But this 4th round of cancellations made me realize a few things about the business that I can’t unsee. Many of my clients are under the impression that business will be back as usual as soon as stay-at-home mandates are lifted. In many cases, that mindset could be accurate but in my personal case, it will most likely need to be very different.
As I was breaking the news to my clients that things may look different, I realized I haven’t been completely transparent about what’s been going on. So here it is, the full truth:
We went into quarantine on March, 23rd making the day I write this (April 27th) the start of my 6th week in quarantine. I’ve had to cancel appointments from March 23rd to May 18th which is 9 weeks of clients. 9 weeks of appointments canceled is enough loss to force me into reevaluating if my business is worth saving. It’s a harsh way of looking at it but I don’t know too many service-based businesses that survive after a 40% drop (though I’m sure it happens).
But the kicker is my husband lost his job the week after we went into quarantine and we are losing health insurance very soon as a result of that. Meaning, goodbye to the fertility treatments I was in the middle of – having a baby is not in the cards (for now). And before you ask, I’ve already been denied all the grants and small business loans because I am not asking for enough money but since I can’t prove that I need more money based on my tax returns, I can’t ask for more.
We are both still waiting on unemployment and the stimulus check (which I know many other people are as well). Coming from a naturalized American like myself, I never trust in getting the support of the federal government since I’m so used to getting denied by just being born North of the border. I also greatly appreciate the ding on my credit though from the lenders – that was really fun to get rejected and drop 9 points all in a few minutes.
So that being said, we are stuck at home doing major reevaluation on our life. At this point, we can’t leave our apartment (which includes my office) since we’re still in quarantine. We also can’t leave because where would we go? No one will accept a new lease to two people who have no income. So we’re here until we can’t be.
You may say that I need to trust in the universe a bit more, especially in how it will provide for me. And you’re right, I do but I’m having a hard time doing that. Here’s why I feel like I am blocked:
I know that if I want to keep my business, A LOT has to change. The way I was running things was how I’m legally obligated to which resulted in me personally not taking in a lot of money. Some months, I would be paying to work. Which if you’ve ever opened up a business, you would know that this is common. Unless I get investors or have multiple streams of revenue pouring in all at once, I pay all my bills and find myself with very little. That’s a corporation in America folks! But why would I become a corporation? The simple answer is taxes but the longer version is TAXES. My projected growth from early 2018 was enough to have my trust in the steps I was taking on my business, however, the timing also correlated with my health hitting extremes. Now that we’re in 2020, I value my health more than I value a business I created while in another health crisis (my shingles in 2014). If I continue to work the way I was, I will just be working to get out of debt for the rest of my life.
It’s clear things have to change. Here are the possible scenarios that we need to consider:
A possible move: I love LA but it’s one of the worst places to be during a global pandemic unless you are making 7+ figures a year. The hiring market is not great, so my husband and I need to cast a wider net outside of the immediate area in our search for his employment. I’m not attached to LA, I’ve been ready to leave for a while but have only stayed because of my clients and my business. So whether we move immediately outside of LA or outside of the state, taking me out of our apartment shuts down the possibility of me doing facials for a while.
Cash only: I always thought that my facials were my moneymaker, but I have to spend A LOT of money in order to make any money. I’m comfortable with the facial rates I set up at the beginning of the year but with the new precautions for any esthetician to work means, I might not be able to see as many clients as I need to make ends meet. My potential solution is that the facials are going to be reserved for cash only patrons.
Prioritizing health: The biggest positive in all of this is that I have been able to take time away from caring for others that some of my chronic body pain has started to go away. I’m not saying that my work has caused my health issues, but it certainly hasn’t helped it. I can’t let myself work overtime just to make ends meet and beat my body up again. I’m not positive that I can bounce back from that.
So if you’re a client, please know that as soon as things change, I will contact you to let you know what’s going on. But in the meantime, I have to communicate that things are not going to be business as usual. My industry as a whole will be forever changed by this. I have to evaluate how to pivot or I have to start over. I’m confident in my ability to achieve whichever scenario is going to end up being the best for my family and me.