Someone once told me "don't try to control the uncontrollable." As a confirmed control freak, that made zero sense. I mean, who even says that?! After the unprecedented events from this week, it's become my mantra.
We are in an industry where we rely on social interaction but we need to practice social distancing. We plan, provide services or work events but the events are cancelled to prevent spread of the virus. We have no current income and we need to remain calm, wait, WHAT?!
But it's true. All we can do right now is take this day by day, so let's start with how we can take care of our clients.
1) Managing brides, grooms, meeting planners etc, can already be stressful at times, but add a global pandemic to the mix and we just turned it up to eleven. All we can do is treat them the way we'd want to be treated. Let them know we are all in this together. Let them reschedule. Let them roll over deposits. Maintain the relationship. March and April sales are pretty much toast so make every effort to accommodate changes to move that business to another date. Use that gift of personality and efficiency we are required in this profession to kindly communicate with clients and document all changes appropriately.
2) Respond! Don't leave them hanging--especially now. If you are unsure of an answer, tell them you will let them know once you know more. Sounds ridiculous, but I cannot tell you how many of our clients have been empathetic to our situation, too. We're all new to this pandemic business.
2) Connect with your industry partners! Keep the lines of communication open should you need advice, or want to share advice. You may also need backup should you have a client in need of reschedule and you aren't available. While we cannot interact in person, use online tools (see below) to stay connected to your peeps. Social media and virtual meetings are where it's at right now!
So we will take care of our clients, how about our income? 3.3 million people are currently unemployed and there is no timeline when those unemployment checks will come in, but you can still be proactive protecting yourself. Most states and counties have deferment/protection options for mortgages, car payments or rentals. Reach out to your lenders and creditors to let them know your situation. You are definitely not alone.
Everyone is doing it! My teenage daughter, my "millenial" sister, my "boomer" Ma-in-law; you don't need to connect in person to stay social. These online chat options allow you to stay connected and still practice social distancing. You can have virtual client meetings, network, happy hour or even game night!
1) https://houseparty.com/ They have games!
1) Clean, purge, donate! Take this time to rid yourself of clutter and unneeded items and donate to others less fortunate. There are many local shelters, churches or donation services available who would be grateful for your contribution.
2) Want to splurge one day? Many restaurants are offering take out services (with booze!) and definitely appreciate our business.
3) On the flip side of that coin, Top Ramen may be on the daily menu. Here's some ideas on how to dress up this budget and pantry friendly package o' noodles!
4) Don't forget about maintaining your mental health. In hospitality, we are trying to rid ourselves of the old school perspective of being "on" no matter what. We are grateful to have a program locally called "I Got Your Back" which has some great tools for the hospitality industry.
5) If you're like me and were in a seated position for eight hours a day, use this time to GET UP. Get out, exercise, get away from the computer, get fresh air. I cannot tell you how many times I didn't realize two hours went by and I hadn't moved. That is so bad for us so get moving!
This phrase used to annoy me too since I am not a particularly calm person, but I need to hear it and live it. We all do. None of us are in control of everything, but there are things we can control: our relationships with clients, our relationships with creditors, our relationships with our industry peeps and relationship with ourselves. Stay calm and stay safe. Use this time to appreciate the perspective that there's a much bigger picture out there and we all have a purpose. What's yours?