My colleague Shelby Sapusek and I published a few posts about the business pivot we made during the Covid-19 pandemic on the ColorCasters blog. Those stories dealt with the process of pivoting our business to survive during the pandemic and so far we’ve been able to do that. This story is a bit different because it deals with the mental and psychological challenges of pivoting back to something closer to what was “normal” before Covid-19.
And Business Started To Come Back
As I type this post, we appear to sliding back into a period of more restricted movement. Prior to that, our business had begun to trend towards returning to normal. More consulting projects were moving ahead and several were being quoted. That’s all good news because color management consulting and training is the business I personally love most. It’s possible this will continue to trend back the wrong way for awhile; but I’m sure that will only be temporary as Covid-19 vaccines are now on the horizon.
But The Good News Was Sort Of Bad News Too
When our pivot towards producing gaiter style face coverings began in April of this year, I was not at all busy. In fact, none of our team was busy. There was literally almost nothing to do. We kept the business running with a few small remote projects and by running some online workshops. So when the gaiter business took off overnight, I had the time to spend 50-60 hours a week on it. I helped get production up and running. I sourced our equipment and supplies. I helped with production, shipping, sales, and whatever needed doing.
Eventually, I helped set up a second lab/production facility in my business partner’s home. From that lab, we began to add additional products to our apparel line and additional platforms to sell the products. This all took time – a lot of time – which I had.
And Then I Didn’t Have The Time
Travel related to consulting began to increase again – not to the levels prior to Covid-19 – but enough that time began to become more scarce. In the midst of the stay-at-home orders related to Covid-19, I had increased my activity in another team I work with to create new products for our industry.
Basically, I went from wondering how to fill my days with productive work in April to wondering how I could get everything done that I had committed to while business was slow as consulting work increased. The problem (not really the problem) was that we’d ended up creating a new and growing successful business. I quite literally had more opportunity in front of me than I could fairly deal with.
Instead of just realizing this was one of those moments when I needed to decide what not to do so that I could do what was most important – I got mad. I was mostly mad at me – but also at the whole world – which I suspect is not a rare or isolated thing during this pandemic.
I Calmed Down and Found Some Balance
First, I had to deal with me and my emotional state. As I was, I was no good to myself or any of my colleagues. Once I squared that away, I realized that I did not have to do it all. One would think that at this point in my career I’d already know that, and perhaps I do, but I also forget it – a lot.
After some discussions with the team, it was decided that the day-to-day operations of our ChromApparel business would be off my plate. I’m still involved but not in daily production or decision making. Two other people handle that now and just ask for my help when they need it.
I also looked for ways to manage my time better, which is why I’ve backed way off on the time I spend on social media, reading the news, and watching the news on TV. Those activities are all now done at a small fraction of what they used to be. For example, it’s almost 7 p.m. on a Sunday as I type this. A month or two ago, I’d be watching TV and playing on social media. This is far more fulfilling and beneficial to me, and I also hope you get something from this sharing at a deeper and more authentic level than seems to happen on social media these days.
The Average Millionaire Has Seven Income Streams
I read somewhere that the average millionaire have seven income streams. I’m not a millionaire; not yet anyway. Several years ago, I had maybe two income streams and was doing okay, but struggling at the same time. Today I have at least 6 income streams by a quick count. What I’ve come to realize is that while Covid-19 has been a cloud in my life, it has had a silver lining, and that is the creation of a new income stream. The crisis did in fact provide an opportunity. At the moment, the new income stream has nowhere near replaced the lost consulting and training revenue, but it doesn’t need to. That business is slowly coming back and the apparel business continues to grow as well – mostly without me.
I’ve always said my biggest strength is being there at the beginning. Creating things on a project basis, and then walking away before it gets boring to me. Operations and day-to-day are just not my strong suit. I prefer to create, to solve problems, to create systems and processes that others can then use to run a more efficient business. Helping to start ChromApparel has made me far better at that than I was before.
I Gained Skills For A Lifetime
Thanks to this pandemic as I pivot back to what will be the new post-Covid-19 normal (we are not there yet), I will arrive with more skills and know-how than I had going in. I grew, and became more useful to my colleagues and clients. I have more knowledge, skills and abilities to bring to each consulting and training opportunity. The quote I’m going to close this post with isn’t a perfect fit, but it’s been on my mind for a few days now and it’s at least part of how I feel about starting up ChromApparel.
“We didn’t realize we were making memories. We just knew we were having fun.” Winnie the Pooh.