Small business and a pandemic - lessons, motivation, and opportunity

Just a couple of months ago our members were gearing up for a HUGE wedding season. In a number of days, the industry went from "we got this, we'll just have to make a few changes" to "ok, this wedding season is cancelled, nada, nothing, see ya later".


A calendar of postponed bookings, a flurry of conversations with couples, and maybe a sprinkle of income induced panic, were all important parts of the process to getting on with it and accepting a new norm.


Embracing the good, seeking opportunity, and practicing gratitude - The members of the Social Co reflect on some of their most important months in business.


John and Chelsea | Morelife Films



1. How was your business affected when COVID-19 occurred?

Morelife: "We were very lucky to have only lost two weddings due to not being able to film the new dates because of a prior booking and able to postpone the rest, but we lost our two biggest commercial jobs of the year, which accounted for a big chunk of our income".


2. What are you doing differently now to keep some business coming in?

Morelife: "We haven’t really changed much in the wedding side of our business, we are actually surprised with the amount of enquiries still coming in. We are putting that down to because of Covid and people realising how important wedding films are. We are still currently editing a few weddings from the start of the year and then after thats all completed we are hoping to finally get to jobs we have had on the list for a long time eg updating wedding website, creating commercial website".


3. What has been the biggest lesson you've learnt through this?

Morelife: "Don’t take for granted the ability to do whatever you want, busy wedding seasons and seeing loved ones ever again".


4. How are you keeping motivated?

Morelife: "By still working even if it's only for an hour or so each day and brainstorming ideas for the upcoming wedding season because it's going to be huge!"


5. How are you looking after yourself at the moment?

Morelife: "A lot of walking, Luna time, Netflix, surfing, reading, sleeping in and planning things to look forward to!"



Joel | Barefoot and Bearded



1. How was your business affected when COVID-19 occurred?

B&B: "Just like everyone else's I guess, but I feel like I am a bit luckier because I have been preaching elopements and intimate days long before this so I am getting a lot more elopement enquiries and couples changing to elope. Which I have always felt is authentic and intimate anyway. It only took a global pandemic and government restrictions for my ethos to finally be heard haha!"


2. What are you doing differently now to keep some business coming in?

B&B: "Nothing!! Thank god JobKeeper payments are coming in. Yes it isn't a lot, but the way I look at it, we will never get these months off ever again in this industry and still get paid from the government. We don't actually need that much to survive, if we learn anything from this time it should be to recalibrate our views on what is necessary in life and what isn't. Simplicity is so freeing! So I am making the most of this beautiful weather and spending time with my family, rock climbing and riding and working on my bike".


3. What has been the biggest lesson you've learnt through this?

B&B: "Re-do my contract. And also venture into more forms of entrepreneurialism that are a bit more consistent and reliable. Whether that be photography or not, who knows. It is exciting".


4. How are you keeping motivated?

B&B: "Definitely not keeping motivated haha. I feel like we live in a society of expectation to be constantly creatively motivated and inspired. Motivation can't be consistent, who has that amount of mental energy? It is okay to be taking this time to recharge you as the individual, you don't need to keep creating work, inspiration and motivation constantly. So I am just enjoying this time off".


5. How are you looking after yourself at the moment?

B&B: "All I am doing is taking time with family, and on myself and my hobbies. It is epic!"



Dea | Little Black Bow Photography


Dea by House of Lucie

1. How was your business affected when COVID-19 occurred?

Dea: "Weddings rescheduled, majority to a year later so this has affected income. Winter is usually quiet though so I'm used to eating tin soup in winter ;)" 

2. What are you doing differently now to keep some business coming in?

Dea: "Promoted family shoots more than usual. Offered a 'Covid price' for full family shoots (which is the discounted price I usually offer to past wedding couples). Promoted coffee table books to recent couples. Created a new welcome book to attach to new enquires so people are left feeling informed and have more of a connection to me from the get go. Focused my mindset more on what I want my business to look like moving forward".   3. What has been the biggest lesson you've learnt through this?

Dea: "Don't take shit for granted!!! When you think you are 'da boss' and everything is cruising along fine, always be prepared for the unexpected. Don't focus on the unexpected happening but if by chance a pandemic hits (!!!!), then understand that maybe this wasn't yours to begin with so you have to hustle to hang on to it. I think the positive to this is it's a chance to put everything into perspective by looking at how the business was running, how can it be improved but also how it can work for me rather than me work for it so much (Does that even make sense? In my head it did lol)."

  4. How are you keeping motivated?

Dea: "Cheap champagne and cheese....ummm I mean, I'm motivated by working on my side hustles and getting the stuff done that I have been putting off or just haven't had time to do".  5. How are you looking after yourself at the moment?

Dea: "Cheap champagne, cheese and listening to music...ummm I mean...well I cut my own hair and now have a bit of a curly mullet at the back so I'm not sure that counts as 'looking after myself'. Look, I've been still showering twice a day so I think that's a bonus :)" 



James | James White Photography


James by Little Black Bow Photography

1. How was your business affected when COVID-19 occurred?

James: "Nothing happened initially, and then out of nowhere, it was a cancellation or reschedule almost every 2-3 days. It felt like I was perpetually chasing my tail, just trying to keep up with these reschedules and cancellations, I in fact overlooked two emails that came into my inbox for a new booking...not sure if I would have got them, but it cost me potential business sadly and I looked rude because I didn't reply for over a week!"


2. What are you doing differently now to keep some business coming in?

James: "Nothing really, just focusing on keeping my brand awareness high on social media so that when a sense of normality resumes and people are ready to start booking, I am hopefully amongst the top of mind". 


3. What has been the biggest lesson you've learnt through this?

James: "Not to take my couples for granted. Honestly, I was reading horror stories by the daily, people threatening all sorts of repurcussions to vendors. I honestly did not have one bad interaction. All my couples were understanding, kind, thoughtful and wwe worked together so easily. I won't ever take for granted (not that I did) the amazing couples I have. :)"


4. How are you keeping motivated?

James: "Easy answer that. My 14 day old daughter is pretty big motivation for me right now".

5. How are you looking after yourself at the moment?

James: "Ummmm, that is a tough one. With a newborn, I am not graced with all that much spare time right now. I guess just by trying to stay in touch with those close to me. Thankfully we have been able to have some friends and family around, if it wasn't for that, we would have been screwed!"


Watch this space to see how the members of the Social Co get on with the rest of 2020 and beyond.

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2019 BY THE WEDDING SOCIAL CO.