100 Days In Quarantine As An Entrepreneur
100 Days In Quarantine As An Entrepreneur – Wedding DJ Business Owner
Governor Cuomo says that we’ve been at Covid-19 / Coronavirus for 100 days now. I’ve been in relative lock-down quarantine since mid-March. That’s when I did my last couple of DJ events (AV rental jobs for corporate clients). I’ve got to be honest, the first week or so – I was just like everyone else – I was reeling with the fact that my business just got shut down and I had no income or control of my situation. The thing about being an entrepreneur, we are quick to pivot and figure our way through just about any situation. Once I figured out my cash flow issue and hunkered down for quarantine, it was time to really get to work.
Let me tell you what I’ve been up to for the past 100 days while in qurantine. My daughter was living and working out in Boston and she moved back to tele-work and get out of the city. Her co-worker also moved in, so I went from an empty nester to having a full house again. Check out some of the things that I’ve been up to behind the scenes in quarantine.
Covid-19 Pandemic Rescheduled Weddings
The first thing we did was reach out to all our affected clients and couples. All our corporate end school events were instantly canceled or postponed to next year. For our wedding clients, we had a rolling round of rescheduled weddings from the spring to the fall and then into 2021. Overall, we rescheduled more than 100 weddings. Now, as each state rolls out their reopening plans, wedding dates are starting to solidify for the fall and we hope that most of the wedding date shifts are behind us.
Making sure we were secure for the long-term
As a small business owner and with more than 200 couples entrusting us with their wedding plans, our main concern was with long term survivability from this pandemic.
We were prolific with our SEO and Blog Post activities over the past 100 days. I’ve written more than 20 – 1500+ word blog posts about a range of topics from Boutique Wedding Venues to Micro-Weddings. I also updated more than 50 other blog posts with new images, calls to action and material to keep our website up to date and relevant for what our couples are looking for online.
Pandemic v. Zoom Meetings
We were all introduced (forced) into Zoom meeting mode. That is especially true in the wedding industry. I had weekly Zoom meetings with local wedding vendors in VT, The Berkshires, Western MA and CT. We were all keeping tabs on what was going on in the industry and supporting each other through this.
Our Rising Tide / Tuesday’s Together group went virtual (we used to meet at Spot Coffee in W. Hartford) and did a series of virtual training sessions put on by our members – I got to present on Facebook Advertising techniques.
Clearing Off Outdated Posts
We had more than 1500 blog post and Google likes to see fresh material so I went through and removed more than 400+ outdated and irrelevant blog posts to keep our site fresh and relevant to our business and branding in 2020.
Without the pandemic, I probably would have never gotten to some of these tedious projects of reformating, removing and updating web content. Working from home, you get used to shifting gears quickly to fill your day with projects so you can feel productive. This was even more important while on lock down.
Checking In With Our Partners In The Wedding Industry
Each week during the quarantine, I made sure to reach out to other local wedding DJs, Photographers and even with our contacts at all our favorite wedding venues. You see – we were all in this together and we had all been shut down overnight.
I think that I have been in contact with more than 30 wedding venues and another 30+ wedding vendors over the past 100 days just to make sure they were OK and see if there was anything that we could do for them.
Keeping My Sanity
Hiking Daily To Keep My Sanity And Clear My Mind
Whenever my schedule and the weather permitted, I was out on the local bike trail. I grab my wireless earbuds, a good playlist of music and my pen and pad and I head out for my hike. I find it clears my mind, gives me a safe space to come up with business ideas and helped me to take into perspective what was going on in the world. In the past 100 days, I’ve gone out about 3-4x a week for a 4-5 mile hike. That means I’ve done about 200 miles since mid-March. My hiking sneakers show the wear – I just had to order a replacement pair as my old pair is just about to fall apart.
DJ Gear Cleanup
Repaint, Repair, Cleanup and Organize Our Gear
Springtime is always cleanup time for us. I had a bit more time so I really got engrossed in repainting, repairing, cleaning up and organizing our gear inventory. I went through our 1600+ sq ft storage area, our 22′ and 14′ storage trailers and the 2-car garage filled with gear. I added signage, reboxed and reorganized our DJ speakers, AV rental gear, Chandeliers and custom lighting. I repainted and cleaned up everything and organized cables and even found some things that I didn’t realize that I still had. Old gear was sold off and new gear purchased and inventoried so we were completely ready for the upcoming wedding season.
Streaming – Binge Watching
I finished Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime
Even with all my projects, there was quite a bit of downtime not having to work weekends and nights. My (adult) daughters and I had movie nights and watch (again) the Harry Potter series and Twilight series. I think we’ve gone through more popcorn in the past 100 days than we normally do all year long.
I will cherish the time I got to spend with my adult kids, from movie to take-out and ice cream runs.
I rewatched the entire 22 Marvel movies (in order), Lord of The Rings, Xmen and many other TV series over those 100 days in quarantine.
I’ve also socially distance checking in with my elderly parents and older sibling who live nearby and helping with what I can.
Our Staff of DJs and Techs
Keeping In Touch and Updating Schedules
During the days and weeks of quarantine, it was a chaotic run of updated schedules for all of us. I think I was sending updated event schedules to at least one of my team each day as wedding date changes kept rolling in. I’d like to thank my crew for taking everything in stride. It has been a roller-coaster ride this past couple of months.
Projects Around The House
Lawn and House DIY Projects
I don’t know about you, but quarantine has been just amazing for my lawn and all the DIY projects around the house that I would have never had time for in the past. I touched up paint around the deck, the basement hatch, sprayed for ticks, edged my driveway and fixed anything that was loose, squeaked or looked like it needed some TLC.
My Tundra has all new LED lighting both inside and out and is cleaner than it’s ever been before.
I installed new shower hardware, cleaned the stove and even installed a Mistbox onto my air conditioner to save electricity. I have a DIY solar panel installation that should ship to me this week (stay tuned for that blog post on my DIY solar install).
Our MIxCloud Account
Music Sets Mixed By DJ Rob Alberti
Over the past 3 months in quarantine, I’ve created over 15 separate 20-30 minute dance sets. We use our MixCloud account as a way to highlight our DJ skills to potential clients and as a way to spread the word on social media about our wedding DJ services.
You can hear what we’ve been creating – crank them up, dance around your living room and be sure to follow us on Mixcloud (Free) so you don’t miss any of our future creative musical projects.
Training – Webinars
Reinvesting In Ourselves
I was able to do multiple webinars and training sessions over the past couple of months – a 3 day DJ Mobilebeat Las Vegas virtual conference, SEO training, copywriting, and other small business training sessions to help improve myself and our client’s experience with our business and website.
We’ve released a series of press releases on various topics surrounding our wedding business that might interest our clients.
Our Instagram Game
We’ve upped our Instagram Game
Our Instagram followers continue to grow and so does our Instagram game. Between Facebook/Instagram advertising and cleaning up our branding with tools such as Canva, we’ve upped our Instagram game.
Facebook is fading and Instagram is the new place to be. Are you following us on Instagram yet? Keep up with all our event images and behind the scenes stories.
Helping Promote Small Businesses
Investing Our Time and Social Media Posts To Help Promote Others
One of the reasons I became involved in The Rising Tide and go to our Tuesday Together meetings in West Hartford is not to learn or network with other business owners – I’ve become the veteran business owner and I wanted to give back to new businesses in the area and help others grow their business. I can remember a few mentors that I had when I first started out years ago as a new wedding DJ and it is time to pay it forward.
The quarantine has given me even more time to dedicate our social media feed to help promote other businesses from both the wedding industry and related industries that we’ve become friends with. You can meet some of these business owners with the below link.
As things slowly transition with the reopening of each state, I wanted to reflect on the last 100 days. I’ve learned so much and can’t wait for things in the wedding industry to settle into the new normal – whatever that may be. It’s time to reconnect, hug your friends and remember that we got through this by being there for one another. It was not easy at times – there might have been days that you didn’t feel like getting out of bed or eating a real meal. Maybe you drank or ate too much over the past 100 days, but you’ve made it through it. It’s time to emerge into the sunlight and get back to living your life. I had the opportunity last week to meet (in person, but socially distance) a group of 8 wedding vendors in The Berkshires and I think everyone got so much out of our 2-hour meeting in the round in Carolyn’s backyard. We bounced questions and ideas off of each other and no Zoom meeting could have made us feel as alive as we did as we parted that day.
UVC Sterilization Of Our Photo Booth Props
We are taking extra precautions with our photo booth rentals due to Covid19. We will sterilize props before and during each event. We will limit the number of props to help protect you. We will clean our touch screen monitor and staff will be wearing gloves.
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