As wedding floral designers, oftentimes we are stressed because there are so many unknowns in our business. After all, we are running a business and a business that depends on perishable products. Not only do we get stressed about the products, but also other aspects of the business. I’m sure you understand this stress over the past 2 years since we’ve all experienced the same worldwide pandemic. As the second year of covid comes to an end, I reflect back on the past months.
I ain’t gonna lie, last year April and May, I was SO stressed. All weddings were canceled or postponed, like the rest of the world. I didn’t qualify for our government’s grants because of the fine prints. My studio landlord wasn’t going to do a thing to help with rent, even if he was able to get FREE money from the government to help me. He didn’t. $2k rent a month with no weddings happening… plus utilities, internet, cell phone bills… I’m sure this sounds familiar to you as you might have experienced the same situation.
Here are the 3 major lessons COVID taught me over the last 2 years…
1. Entertain the Idea of the Worst-case Scenario
Like I said, I was so stressed not knowing when my next month’s rent will come from. I tried to remain calm but who were we kidding. Sleepless nights, my period was messed up, constantly worried that all my hard work all these years would have been down the drain overnight. I know, I wasn’t unique and am sure I wasn’t the only one in my boat. Eventually, I did calm down, I prayed and just tried to clear my head. I knew I needed a plan, I needed to evaluate the situation and plan for the worst-case scenario. I was thinking to myself, what would be the worst thing that can happen? If I can live with that, then there’s nothing I need to stress about.
- The worst-case would be I move out of my 2600 square feet studio and warehouse
- The worst-case would be to dig into my savings
- The worst-case would be to declare bankruptcy for the business
- The worst-case would be to start over with another business name
- The worst-case would be to have to refund the deposits of contracts already signed if the couples cancelled
Ok, these are the worst things that can happen. Can I accept these things if they do happen?
- I’ve always wanted to move out of the studio and warehouse anyways. That’s OK, checked!
- I’ve savings and it’s not like I’ve never experienced being in the “red”, my bank account had seen worse. That’s OK, checked!
- If the business goes bankrupt, I am not bankrupt. My 15 years experience will never disappear. I still have all my images of the beautiful weddings I’ve been a part of. I can start over. (side note: this is also why it’s important to incorporate your business!) That’s OK, checked!
- My clients (people I still had contracts with, just postponed) hired me for me, they did not hire A Timeless Celebration. Caryn Lim can still do their weddings, just under another name, but I’m sure my clients don’t care. That’s OK, checked!
- If any more weddings were to cancel, some couples might fight to have their initial deposits to be refunded. I wrote down all the wedding contracts I still had in my hands. I wrote down the likelihood of the couples cancelling their wedding (postponing was alright, if cancelled, they might argue for their deposit back). What was the most amount of money I would have to return? I was able to live with that amount. That’s OK, checked!
Once I realized the worst-case scenarios weren’t so bad at all and that I know I can handle them. I was 500lbs lighter! This made me 200% more calm as I was able to see the possible outcomes. Then I made a plan and find ways to pivot my business. Some businesses thrived during the pandemic, what can I do to bring in some income to at least cover my studio and warehouse rent? I made a plan and went with it.
2. Detach Myself from the Outcome
At one point I also thought to myself, if I had to close down my business, it would have been embarrassing! But we were in a world pandemic for crying out loud. It wasn’t my fault if I had to close down my business. Half the world closed down their business (sad and unfortunately, my heart goes out to them).
When you’re in business, you have to remember to detach yourself from it. Not just in the case of the pandemic, but also with our success and failures, client’s decisions, dealing with other vendors, etc. We have control over these things up to a certain degree. As long as we have done all we could and done our best, then? We need to let go and detach ourselves from those things and situations.
For example, you provided number one customer service. You replied promptly to the couple’s emails, provided the quote within 24 hours of the consultation, tried to accommodate their requests, and were patient throughout the process. The couple ended up not booking you. It wasn’t on you. You did everything within your control and your responsibility and possibly even went above and beyond. The ball was in their court in the end. There could be many reasons why they decided not to move forward with you. That’s fine. Reflect on what you had done well or didn’t do so well with this particular couple. Keep doing what you have been doing that’s great and improve on things that weren’t so great.
Perhaps in the case of the pandemic, could you have done something to make it easier for you to go through the difficult time? Could you have pivoted differently? What can you do to better prepare yourself for another worldwide emergency and lockdown where it caused your weddings to be canceled or postponed?
3. I am Strong, Resilient and Smart
I can start from scratch again and build this baby back up in no time. I’ve done it before when I was in the negative, all red in my bank accounts and credit card. I’ve done it before, so I already have the steps to do it all over again if I need to!
I am strong. I am resilient. I try my best. I value my life. I am not perfect, I am the perfect me. I never give up. I am empathetic. I am a warrior, ready to conquer. I am not broken. I am loving. I take things one day at a time. I’m independent. I’m human. I’m a survivor.Unknown
There are many bumps and challenges when we’re in business. We just learn to deal with them and overcome them. If we fall, we just pick ourselves back up again and we go at it again. Above all things, let’s give yourself some credit for dealing with whatever comes your way, especially, going through the pandemic. One of my friends told me, whoever, whichever business can survive through the pandemic, it will last and will survive whatev may come.
Sharing with you an Instagram Reel I posted the other day. I invite you to connect on Instagram, I’d love to chat with you there!
So after all of this, if anything, COVID had made me stronger. It validated that I do have a strong foundation for my business, and it forced me to make changes to my business I otherwise would have been afraid to implement. The result? My business is now even better off than pre-covid. Heck, I even executed a couple of my biggest wedding floral contracts straight out of my garage! Actually, half of a single-car garage!
What lessons have you learned over the past 2 years? Whether in your business or in your personal life? Perhaps you even started your floral business because of Covid! Share with us your lessons so that we can learn from them and be encouraged too.
Cheering you on!