You’ve heard it before…..2020 was a sh*t show. We were ALL impacted in our lives in some way. While the world attempts to get back to normal, I think we can all agree that there is undeniably a new normal on the horizon. The “new normal” will be different for all of us. While I love routine, I think the opportunity to identify new ways to do things has been a gift of 2020 and watching societies, companies, healthcare workers, frontline responders and so many people in general adapt to the chaos of the world has been truly incredible. While I know it wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows and that there were certainly dark periods for each of us trying to navigate the world in turmoil, I have tried to adopt a new way of thinking with 2021 and the reason I have been able to is because of what I witnessed from a small business owner in 2020.
So this small business owner happened to be my roommate throughout 2020….aka my boyfriend Robb lol. He is a partner and co-founder of a digital marketing company called Flying V Group. They are a full scale marketing agency, based in CA and AZ, and they work with over 45 companies as marketing consultants in the digital space. Our lives were rocked throughout the pandemic but especially in the beginning when our living situation changed out of our control- working from home became the new normal, we moved 2 times in a matter of a couple of weeks and we were forced to divide and conquer our living space for work. Let’s just say at the beginning, this change in the world sent Robb off into a spiral (I mean…me too tbh). His negative energy was becoming contagious in our environment but he did also experience a drop in his business, a changed routine, and again, he was working for himself with a small team relying on his leadership and the company itself. Unlike me, working for a large corporation, he had to completely fend for himself and preserve what he had spent building the last 5 years…and I know so many were in the same boat. To get to the point, Robb really rose to the occasion to get ahead, despite the tragedy of the world and I learned A LOT as a witness. He flipped the switch from “why me” to “try me”. The opportunity to work in a small space with each other had it’s MANY downfalls (battling who can take phone calls) but I learned SO much from him and his tenacious energy on how to run a small company and how to adapt during a time of uncertainty. Oh and also, it is his birthday the day I post this so this is not only my humble brag about my own biggest fan and inspiration, but truly a highlight of the tricks and tips he’s passed on to me as a biz owner that I think anyone could learn from and apply to their lives- even if you’re not managing your own company- it can even be a challenge to manage every day life ya know?
Here are 3 Things I’ve Learned From Living with A Small Business Owner (2020 Edition):
Sometimes life just doesn’t go according to plan- like a pandemic can happen and shake things up. As a business owner, Robb expressed a lot of initial frustrations when his business was hit, not only during 2020 but times before as well. “Why did this happen now”, “Why am I losing clients”, “What am I supposed to do now?” “How can I get to to next level?”. Instead of just sitting around and waiting for the tough times to pass, he simple adapts his business strategy not only for his own company but his client’s as well. While he was extremely fortunate to be in the online space during a time when things shutdown, he used his expertise to help other businesses not as fortunate. He spent hours working with clients who did shutdown (brick & mortars’, client services, etc.) on how to up their online presence, their blogs, their websites, and so on. But he also did the same for his own company. He did experience a slowdown like a lot of us, which gave him time to invest in himself, work on his skills, improve his own marketing and eventually launch a business podcast. He truly showed me how necessary it is to just be adaptable, open to change, and realize that sh*t will happen and you can’t wait for it to be over to get towards your goals. I think for anyone starting something new or working towards a specific goal (like a marathon, work promotion or product launch), when things get in your way or obstacles come up, the best advice is to get creative and adjust. Also educating yourself on what others have done in similar situations can help! (We love the How I Built This Podcast and Tools of Titans book by Tim Ferris– both offer great tips and stories on the art of success AND failures).
WORK SMARTER, NOT HARD
We’ve all heard the phrase work smarter, not harder but what does it actually mean? I think many of us can interpret it in different ways but from Robb, I learned this can mean to simply maximize your productivity. This can look different for all of us but I assume most of us have adopted tools that help us stay productive. As a small business owner, I saw Robb manage a pandemic by not letting a “slowdown” slow him down but he actually sped things up without compromising the majority of his time (although he still works 60+ hours a week). He outsourced tasks, invested in productivity tools and didn’t let his failures define his potential future. We’ve all let fear get in our way, and one of the things I’ve learned from witnessing a small business owner in action is to invite failure, learn from it and work smarter because of what you learned. Every no is a step closer to a yes, and if you know someone else is better at something than you, delegate. There are many ways to apply this idea to every day life but implementing your own tools or routines to help you work smarter is worth it. For me personally, it is something as simple as time batching (check out my post here on how this has increased my productivity).
INVEST IN PEOPLE
This last one is SO important and a big takeaway I learned by witnessing someone manage their own future and company. During a time when financials were tight, the future was unclear and business was slow, Robb still invested in people who could bring skills to the table he didn’t have. I know this can be expensive and easier said than done, but Robb’s long term mindset is something I learned A LOT from throughout 2020. When it comes to investing in people as a small business owner, it is important to be intentional on who you surround yourself with and I think this applies to everyday life as well. You want to be bound by the same vision, goals and rely on each other’s strengths. Witnessing Robb take this step and invest in his people and new people and opportunities was transformative for his business and I know a lot of corporations can say the same about how valuable human capital can be in scaling a company to the next level. But also I think in life in general, investing in your people is equally as important and nurturing relationships that matter the most –friends, family, co-workers and whoever else in your life you truly care about. Without people, we can’t collaborate
There we have it – 3 things I have learned from small biz owner – 2020 edition! While these are my own takeaways and observations, I hope you may have learned something or thought of ways each of these can be applied to your own life. It’s been a whirlwind the last year and a half!! BUT a special HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my fav human Robb Fahrion– thank you for teaching me allllll the things and for being a badass. ILY and you’re the only reason I’ve officially launched this blog- diving into my new normal 🙂