Overcoming the coronavirus pandemic may seem like an impossible feat, right now. For gig workers, such as wedding & event vendors, times have been very tough. For our business, Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths, we have certainly felt the enormous impact of the recent changes, especially the limit of 10 people ban! Literally, within seven days, all of our events for March and April events were canceled.
We've never experienced anything like this as a business, and I have never experienced anything like this in my lifetime. I remember SARS, Swine Flu, and the other epidemics, but it did not affect us like this. I know that every wedding vendor, nationwide, is also experiencing the same issue.
All but one of our events decided to reschedule. For the one event that did not want to reschedule, she literally canceled the day of the wedding, (last Tuesday 3/17/2020). In her email, she said, "I know I won't get any of my money back." In any other circumstance, she would have been correct. However, I decided to give her a good portion of her money back. It was the right thing to do. She replied and said she was in tears and she was very grateful. It was the least I could do during this time. My wallet was not happy, but my soul was. :)
I know not every wedding or event vendor is able to do this. You have your contracts and are well within your rights to abide by it. For us, however, we felt that this was best. She may not ever book us, again, but I am more than sure that she will certainly tell all of her friends and family about us during this time, which is great. We may have lost one event, but may have gained several more future events! Yes, we believe in "business karma," as my wife, Diana, likes to call it. :)
It's hard to be positive right now, but it's best to try to be. Fortunately, all of our weddings and events are rescheduling. This time has forced me to go over my contracts with a fine-tooth comb. Your contract may not have had anything remotely similar to a pandemic, so it's a good idea now to look for wording to include situations like this.
It's also a good time to look at your insurance policy. If you have questions, be sure to check out Wedding Network Texas' webinar, this week, on March 25, at 10:30 AM. It will be on Event Insurance. You can register for the webinar, here. Email Alex Ramirez, from WNT, for more information.
Like many of you, we missed out on a lot of income that would be coming in from the March & April events. All of our staff missed out on income, as well, which we really hated. Luckily, nearly all of our regular staff have a few streams of income, as do we. We definitely felt the pinch, of course. Speaking of the pinch, let's discuss some tips to help you during this time.
I reached out to our local Knot representative and I was able to get 1 month of fees suspended (to be paid at the end of our contract). It was not much, but it was a small relief. If you have not already done so, you should reach out to them.
If you do Google Ads, Facebook or Instagram Ads, or any other monthly advertising, now would be a good time to pause the campaign, if you want to. As we've experienced, not many people are wedding planning right now, so it may be a good time to do this. Even mortgage companies and vehicle loan companies are helping customers during this time. You have the time, so reach out to them to see how they can help!
Now, let's get to some solutions that will possibly help you make money during this time. Consider asking for full remaining balance payments from your clients. You'll likely have to provide an incentive for doing so, such as a 5-10% discount for paying it off early, a free upgrade, etc. They may be willing to jump on the opportunity! You won't know until you ask.
Next, look for ways you can get creative with your business. For example, If you're in catering, perhaps you can let people order family-size meals, versus the usual larger orders. For cake businesses, you can certainly still make smaller cakes for birthdays and other occasions. Even though people cannot get together in large groups, people still love great cakes and desserts!
Yes, these are smaller sales. I know smaller sales may not be as great as larger ones, but small sales do add up! Remember, the ocean is made of drops of water! For a more detailed list of income-generating solutions, visit my blog article on this very topic, that has more tips, here.
Many of us have many talents and skills. Now is a good time to start using those to generate another income stream. Consider getting on sites such as Fiverr or Upwork, if you're able to offer a service that businesses or people may need.
Albert Einstein once said, "in the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity." He was 100% right! I know it's hard to imagine that there is actually an opportunity right now, but there is. As difficult as social distancing may seem, it creates the perfect environment to learn! I'm also a certified Master Teacher, so I believe in life-long learning.
Right now, you can use this time to learn a new skill. You can take free courses on sites such as EdX, Udemy, etc. If you're tech-savvy, you can even consider learning to code. There are tons of free sites to learn how to code, too! If you're a reader, (or even if you aren't) start reading books that are in your area of interest. Learning is always something that is beneficial to you and your business.
Once things begin to change, there is another opportunity! Lots of people will be looking for work, unfortunately. The bright side is that you get a chance to hire new people, who will be motivated to work hard and do a great job. Those are the people you want on your team!
In my opinion, taking action and being productive during this time is far better than simply being in panic mode, all day long! Take a break from using social media and watching the news. If you can't, then at least just limit your exposure to all of this. I've vowed to stay productive and only look at the news and social media twice per day. It has really helped me be more productive!
Good luck and stay well!
Jason AlexanderAustin's Best DJs & Photo Booths
Jason is the co-founder and owner of Austin’s Best DJs & Photo Booths, a leading entertainment company based in Austin, Texas. Jason is also a certified Master Teacher, and holds a Master’s of Secondary Education, and a Master’s of Public Administration. Austin’s Best DJs’ blog recently was voted in the Top 10 DJ blogs to Follow in 2020! The site & blog receives over 700 unique visitors per day!
Photo Credits: Carhart Photography | Time Knot Forgotten