As I posted the notice on the clinic Facebook page announcing that the clinic was closing due to Covid 19, I felt sick to my stomach. This shit had finally got real. No longer could I bury my head in the sand and pretend it didn’t affect me or my family. In the 21 years I had been a therapist, the clinic had never closed! Yes, I had had time off due to illness/maternity leave but there had always been another chiropractor available to support my patients. Now the doors were closed, and right there and then I had declared my therapy business closed too.
As I pressed send, my husband came and started discussing all the plans for the day and I just didn’t want to hear them. I burst into tears and ranted about how my business was closed and that I could no longer help anyone and that I couldn’t earn any money and that we were now royally screwed! I told him I needed time to process this and that all I wanted to do was go to bed, binge watch Netflix, eat crap and feel sorry for myself……oh and could he mind the kids too whilst I wallowed in my pity pit. I promised him that by the next morning I would be ok, and I meant it. I just needed the space to think.
As I lay there over those hours, I went through a whole barrage of emotions from fear and anxiety, to panic and anger and eventually to acceptance. I knew in that moment I had to pull my big girl pants up and make a plan. A plan that would allow me to see all the things I COULD still do, and to stop focusing on all the things I couldn’t do.
I realised that my business was not closed. My business was very much still open. The only thing that had closed was the door to my treatment room! Of course, I could still help my patients/clients, it would just be in a different way to what I or they were used to! Of course, I still needed to be there to support them! I certainly wasn’t going to go MIA on them! I also realised that the therapist community that I had created needed me to be the positive light in the storm. When I looked into the community over those first few days, I could FEEL the magnitude of their despair as they all ‘closed’ their businesses. I knew in that moment that this was my calling over then next few weeks. To declare my business very much open and to lead by example to help my fellow therapists see that their businesses were still very much open too and to explore all the ways that we all could keep our businesses alive until those treatment room doors could reopen again!
I realised that there were 5 key steps to navigating this period of uncertainty, so that we could have the best chance of business recovery once that day came:
- Do not bury your head in the sand
Just because you can’t be in the treatment room right now does not mean you do not have a business. If you have gone MIA on your business that get yourself back on the wagon! Your business is not a hobby, it’s what feeds you and you cannot run out on it when the going gets tough. Make a list of all the things you CAN do right now in your business and stop focusing on everything you can’t. Put them in order of priority, embracing imperfect action in all its glory and get taking action! This is not the time for perfection, this is the time to keep your business progressing forward even if it’s just baby steps. This shift in mindset was massive!
- Embrace Time blocking!
Time blocking is a must, especially when trying to juggle work around the kids and home schooling. Make a commitment that at a set time each day you focus on work related activities. Even if it’s just 1 hour after the kids are in bed, that is 7 hours work on your business each week.
- Get the filter on!
Social media is very noisy at the moment, with opinions and debates, advice, guidance, news, facts and fiction. It’s hard to take it all in and often its contradictory which can lead to fear, overwhelm and paralysis. Turn the filters on! Limit your time on social media and unfollow all the areas that are feeding your anxiety and overwhelm. Limit your feeds to just receiving news or info from sources that you really want to hear and who bring positivity or useful, practical and factual information.
- Publicly declare your business open!
Make an announcement on your channels, send an email, shout if from the rooftops, and let your clients know you are still very much open for business and that you are there to support them to the best of your ability in whatever capacity you can, away from the treatment room. Think of all the ways you can still help them and make them known! Can you help via phone or email, can you do online consultations, can you send them relevant products or information to help them, help themselves? If you are not sure what they need, ask them!
- Keep showing up!
Do not rely on loyalty! If you have gone MIA on your clients and they have been struggling, do not be surprised if you find they have been seeking help and advice from a competitor who kept themselves visible. Your clients need to know that despite you being away from the treatment room that you still care about them and their welfare. Whatever platform they hang out on, keep showing up, keep giving value, keep being visible to them so that they know you are there for them and they know how to contact you for help. When you can open the treatment doors again, this continued visibility will pay off hugely!
My fellow therapists, you have got this!