How are you holding out during COVID-19 and the personal and professional challenges it is throwing your way?
For me, I am fortunate that I have still been able to work during COVID-19.
But that is not to say it has been easy….
In fact, I have barely had a day off in two months now, and it has been and extremely emotional and traumatic time, but I am grateful to have been able to provide assistance and support to my clients.
As a bookkeeper and BAS agent, I am very much on this journey with you.
Working in a different world
While I have been able to keep working during isolation, that’s not the case for everyone. And it’s vital that we help each other get through.
Many of my clients haven’t been so lucky. A vast number of them have been forced to close their doors and face an uncertain future as to whether those doors will ever open again.
People who had their heart and soul – and finances – heavily invested in their businesses were forced to shut overnight because of a government safety measures.
First it was hospitality, then the gyms and sporting groups, next the non-essential services and shops, and now even my tradie clients are beginning to feel the strain COVID-19 has left in its wake.
I have felt the pain of every single one of my clients as they weather this storm, and shared their despair.
For many years I have been along for the ride as these clients grew their businesses and turned their dreams into reality. To see so many of these aspirations shattered is heart-breaking.
I feel I am on this journey with you, in the good times and the bad.
Navigating the government assistance plans
Much of my time is now spent researching the government assistance plans, which change daily.
Although my income has been impacted as my clients struggle financially, it has been very helpful to keep in regular touch while helping my clients navigate these new government programs.
It has been an honour to be part of this journey with so many business owners, and I feel privileged to be able to offer support during an exceedingly difficult time.
I have helped businesses get their books in order so they can claim JobKeeper payments and seen cash boosts flow into my client’s accounts, getting them through these tough times.
Some of my clients need help negotiating with their landlords over rent while they have been forced to shut up shop, and so I helped brainstorm ideas to adapt new business ideas in order to survive in isolation.
More and more I have spent time going over the numbers to cut down expenses and focus on what is and isn’t working.
It’s evident we need to get smarter about how we operate as businesses, cutting away unnecessary work and expenses and focusing on what’s vital for survival.
“The most challenging times bring us the most empowering lessons.” – Karen Salmansohn
I have found that now, more than ever, COVID-19 has brought into focus that I need to be present for my clients.
As I spend hours on the phone to the ATO to determine eligibility and requirements for assistance, hours sharing information on social media and answering emails, and hours sorting out BAS statements in record time so my clients can get the cash boosts they urgently need, I realise there is nothing like time in isolation for feelings to come to the surface.
It has been a time of emotional cleansing for many, including myself. Not just professionally but personally too.
If your business has been affected and the future is uncertain, I’m sure it has been a rollercoaster ride for you. If you are feeling the emotional impact of COVID 19, please reach out. You are not alone, and there is help available.
Changes to my personal life
As an introvert I am relatively suited to isolation life, and I have actually been thriving within the online networking world and DIY gym classes.
It’s been surprisingly convenient not having to leave the house and has made me wonder whether this time will profoundly change our way of living and working long after COVID has passed.
But that’s not to say I don’t long for catch ups with friends and family.
We were forced to cancel our annual camping trip to Ningaloo, which was upsetting for us, but I know now that I am needed at home to support my clients during this time.
In reality though, travel is what I have missed most about this time. My heart goes out to those countries most affected by COVID, particularly countries that rely on tourism.
It is a strange feeling to be busy when so many people are out of work and isolating with hours of time to fill during the day. At times I wish I could slow down and enjoy a slower pace with my family. But mostly I know that this is my time to step up and do what I can to provide some certainty for my clients when a very uncertain future lies ahead.
Managing family life in a time of COVID-19
My kids have been home from school for eight weeks now, and I have been so proud of how they have coped.
Not only have they been living through an unprecedented virus outbreak, they’ve had to leave school and their hobbies, stop seeing their friends, and remain cooped up with me as I juggle a busy workload.
But it is like they know I have important work to do and they have really stepped up and held their own. At the ages of just six and nine, this time has had a huge impact on them but I know they will be stronger for it. We have spent our days with scheduled work times, while taking regular breaks for walks, dance and fitness, baking, and sharing meals together.
They have patiently sat on the pillars in the front garden talking to their best friend across the road as I work, and they have helped out around the home while (mostly) taking control of their own schoolwork.
Most importantly they have stayed calm, positive and happy – and this has been mine and my husband’s main priority for them.
COVID-19 has given us new opportunities too. We’ve camped in the garden, because we couldn’t in Ningaloo, and been for daily family walks following the rainbow trail and going bear hunting within our neighbourhood, and heading to the beach as often as we can.
While I have been working more, I hope my kids will remember the time we did spend together. I know I will.
Spending time with the family has given me extra space each day to recharge and refocus. While it has been a juggle with my kids at home with my business busier than ever, these family moments have made this time extra special for me.
I hope you can see some positives from the impact of COVID-19 as well.
A brighter future ahead?
At last I feel we can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The JobKeeper payments have started to roll out, providing much-needed relief to many.
Businesses will slowly start opening as restrictions are lifted and we can begin the slow process of rebuilding our lives into a post COVID-world.
In WA we have been extremely lucky to get through COVID so far without a full lockdown, and with minimal cases and deaths, for which we can be extremely grateful.
I can only imagine what it is like for other countries more affected, and my heart goes out to those people.
This situation is far from over as the race for a vaccine continues. I doubt life will ever go completely back to what we thought of as ‘normal’ pre-COVID, but as I write this, my cup is full.
I feel a new importance and purpose in my work and realise what it is I must give back to the world.
So please, if you need support for your business during this time, reach out. I am here to support you.
You can book a free advice and support session via Zoom with me here: https://calendly.com/susannah-santosha/free-coronavirus-your-biz-advice-session