Looking back at 2020 so far, it amazes me how much has changed. Life as usual was good…my business was growing at a pace I was happy with, we had everything falling into place. Mid-March, we suddenly lost 70% of our expected revenue for April, May, June, July, and beyond. There are 2 things that I absolutely think helped us get through the storm. First, we were diverse in our offerings, and were able to form a back up plan. Secondly, and much more importantly, we never gave up hope, we kept our eyes on “the prize”, and never accepted failure.
I know not all businesses can offer the diverse set of offerings we do, but I strongly believe that having multiple income streams is never a bad idea, in business or personal finances. Our business at that time was 70% Pet sitting and grooming, and about 30% yard waste clean-up. It was always the plan to build the yard waste clean up division of our company to hit a 50% income threshold, but we suddenly had to have a shift in our thought process. By the end of March, we had restructured our marketing plan, and we started to focus solely on the one part of our business that was considered an essential service; the pet waste removal.
We immediately switched our advertising. We were on Yelp only until that point, but knew it was a slow trickle of new customers coming from there…we needed an immediate flood. We went to targeted print advertising that covered homes in the areas we wanted to reach, and we partnered with an amazing company that helps get us leads through Facebook. I am happy to say this company was a game changer for my business. Our volume of customers grew from about 60 properties cleaned at the time (in March) to a current number of 156 properties (and still growing at about 20 clients per month). We have also regained the volume lost for pet sitting and grooming, and as a very happy consequence, I have hired 3 employees to help with the workload on the yard waste side of things.
I know this is not a “one size fits all” kind of scenario, but I think the underlying meaning is. Hard work, innovation, and never quitting are lessons I have learned at every stage of life. As kids in school or in sports, through military service, college, and even the journey through the workforce…these values are always what determines if you sink or swim. I am happy to say that I am swimming like a shark!