Now before we get into our second episode of “How Are You Handling This?,” first a quick reminder about MyDoma’s career catapulting event, “19 Hours.” Now it has already started, but – good news!, you can still register and take part in what hasn’t occurred yet and get the replay once it all ends. So no need to fret if you forgot to register last week.
There are tons of panels, seminars, and more, solely focused on getting you and your firm through this crisis and far beyond. So this is definitely a not to be missed event, particularly as it’s both free, and streamed right into your home – so it might even be better than if you were in person! Save your seat here before the opportunity passes you by!
A Lot of Experience, A Lot of Success, and A Lot of Hard Won Advice
Now onto our second episode of “How Are You Handling This?!” During this episode we talked with Kirsten McCoy of Meadowbank Designs, a luxury retail designer working out of Philadelphia whose made it through 20 years of business and 3 recessions. So, she has a lot of experience, a lot of success, and thus, a lot of great, hard won advice.
During this episode we talked a lot about what she’s doing in her firm to get through this recession, just like she’s gotten through the others. A “what can we do” mindset rather than “look at all that we can’t do” one, a firm hold on her finances, and not surprisingly, a total dedication to serving her clients. As you’ll hear during our time together, Kirsten even says, “I feel a lot better when I’m serving my clients.” So wise, Kirsten, and I think so true for us all.
Focus on Serving Your Clients
Focusing on serving your clients, past, present, and potential, is what will get you through this. Whether it’s momentarily taking smaller jobs like paint consultations or just specifying a few accessories to update a living room, focus on doing whatever your clients need from you right now. And again, remember that adapting to this environment doesn’t mean that things have to stay this way forever. Or that your clients will be confused about the services you offer. You want to keep serving your ideal client, but in the way that they want to be served in this new environment. Find out what they’re thinking, find out what they’re feeling, and then use that information to offer what they need.
Temporary measures and services, which may end up being permanent if you see fit, are what businesses around the world are doing right now – certain shopping hours are now only for those who are high – risk, stores are closing for days to ensure they’re able to clean properly or to concentrate workers in areas that have the highest need, certain non essential goods are not being delivered for weeks as priority is given to essential goods, and some grocery stores are even closing to the public completely and becoming curb side pick up only.
Creating these types of temporary or stop gap ways of working, is absolutely ok, and smart, as long as it’s to make working with your clientele easier, safer, and better. Being a leader means making decisions that may change the course of your business, and may be against “usual” policy that you’ve created, but are done out of an awareness that it’s what’s necessary for the type of situation that you’re currently in – which is in no way “usual.” Following your own policy makes sense 99% of the time, but 1% of the time it doesn’t. In that 1%, you should trust yourself to navigate what’s ahead in the best way possible. You should trust yourself to not follow your own policy when it just doesn’t make sense because well, you’re not a blind follower, even of your own policy. You’re a leader.
So just like Kirsten says, “Serve, serve, serve your clients.” I know it may be hard to know what to do for your clients. It may be hard to know how you can help. It may be hard to believe that you even can, but I assure you, you can. And if you don’t know how, just reach out and ask them.
Give Clients Something to Occupy Their Mind & Their Time With
During our time we also discussed how important it is to lead your clients to a place of optimism and hope through social media. You want to connect and engage with them, to remind them of a bright and beautiful place in life when they need it most. You want to help them stay occupied, active, and focused.
Commit yourself, and ask your followers to commit, to something like a, “pick up where you left off” challenge, similar to a ORC (one room challenge) – except for projects that got started but never finished. Just make sure it requires very minimal materials and that it doesn’t challenge them too much. Make the majority of your challenges fairly quick and easy wins. You don’t want to be stressing people out even more so than they already are.
Or, you can even offer this idea of a “pick up where you left off” challenge as a service and become a “designing coach” of sorts. Right now you can’t go into someone’s home, but you can meet them where they’re at in their project. You can talk to them about what’s causing them to be stalled, hold weekly virtual meetings to make sure they’re making progress week to week, and provide solutions to anything they come up against. Boom, new service. See how simple that was? You could easily get that up and running within 24-48 hours. Just write out what they would get, how they would get it, how you’d receive payment, how you’d provide the deliverables and follow up, and off you go.
So just like Kirsten says, absolutely create new and smaller services, but don’t just offer a generic virtual consultation. Come up with a unique and interesting offer that they won’t be seeing everywhere else on social media. Meet your clients where they’re at. Maybe your clients need help not just creating a home office, but actually need to know the best way to create a home office in their bedroom while still being able to use it as a place of rest. Or, maybe they need to know how to turn a large closet into a functional home office. A lot of people are looking for something meaningful and purposeful to do right now, so be the one who gives them that meaning and purpose – whether by providing it as a service or just by posting it as inspiration.
Stay Calm, Stay Creative, and Focus on What You Can Do
This time is scary, I know. It’s called a crisis for a reason, and its like no other crisis we’ve ever been in. It’s not a normal recession. It’s not a normal “tough time.” It’s a double whammy of difficulty as the world is scared about both health and finances right now. Plus, when we need each other the most, we have to stay apart, at least physically.
But just as Kirsten says, “Remember we do have a bit of a safety net (she’s referring to government assistance offered to small businesses through the CARES act – you can find a guide to the act here that makes it more understandable) so breathe and hire an accountant.” So take it from a designer whose got a road of success behind her, and before her – stay calm, stay creative, and focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t. You can watch it all here.
And next week we’ll be back with the last and final episode of “How Are You Handling This?” so be sure to check back!
Let me know how you’re handling this quarantine both in your business and your personal life, leave it in the comments below!
And if you’d like help focusing on the client experience at this difficult time, check out the listing of guides and resources available to you here!