COVID-19 Stole my Career then Set Me on a Path to Owning a Publishing Company
17th March 2020 is etched in my mind forever. It was the worst day of my working life. Due to Covid-19 I’d lost 96% of my clients in a business that I’d been building with my husband for twenty-five years. We were too close to retirement to start again, and too far away to claim our pensions. We were lost at sea with enough money in the bank to stay afloat for a few months if we were careful.
By August 2020 I’d written and published a book and was running online programmes with students around the world and, the surprise of all surprises, I’d started a publishing company. Even now I have to pinch myself. Here’s how it happened…
2020 was the silver anniversary year of our business and our advance orders were the highest they had ever been. In January we’d said; This is already set to be our best year ever. Our income looked like a cast iron guarantee, but by March it had fallen through the floor like a lead balloon.
We were holding on with our biggest client, and then six days before the official lock down, that client too cancelled the rest of the year’s work. “I’m sorry to do this.” The HR Director said. I stared at the cold coffee in the mug on the table. The air was heavy and empty. My gold fountain pen lay inert by the laptop. The screen was blank. The diary, that two days ago was full and vibrant was now a barren expanse of wasteland. My stomach was a stirred pot of rotten mulch. My heart, a ton weight in my chest. The clock ticked on the mantelpiece. “I understand.” I said.
What could I do? This was a situation I’d never been in before and my mind could not compute how to get out of it.
So what did I do?
I did the one thing my beleaguered mind thought was the stupidest waste of time, yet my heart and soul urged me on to do. I wrote.
I wrote every day. Without fail, without question, without paying attention to the voices in my head that screamed at me to market my business, contact my old customers and do everything possible to resurrect the 96%. I wrote without any idea of who or what I was writing for, I just wrote.
And each day I posted what I’d written on social media.
The days passed by. The weeks turned into a month. The writing turned into a daily yarn. Then one day I realised that the Daily Yarns had turned into a book.
I was 48 days in. I didn’t know if I was half-way there or whether I’d written the whole enchilada. All I knew was that I would know when I knew. So I kept on writing.
As May turned into June, it started to look like the lockdown was done. And so was the book. I put my pen to bed and signed off on the Daily Yarns.
I didn’t know what I was going to do next. Find a publisher? Surely not self-publish? That would be a hiding to nothing wouldn’t it? I decided to at least investigate the possibility and on 23rd July, my book, Daily Yarns, Riding the Lockdown Roller Coaster of Emotions, turned into a bestselling book on the Amazon bookshelf.
If I’d have realised what a rocky road it would be, I’d never have set foot on the path, but my heart and soul knew better. After trial, error and tribulations, too many expletives and restarts, researching what to do next after I’d already tried and failed, as is my wont, my second book published came into existence.
I, who thought I was in control of my own destiny, learned a major life lesson. The intelligence behind life has its foot on the pedal, and the brake. That my inner wisdom is a far better guide than ever my ego is, when it thinks it’s in the driving seat.
I’d put my writing out into the ether, and what came back was requests for help from others who wanted to write and publish books. I answered the cries for help. I paid attention to what life asked of me. I followed my heart and soul, and on 11th November 2020 I received confirmation that my publishing company IW Press Ltd was now a registered company. I have four clients waiting to publish their books and the first one will hit the shelves in early 2021.
I still pinch myself each morning, and who knows what 2021 will bring? Not me, that’s for sure. What I do know is that I will keep following the nudges from my heart, ignore the noise of fear in my head, and I’ll show up for where life wants to take me.