Gosh I know we all say this all the time but goodness me! Where has the year gone?
I know this year has been so strange for us all and I often say how remarkable it is that it still seems to have gone just as fast as other years considering most of us haven't done an awful lot this year except #stayhome
So in this months blog post I have decided to do a year in review and I think this is something we all should do at some point and whether you prefer to write it down, look through pictures or talk it over, I think we often forget about so many things that happen in a year and it's important to remind ourselves of the highs and the lows.
Where to start with 2020 hey?! I tell you, it's a year we won't forget!
The beginning of the year, always symbolises a fresh start and this year I was so excited to get stuck into working from my new home salon after we moved towards the end of 2019. I really feel like the new salon was created with everything that I had felt was missing or that I had wanted to improve on the old salon. I now have a bigger treatment room, separate waiting area, large retail area plus a client only toilet and after over a year of working from here, I truly wouldn't change a thing about it.
I also started the year with a brand new Radio Frequency Machine allowing me to offer another anti ageing face and body treatment and the results I have seen over the year have been incredible.
When Lockdown 1 happened it was a big shock for me! Although I'd say it became a bigger shock as time went on because of course at first none of us knew how long it would go on for. I was thrust into home schooling as many parents were and I guess my business was pushed to the side. My initial thought process was 'well that's it then until I can reopen..' or was it? After a couple of weeks of purely focusing on the children, home school and house work I was craving that contact with my clients and knew I had to reach out. I ordered positivity cards online and sat each evening writing personal notes to my regular clients and popping free samples in to cheer them up. A few days later when they started to receive them, I felt so happy when they started to get in touch and I knew I had put a smile on their face at such a worrying time.
Then came the next step.. I had mentioned I was still available for products if they needed anything to get in touch but I suddenly realised how the sale of products was no longer as easy for me as all of my sales had always been done in person when the clients where in the salon. Suddenly they weren't allowed to come to the salon and I realised how the system I'd followed for so long was now out of date.
I found personally I had turned to the internet more in the case of anything I needed to buy because all of the shops and businesses (non essential) were now closed. Then I realised maybe my clients were feeling like that? Then I knew, I needed a website.
I had a very basic website when I had the salon on the high street but when I reduced my hours after Lydia was born, I wasn't in a position to take on new clients so didn't feel like I needed to advertise so I took the website down. Up until lockdown, I had never felt any issue around not having a website. Clients came to me, they knew where I was and that was that, but now I was in this new situation I realised things had changed pretty much overnight.
So I looked into website designers, it was a minefield and gosh the cost was astronomical.. bearing in mind I was not earning a penny nor had been offered any financial help from the government at this point, I knew I wasn't in a position to fork out for a professional web designer so I set to it myself and built my own. Gosh it was hard work! It took hours and hours, a few tears and I was literally learning as I went but eventually I did it and I was so proud of myself! This allowed me to take far more retail sales than I would have without it and I just knew I had made the right decision.
As well as this, I started to record videos for my social media. I'd seen a salon mentor saying online how important it was to keep in touch with your clients in any way we could at that time and as well as phone call, text and the usual ways, he suggested videos. I cringed at the thought of this! I hate myself on camera and quickly dismissed it and put it out my mind but as the weeks were turning into months I realised this wasn't going away so I went back and watched his training video again. He advised to be raw and be yourself and just remind your clients you are still there.. he ended the video by saying 'remember your clients love you and will want to see you' so I thought that's it I'll have a go and record one and if it's terrible, I'll delete it and forget about it.. well I think it was terrible but I felt relieved once I'd done it and in a quick moment I thought 'just post it, what's the worse that can happen' and that was the start of something.. I got so much positive feedback and messages that it spurred me on to do more and I started to do weekly videos. I discussed everything from how to be positive to product knowledge and I started to really enjoy it and most of all, it gave me a purpose other than my family roles, I started to realise how important it was for me to have a purpose at work as well.
As I got more confident with videos and my website was up and running, I started to think about returning to work and all of the details of that. I would describe myself as a bit of a control freak and as someone who has worked alone for many years, I struggle to off load jobs to people even though I find I struggle juggling it all. I had always said I would never get an online booking system because I liked to do it myself and I know how long this takes etc etc then I started to think how much the website had helped and that clients had liked it so I decided to ask my regular clients what their opinion was. Totally unsure of what they'd say, I sent them all a text asking 'opinions on online booking yes or no?' and I was blown away by how many said yes straight away! So I went for it, I spent the last few weeks of lockdown setting it up and goodness me it has been the best thing I have done! It has saved me so much time and the clients love it!
When I returned to work at the end of the summer I was so happy to be back! It was the longest time I had ever had off work in my whole career, even longer than the maternity leaves I had taken with the girls so it was a big deal! They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and that is exactly how I would describe my feeling about coming back to work. I felt this new passion inside of me that I hadn't felt for a while, maybe since becoming a Mum and juggling all the plates you have to when you are working also, I guess something has to give, I'm not sure if it can ever be 50-50 and I definitely felt over the last few years my pull has naturally being towards my family so for the first time in a while I felt the pull from work and I wanted to grab it with both hands and not let go.
Seeing my clients again and hearing them say they were impressed with how proactive I had been during lockdown and that they could see a change in me made me even more motivated.
I celebrated my 12th Year in business with an event at the beginning of November and although it was slightly frantic, as the rumours of lockdown 2 were circulating, I managed to bring it forward and celebrated with all my loyal clients (albeit 1-1 rather than all together) and it was fantastic. When lockdown 2 happened, although it was a shock, I felt motivated for another challenge and knew I had to conquer one final fear I had.. Live Videos.
After spending time training in social media this year and learning how it all works, I had learnt the power of Facebook live videos but this was something that scared the life out of me! It wasn't like my pre recorded videos I had got used to doing, if something went wrong there I can just stop and delete but lives aren't like that.. having said that I had this feeling inside me, it's hard to describe but even though this big part of me said 'you can't do that' there was like another part of me that said 'I really want to' so I decided I the only was to get over my fear was to do it so decided I would bring my retail items to the clients in daily Facebook lives with my SJC Shopping which was a bit of fun and my take on QVC Shopping!
The first night I went live I was shaking and sweating and thinking what am I putting myself through this for but I committed, I announced to everyone I was going live every night so I knew I had to hold myself accountable and couldn't let everyone down as anyone who knows me will know, once I say something I will always stick to my word and so I did it! I went live for 4 weeks and actually really enjoyed it! Again, like the first lockdown, it gave me a sense of purpose while I was closed and it generated sales which was amazing!
Now I am back to work again and buzzing with excitement as we lead up to Christmas! My first VIP Membership was a sell out on Black Friday and currently I am running my first Advent Promotion which is proving to be popular! I have also gained new some clients this year even though I have been closed for most of it! But my work online seems to have paid off and even though that wasn't the goal, it has come as a nice bonus, so for 2021 I am excited to be increasing my hours to cope with the demand!
So, there is my summary of 2020. I guess if there's one thing I have taken from this year, it is to be open to change and embrace it rather than run from it and sometimes negative situations bring positive outcomes and for me personally, I don't think any of the things I have done this year would have happened without Covid-19 and the lockdowns.
Let's see what 2021 has in store..