It was a year ago today I drove over to Grain & Pulse Bakery Cafe in Imperial, SK to pick up an order I had placed. The plan was for Beauty by Jay and my small business, Living Sky Yoga & Fitness to have an open house the next day at the building we share.
Jay had placed an ad in the local newspaper and I had ordered treats from the fabulous local chef at Grain & Pulse. At the open house Jay was going to do a hair tutorial and I has going to offer Tabata GX and yoga classes.
I didn’t think about it at the time but we were women entrepreneurs with small businesses working together to support each other in the same week as International Women’s Day. I like that.
News of Covid-19 was already intensifying in the days leading up to this. I remember texting with Jay while standing in Grain & Pulse picking up my order. We both felt that it was okay to go ahead with our planned event.
As I was driving home though, I began to have a change of heart. Jay must have been having second thoughts too. Once home, I touched base with her again. We eventually ended up deciding to to postpone the event (we still haven’t had it). Now, I was stuck at home with the delectable treats for 50 people that I had ordered… (best problem ever)
Over the weekend that followed I reached out to some registered nurses and two doctors I know. They didn’t mince words and their advice was unanimous. Their recommendation to me was to shut things down for the time being. I didn’t like their advice, but decided to take it. On the Monday that followed I taught a 6:30am Yoga Flow class and let everyone know I was closing things down for a bit. Little did I know that a year later I would not have had a regular in-person class since.
Within a day or two of my decision the government was shutting everything down. Since then I have been allowed to be open for some of the months with tight restrictions. When open I was only allowed to have about 25% of the people in the space than prior to the pandemic. However, in November when the government expanded the required distances I needed to keep folks apart, I had to once again shut things down. My space was just not big enough.
The current guidelines are set to expire March 19. The government has seemed hopeful about loosening restrictions and I am curious if I will benefit. However, I am fairly sure that it will be a while yet before I can return to ‘normal’.
Going into opening my studio I had a five year plan (lol). In the first year I got sick, had surgery, and a long recovery. In the second….a global pandemic….
But here I am – still trying…
I know I could focus on the negative (and sometimes I do), but for the most part I refuse to. So on this one year anniversary of sorts I want to reflect on five positives in my life with my small business over the past year.
- Tech skills- I have learned (often teaching myself) more technology in the past year than I had learned in my entire life.
- Continuing education- when the world shut down and everyone pivoted to online offerings I was able to do huge amounts of continuing education. I still am. Virtual classes has opened the door to learning with experts from around the world at a fraction of the cost.
- New opportunities- Shortly into the pandemic a casual comment to a friend led me to writing for the local paper. The pieces started on health and fitness topics, but have evolved since. The editor is fabulous and open to me exploring a range of topics. Writing for the paper has become one of the highlights of my week.
- Pushing me out of my comfort zone- As 2020 started one of my goals was to explore offering some online options to my clients. I confess, I probably would have procrastinated on that. I would have been super nervous, unsure of myself and that would have led me to putting it off. 2020 forced me to tackle that. I now love offering online options and know that it will alway be one part of my business.
- Support- Finally, I am so grateful for all the support folks have given me over this challenging time. I truly appreciate how people genuinely care about and support small business. All the fabulous women I get to meet and work with makes this journey rewarding.
I keep the ad Jay placed in the paper for our open house on the bulletin board in my home office. It is already starting to yellow around the edges. I imagine I will keep it there for a long time to come. It’s a reminder of the risks you take when starting a small business, that to do so one has to be a little bit fearless. It’s a symbol of women entrepreneurs and the support we give each other. Most all it speaks to me of hope and optimism in the face of uncertainty.