The end of my small business (or how the pandemic affected small businesses)

Are you too a small business owner? “Above the skin” was my small online temporary tattoo shop, a side-project that I created with much love, and it grew over the years, so that it became a whole business of its own. And just as countless small businesses, it suffered so much during the pandemic that I decided to close it indefinitely.

I am a lucky one. As I mentioned, “above the skin” was a side project, not my actual day job, so it didn’t cost me to close it down. At least not financially. It cost me emotionally, but I am one of those people who don’t cling to the past, I always try to look forward. However, this whole situation made me wonder a couple of things, since my main job is to design eshops for small businesses. What a small business owner should have in mind, and how to handle difficult (and sometimes unforeseen) situations.

1. Have multiple sources of income

Easier said than done, right? But not so difficult actually. After all we are living in 2021,  when all the world is united by the internet and it is easier than ever to sell not only products, but also services online. So, my number one advice would be “plan your life so that you have many sources of income”. If one of them goes south, you will have the rest.

2. Start a savings account

Don’t spend everything you earn. Save a portion of your earnings, for emergency situations. COVID is was something no one could foresee. But it is also proof that everything can go wrong, and it is best to be safe than … sorry. 

3. Be flexible

Back to small business owners, who have been hit by the pandemic harder than anyone. And let me tell you that, those willing to make changes, have better chances of surviving long term. For example, “above the skin” could have expanded to include digital, printable products. But if someone is unwilling to change (it makes me sad but let’s face it, many small business owners are just too lazy to make major changes to their established business), chances are that they won’t survive a major change such as the pandemic. 

4. Plan in advance

I consider this one to be the most important of all. Don’t wait till you are broke/fired/desperate, to create an additional income stream. Start NOW. (well, you should have started YESTERDAY, but never mind. Now is better than tomorrow!) As I mentioned, my main job is to design eshops. So, I can tell you that, unless you are insanely lucky, which is statistically improbable, success won’t come overnight. For most eshops it takes about two years until they start producing a steady income. It is the same with most jobs. You need to put on all the hard work, before it begins to pay off.

5. Take risks (but not great ones)

Last but not least, don’t be afraid to take risks (taking risks is the synonym of progress after all), but always have in mind that you should be able to deal with them (both financially and emotionally) if something goes wrong. Risk in moderation!

Well, that’s all for now, felt great to get these thoughts out of my system. Hope they will help some of you. As for “above the skin”, my small business, who knows? I might re-open it again! 😉

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