, but now more than ever, we have to be on top of it. We have to have other people double check your work, have us be super proactive with actions and things we’re doing. And with that, finding where can we improve? Where can we put some time and energy into improving our skills or improving our service or improving our process, our foundation?
Now is the time to focus on that because the economy will swing back up and your business will grow again, if it’s slowed down. And when that’s not happening and when you’re in a slower time is the time to focus on your service and your delivery and your customers, and to make it the best experience, not to mention if you have clients, we have clients… I don’t want to give any one of them a single reason to even consider leaving right now, right? So we have already … as soon as this happened, day one, I was like, “All right, we’re auditing all the accounts. We’re creating new messaging.” We were very proactive and on top of it. And as a result of that, we’ve lost very few clients to COVID. We’ve lost only a couple whose businesses were greatly impacted, and will probably be back. But because we were able to pivot and actually create a plan for all of our clients, they [mostly] all stayed, and that was what I wanted.
The next way I’m leveraging this is really in my personal life, just kind of recalibrating. It’s kind of funny because it feels like … I keep saying this is the worst time for this to happen to me because I have a newborn, and it is crazy and a lot of people are like, “I don’t know how you’re doing it with a newborn,” but also a newborn is also a time to recalibrate your routine and your schedule, and you just go through so much change. And so on top of this, I have this that I’m going through. And so what’s happening right now, at least for me personally, is we don’t have any house help in our house. And so it’s actually made our family closer because we have to pull together, and we have a routine. It’s like Wednesdays we change the sheets. Thursdays we vacuum.
My kids have to play together sometimes when I’m on a quick call, and they’re out on the back patio with a project. And to be honest, my kids are getting along better. We’ve kind of found this groove of doing it all ourselves, and I’m not going to stay like this forever, because I want help when I can have it again. But it’s just been a really good at growing experience for me to realize how much I’m capable of, how much I can get through, and also where my priorities are… So I’ve had a lot of … I’ve had more time with my kids. My three- and five-year-old, or almost three and five, and we’ve done a lot of projects, and I’ve been homeschooling them with preschool activities, very play-based, sensory bins and stuff. But I’ve really enjoyed that. And even when this is over and I have help, I want to continue doing that, because I want that time, and it’s kind of reminded me and reignited that spark in me of why I even started my business was to have this freedom, was to have this time with my kids.
Now, I need to be able to work, and I’m still working every day, because I want to, because I need that thing for me. But I know when we go back to normal and we have a nanny again, I still want to do this homeschooling with them, and I still want to do these projects, and it’s given me this new, I don’t know, passion and love for it. And so, I think that there’s an opportunity right now for you to find things you wouldn’t normally do, whether that’s painting or learning… I’ve seen people learning a musical instrument or reading more or playing games with your spouse. Whatever it is, you’re going to find these things throughout this that you’re like, “Wow, I’ve never slowed down enough to do this. And I love it.” And so find those things, and then keep them going once this is over. Keep them going once you go back to regular life.
I think in a way this has been probably a really beautiful experience for a lot of people to slow down, especially entrepreneurs. We never stop. We love to work. That is our passion, and it’s so easy to fall into that, working 10 hour plus days and kind of neglecting your family. I cannot do that because I have young kids, but I do think I can scale back, and I can ask myself, “Do I need to do that for work or can I delegate that, and instead make that extra time to do the homeschooling with my kids and create those projects,” because I really enjoy it. And honestly, it wouldn’t have been something that I would have been doing if we didn’t go through this. And so there’s other things, too, that I’ve been able to create time for during this that I will keep in my routine. And so I think that’s something you can look at. “What are things that I can do right now to become a better person, to be a happier person,” and continue doing them once this is over.
The last way that I’m leveraging this is honestly opportunity. I really believe almost every business right now, probably every business, has an opportunity to think outside the box, to get creative and to solve the problem that they’re in, if their sales are down, and be able to do that and create either new streams of revenue or new ways to serve their audience or new ways to market. Whatever that looks like, I think we’ve been presented, a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners, with a problem that’s pretty challenging, especially for those that have been shut down or lost a significant chunk of their revenue. Those are all scary, challenging things, but honestly, entrepreneurs thrive on this. We’re like, “Okay, throw me a challenge. We can do this. Let me step up, let’s go.” And since the beginning, that’s how I felt, even though we really haven’t lost much revenue thankfully.
I’m very, very grateful for that, but I know a lot of people have, but I still was like, “How can we leverage this? There’s so much opportunity out there.” And for us, we already are looking at just some new audiences that are going to be looking for online marketing now that they have to bring their business online and they have to get customers and leads from online. And so, right now, with this problem that you may be facing in your business, if your revenue is down or business will shut down or partially shut down… brings the opportunity to have new ideas and solutions to that problem that you would’ve never come up with that could end up being even better than what you had before. And I truly believe that, and I think that there’s a lot of opportunity for that.
So right now, I almost feel overwhelmed by the amount of opportunity just between all of our clients, we’re finding an opportunity for them and helping them through that… And then for us, we’re launching new funnels, and it’s just an amazing time for brand awareness and visibility, because ads are so cheap, and so there’s a lot of opportunity out there. So challenge yourself not to just be like … what I really recommend you don’t do is just say, “I’m going to wait for this to pass, and I’m going to go back to normal after this.” I hope that you’re not doing that, because if you are, I want you to shift your perspective, because it isn’t going to go back to normal.
There’s going to be a new normal, and it’s going to take a long time, because if they just say, “Hey, we can open everything up now,” it doesn’t mean that immediately people are going to start going back to normal life. They just won’t. And so right now is your chance to be finding new solutions, creative solutions, and challenging yourself with the question of, “What are three things I can do right now to improve this situation, to get sales up, to keep our customers, to serve our people in a new way?” Come up with as many ideas as you can, and you might come up with a solution that you never would’ve come up with, but it’s better than anything you had.
All right, my friends, that is how I’m leveraging this time to become a stronger business and person. I’d love to know how you are leveraging this time, if you want to send me an Instagram message [@emilyhirsh] or put it on social media somewhere. Thanks so much for tuning in, and if you want support with your marketing through this, as I said, we are seeing, truly, I’m not just saying this, you’ll see it all over the internet, probably, the lowest ad costs in five plus years on Facebook right now. So if you’re sitting on an opportunity, if you want to grow your list, if you want to grow your brand awareness and use this time for content and growth, it’s an excellent time for that. And we are supporting many clients through that and offering a free strategy call to talk through what that could look like for your business. So if you go to helpmystrategy.com, you can apply, see if you qualify for that free strategy call, and see if we can support you. Thanks so much for listening guys.