To say we’re in uncertain times is the understatement of the decade. To me, it feels like a weird, slow-moving chaos. This pandemic is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced and many of us are feeling untethered and shocked. When bad and scary things happen, it’s human nature to want to take action. We’re going to help you determine what action to take and how to work through the logistics of pausing a skin care business.
- Before and between handling all the things that need to be handled, take a break. Remember that not every decision needs to be made right now. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll get more information about the trajectory of this pandemic and the resources available to help us all through.
- Adjust your expectations for actually getting anything accomplished. If you’re home with children or a partner or other family, it’s going to be hard to focus. If you’re secluded alone, it can be tough to get motivated to do anything (outside of Netflix and bottomless bowls of popcorn).
- Try to figure out a system that works best for you, whether it be a scheduled time to work when the kids are in front of the TV or asking a friend to check in (digitally) and hold you accountable to your to-do list. None of us is getting a “full” workday in. Whatever that meant to you before, be flexible in your interpretation of productivity right now.
- If you rent your spa space, the first step is to begin communicating with your landlord. Be clear about your situation; if you are entirely out of work, say so. Be clear that you have no idea how long you will be out of work or what relief will be available for small business owners. Ask if they have any guidance or solutions on how to proceed. Your landlord may be willing to work with you on reduced or suspended rent throughout this time.
- If your landlord is not flexible, you have more difficult decisions to make about keeping your space or giving notice, and you may need to seek legal advice about breaking a lease if it comes to that. But you won’t know anything until you open that communication.
- If you also rent your residence, a similar conversation may be necessary with that landlord. Do keep in mind that new state and federal regulations regarding evictions during the pandemic are coming out daily. If necessary, contact your state’s attorney general office for guidance on resources and applicable emergency regulations.
- If you get mail delivered to your office and it will be difficult to collect it, consider having your mail forwarded to your home temporarily. You can do this online at USPS.com.
Track Your Cancellations
- Keep a list of any appointments you have canceled and the amount of income you would have received from them. You may do this in your scheduling software, a spreadsheet, or old-style pen and paper. Do what works for you, but track it as you cancel appointments now so you don’t have to rely on your memory later.
Lock Down Your Spending
- Look at your last few months of transactions and eliminate any auto-debits and subscriptions you can. If you have monthly subscription services, see if you can drop down to a cheaper or free level of service while your business is paused. Consider your bulk email provider, website hosting, bookkeeping software, scheduling system, phone, etc.
- If you are paying utilities on your office space and can safely get to the office, turn the heat down, unplug everything possible, and consider canceling your internet service.
- In your personal accounts, defer any payments you can, for as long as you can. You may be able to defer student loan payments or other debt. Drop your payments on credit card debt to the minimum amount required. If it makes sense for you and it’s necessary to maintain minimum cash flow for living expenses, pause your retirement investing temporarily (the key word being temporarily).
- Do that math to figure out how long you can live on the cash you have. That will give you some perspective and help you make decisions moving forward.
- As of the writing of this piece the IRS is allowing all individual filers to defer filing and paying their income taxes until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest. This includes your first quarter estimated tax payments.
- Talk to your accountant or tax preparer regarding when, if, and how much to pay your first and second quarter estimated taxes now that your income projections for 2020 have changed.
- Visit www.irs.gov/coronavirus for the most current information regarding federal taxes, and visit your state’s website for their current updates.
You’re Still a Hair Professional
- Even when you’re not putting your hands on clients, you’re still a hair stylist or barber. And your clients know that you are still their hair stylist or barber.
- Stay in touch with your clients. They could probably use a little reassurance from you. Now is a good time to share all the self-care and wellness tips you’ve gathered in your career. Post to your blog (or finally start one!) and share via email and social media. If you had to cancel clients, you could even check in with them at what was previously their appointment time.
Consider Additional Income Ideas
- If your client base is economically diverse, you may be able to extend to virtual services that complement your practice or sell your retail products online.
- A pause in hair services may also give you time to consider an entirely new business. Flexible online work options are only growing. You may have the skills to teach online or offer online services like web design, copywriting, transcription, or virtual assistant services.
- Many of us came to cosmetology from other careers and will venture off into new ones. Now could be a good time to explore those options and brush up on the necessary skills.
Plan to Rebuild Your Dream Practice
- While hair services are paused, do some work on your business. Consider what you love and what you don’t. An extended absence is a great time to think about what you would do differently if you were starting from scratch. Soon enough, we will be starting fresh, and the reemergence could be a great time to make the changes you’ve been thinking about for years.
Life probably won’t be the same as it was before this global crisis, and we need to continue to support each other with kindness and love. But there will be a time when you can perform professional hair styling services again. Let’s get ready for that day and use this time to prepare to emerge stronger than before.
Allissa Haines and Michael Reynolds can be found at www.massagebusinessblueprint.com, a member-based community designed to help you attract more clients, make more money, and improve your quality of life.
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND RESOURCES, PLEASE CHECK OUT OUR BLOG, "CORONAVIRUS AND YOUR PRACTICE" TO LEARN MORE.