Who put steroids in the Whiskas? A cautionary tale from a business owner in isolation.

Laura Wigglesworth

(This blog article contains some affiliate links - this means that if you decide to purchase something through clicking the links, then I get a small kickback, without it costing you anything.)

I am writing this at 3am, from the sofa (isolation, y'all!), whilst my two idiotic cats are thundering around the house on what feels like their 1000th circuit of the night. Seriously - what is in their cat food?

So; I'm a small business owner. I own two small businesses, and am in the final stages of opening a bricks and mortar shop - it should have actually been opened by now, thanks Covid, but lets gloss over that part for now. No one likes a moaner.

So far, all things considered, the pandemic has been kind to me. Those days of the Chancellor's announcements and the serious late night discussions of 'do we close, we can't survive this?' seem like almost distant memories. We decided to pivot the business, play to our strengths, and try to plough on. In hindsight, that has been the best decision ever - I brought out my first ebook, focussed on my business offerings, and to date, I've had my best year yet with Ey Up. What's with all the pivot, I hear you say? Well, that's due in no small part to my lovely friend Joelle - I'm part of her Passively Perfect Academy - she is quite literally the queen of passive income, and was the kick up the arse for me publishing my ebook, and running my preorder items, which have been really successful. Turns out, even in a pandemic, we all still love a planner! You can find out more about Joelle Byrne here if you're interested.

Fast forward to the last couple of weeks. Plans were underway for the shop opening, things were hectic (I like hectic - after years of trading at events, hectic is my safe space!) but under control, and then BAM. That cough the kiddo has? It's not stopping is it? We'd better get tested. Wasn't expecting it to be my partner that tested positive! Although, considering he's a teacher, and we live in Bradford, which is currently rampaging up the Covid league tables, it was probably inevitable really.

Trying to run a business whilst you're in isolation is, to be frank, completely bloody impossible. My home office and PC is out of bounds for the time being, so trying to snatch a few moments on the laptop whilst entertaining the Tiny Overlord is not the easiest of tasks. But wait! I have a phone! Brilliant, that makes life easier. What's that smell? Why is there smoke coming out of my phone? Damnit, there goes that plan!

I'm going to say one word to you now - and if you take nothing else away from this rambling mess of exhaustion and pity, then it's been worth it. Lastpass. It's a wonder. It's an online vault that keeps all your passwords secure, so that you don't have to do all of the remembering. But here's the really important bit. Put it on all your devices! Yup, you guessed it, I didn't have it on my laptop, and my password to get into it was on my phone. The crispy BBQ thing in the corner where I have directed all my glares of death over the last few days. My death stares are a wonderful thing - finely honed over the years. Can't believe I couldn't terrify it into working, I really must practice more.

I've been very lucky, obviously my friends have been brilliant but I also have the best bunch of customers ever, from messages asking how my partner was (he's doing well, thankfully - he seems to have got it fairly mildly), from telling me not to worry, that their order will arrive when it arrives, even to offers of help and groceries. My small business besties have piled into the mix too - offers of help with work stuff, more groceries, and just general loveliness. It has most definitely restored my faith in humankind - you're all awesome!

So, what now? We're approaching the end of our isolation - I have a replacement phone (hooray!), and I should be trying to plan for the next week of chaos, as we are thrown from isolation straight into 'get out all the orders, and open the shop in a week mode'. Except I'm not. I'm bloody tired. In fact, scratch that, I'm fricking exhausted. I know I have emails to answer, and messages to respond to (and I know there will be some I've missed!), and plans to make, but my main focus is getting doughnuts delivered to my door. I should probably shower too, at some point...

To surmise - if you get hit with the 'rona, or anyone in your house does; don't try to be a superhero; don't try to do it all, just get through each day. Each long ass, never ending day. Take the time to talk to your kids - their world has just upended completely, and they're confused and worried about their poorly loved one. Take some time for yourself - you're completely allowed to have a cry over a can of beer when they eventually go to sleep (whilst simultaneously wondering if they are asleep or if you've just gone deaf). And you are absolutely allowed to complain about having to sleep on the couch, 'cos those things are not made for decent sleep

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