5 Initial Steps Biz Owners when dealing with loss of a loved one
In this episode Jen goes deep on the steps she immediately took when hearing her grandmother had passed. As business owners we need to be aware that we need an action plan in place. And these quick 5 steps will have business moving forward and the weight of it lifted.
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Hello Jennifer Sakowski with a brand new episode of Raney Day Talks and today it’s going to be a little bit different. So stick around. We’re going to be talking about a topic that is a little heavy as a business owner and it’s very fresh for me, but I think it’s very important as a business owner is that we address this. So what am I talking about this week? This is the first week that I have come back the first day this week that I’ve come back to work and it has been a really tough week. On Sunday I lost my wonderful, beautiful 92-year-old grandmother. She was my only living grandmother at the time and it was rough. It was very rough. She lives over 400 miles away. I was back and forth between the state of Indiana and Pittsburgh all week long with family and went without family and it just, it was heavy.
But the thing that happened is as a business owner, you know, if you don’t show up in your work, you don’t get paid. If it’s just you, you have a very heavy load upon you and yet you’re having to deal with a very heavy issue and the grief and the sadness, you know you, you have a lot of emotions and feelings that come up when you lose a loved one like that. And I just went through it and I thought, you know what, let’s talk about this because in my situation I’m very thankful I have a team that was able to keep the fire burning while I stepped away. But in some cases, you may not know what to do or maybe you don’t have, haven’t had to walk through that with your business. So let’s talk about it. I have five points that I want to share today about handling when there’s a loss or a tragic event in your business.
Take A Minute
And number one is the first thing. Once you get that phone call, whether it’s someone in the hospital, you’ve got someone who has gone on to be with Jesus, whatever it may be, the first thing I encourage you to do is take a minute. Because for me, the first thing that went through my mind was, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, what am I going to do this week? I had all these things lined up, I had all these client meetings, I have deadlines to make communications with the team. Like I instantly went to business because Raney Day Design is my baby. It’s one of my babies. But it is my baby. And that’s the first thing that I went to. And looking back, it’s, that was my priority. I needed to check myself. So I encourage you to take a moment.
Let Your Team Know
Work will be there, clients will be there and if they’re not, they’re not meant for you to work with. So take a moment, feel the initial feel once that information has been given to you. And then number two, if you have a team, let them know. Now I struggle with this because I, not of sharing, but of oversharing within my group, I tend to try to keep it professional. But yet we, I tease, I joke around with them and I do try to get to know them but I try to keep a lot of my personal life, mom-hood, all of that jazz out of our slack channel, out of our calls. Just because I think, you know, hey, I’m here, I’m here to roll. And I expect them to hit it, to leave the personal out. But the thing is is that I treat these people like family.
They are family, they’re my Raney Day Design family. And if you have a team, I encourage you to let them know immediately. Because if you do not let them know immediately, they may be waiting on input, feedback, maybe that you guys are supposed to have a meeting and you’re not in the headspace to have it. You have to let them know. So for us, we use slack as our communications tool and it is the bloodline that goes within our business, allows us to communicate. And that’s the first thing I did, I had to drop them a message to say, hey, this is what’s going on. I don’t know what this week is gonna look like, stay tuned until I got a plan and that took off a little bit of that weight knowing that I had people behind me. Now if you don’t have a team, I want you to roll right into point number three.
Email Your Clients
Point number three is to email the clients of your open projects or because in our industry it’s a service-based industry. You know, we’re, we’re providing web design, social media services, content, whatever it may be and we have a lot of open projects. We had a lot of new projects that were coming in this week and that was my step number three. I instantly sat down, well, once I got to Indiana that night I crafted up a quick email basically saying this week there will be a delay. And I was, I kept emotion out of it. I was very matter of fact, but I was very open and stating dear, whoever, my apologies this week I am having to, I think I said I clear my schedule due to I lost my, my grandmother, she went on to be with Jesus. I think I actually said that in my email, but we lost her on Sunday and I’m not sure if the arrangements as of right now and due to the circumstances I am clearing my schedule.
Please note that I will be picking back up next week. I will be in touch and then if there was anything that that team I know was working on, I made sure to include that and I closed with thank you for your understanding and guess what? Every one of them responded with either kind words or just acknowledgment that I understand and that was the second weight that was lifted from me. And because I, I do tend to be a bit of a people pleaser. I enjoy serving our clients, I enjoy the people that we’re working with and I hate to let people down. Like first of all like my expectations for me are way super high of what I should be accomplishing even outside of reality. And that’s a whole other episode. But for this, I don’t want to let them down, especially for our new clients that are coming in.
Man, I hit the ground running with them. And here we are not to mention that August is operations month for our team that we’re digging in and filling holes and fixing problems in our processes and systems. And I came in this week had big plans, can’t do it and so that was awesome for me is just be able to, cause once I sent the email off I felt I just sat down, took a huge breath and just allowed that weight to be lifted because I knew that I was up front. I was honest, I was timely with them and that’s all I could do. So if you are thinking, well I don’t know if I could do that with my clients or maybe it’s a service, it would be you have a storefront, you may have to put up a sign, you may have to go to social media and post that there’s been a loss within our, your business name, family and expected delays, whatever it may be. Acknowledge it cause people will respect that. And the ones that do not respect that or are anything but kind toward of your loss of a loved one, they are not ones for you, they are not for you. And so that’s why I encourage you just get that off your plate.
That allowed me to take a huge breather, not having to worry about work. And I know that’s hard to do because trust me, I eat, breathe, live, sleep, die, Raney Day Design. I put my blood, sweat, and tears into this business and nobody knows better than I do about how hard you have to work to make something go and make it work for their family, whatever it may be. But you have to take some time for yourself because if you’re showing up and not completely in it, you’re not present with your team and your clients and your projects, you’re not giving them your best self. And let’s face it, they need your best self. So I encourage you, once again, number one, take a moment when you find out that news number two you have if you have a team, let them know. Be honest, be open. I don’t know the plan being completely transparent, but this is what I know. I’ll let you know as soon as I know. Number three is to email your clients. Email the ones that are either your VIP is the one they have open projects with, whoever it may be, but notify them, give yourself a break and just let that sit for a minute.
Take The Time
And then number four, take the time. Now I was in Indiana when I sent off that email. I left on Sunday night, drove out, got in late, grab some dinner, shot off some emails, checked in with a team. Hmm. And then I thought, oh, I’ll have a few hours on Monday morning. I’ll have a few hours here. I can just tap back in. I had no time and I hadn’t cried or anything until, see Monday I was there Monday night, I drove back. Tuesday I dropped the kids off, was going to try to tap into work and that’s when all the emotions hit. And you know what? I was able to just go hide underneath the covers and let it out and allow myself to grieve and just a process. I mean I was exhausted too, but if I hadn’t done steps one, two and three, I wouldn’t have been able to allow myself that moment and I needed it.
So I took it. So that’s my encouragement to you take the time.
Number five is after you’re ready, you’ve taken the time, whatever that is for you, because I can’t tell you how long you need to take for me. And this situation because grandma, she was ready, she was ready and being this far away, I have been able to keep in touch with her. She was a strong woman of faith, but I know where she’s at and it was easier I think for me for this circumstance. Now if it somebody else, I don’t know, but for me come yesterday I had an off day once again, just took it, played with the kids and just worked on getting my house in order and taking care of things that are offline behind the scenes for me to show up today. And by the way, today is my birthday.
Woo. I stepped back in and as soon as I could, the kids are taken care of. And here’s where number five comes into play. It’s strategically catching up now. It’s easy to get in and be like, oh I’ve got to catch up. I’m so far behind Lalalala. I know cause I go there, but let’s strategically catch up. And so the first thing for me to strategically, strategically catch up is to make a list. Now y’all know me, I am a list. I’m like the list queen of lists I have, I do, I make lists upon lists for items for clients, for the team. It just helps me organize my train of thought. It helps me process the information. So the first thing that I did is that I prioritized my open projects slash requests. So I took a glance at the support desk, I took a glance at some of the communications that have come in with a team, some of the posts that were in slack and just took a quick overview to prioritize those projects.
Okay. So that was the first thing. Second thing, you cannot let your operations, your internal operations suffer. It’s very easy for us to jump in and do the work for your clients and push your own marketing, your own processes, your own communications to the side. Because we’re so quick to please so quickly to meet the demands of the clients. Well, guess what? If you have a team, your team needs you or if it’s you, you still have to push content out. You still have to show up whatever it is in your industry that you are doing. And for us, we haven’t pushed any content out. We’re going into the second week of August and we haven’t had anything out and these are the things that we’re going to address this week and it didn’t happen. So here we are. That’s the first thing that I went to is okay, what do we need to do?
One is our social media, we have a podcast this week that went out, it hasn’t been published or it hasn’t been promoted so I made a list for the RDD side so I have my open projects responses I need to get through and what needs to be done in RDD and I go by and I prioritize by if it’s a client, if it’s a VIP client, you got to handle them. You can’t let that fall. You have brand new clients, maybe it’s proposals on the table, you lay it out and then you prioritize it based upon deadline. Maybe it’s financially that you need to get an invoice off to get paid to cover your team’s expense, cover, your operation costs, whatever it may be. Then you prioritize your internal operations and that’s where like ours is social media, graphic design, so and so forth. We’ve got to knock them out but I’ve got to make a list first so that way it helps me stay focused and it helps me stay organized.
The next one in the last one under strategically catching up is, do not overthink it. Don’t overthink because if you’re like me you get into this hole in this box so you’re almost paralyzed because you’ve cut so much to do and there’s so much stress and everything needs to be done yesterday. Just take a big breath and get to work cause the quicker you get to work, the quicker you get a mark something off and something gets accomplished. And my one of another point in this is do not get caught up too much into the communication side because it’s easy to jump into email. I’m not looking at email, I haven’t looked at email yet because I want to make sure that I have a plan that’s been prioritized, that I can hit the ground running. Because if I start over in email, you know the more you email respond to emails, the more that they come back. So I encourage you, don’t get caught up in that or start communicating with your team just slowly but don’t jump in because then you’re going to be tied into their requests and their needs and God bless them they need you. But as a leader and a manager in your business, you have to handle the overall projects, the overall scope of the work that you’re doing. So before you jump in there and make sure you have a plan,
Set A Timer
Last point that I’m going to leave you with is if you feel stuck, if you feel like you’re whatever your am I doing, it’s just sucking the time away. Like I’ve been sitting here for two hours now and I haven’t got anything accomplished use a tomato timer. If you Google Pomodoro timer one will come up and it’ll actually go off in your browser. It’ll run in the background. Now the one online is 25 minutes. So it’s just a timer and there’s something about having that ticking away in the background that causes a sense of urgency because done is best, we don’t need to be perfect at this point, done is best. So by setting that timer, that keeps you moving because you’re literally racing the clock. A log of times I’ll do a double Pomodora so I’ll set it for 50 minutes and then rock it out. Soon as that time is done, I set it aside and get busy on the next one. So for me that helps because that causes urgency because I work very well under pressure. That is just how I am. I will do work best at at the last minute. I’m good in a crisis. So if I’m putting that pressure on by adding a timer that’s going to help me operate that quickly and efficiently and I get it done, I turn it. So those are a few nuggets that were on my heart that I just went through. I haven’t had to go through this yet and thought there’s gotta be another business owner out there that has no idea what to do if something happens. And those are my quick five points on how to tackle it and how to let yourself breathe because let’s face it, life is precious and life is also short.
So it’s important that we’re present in those times, good or bad, happy or sad. It’s important for us to be present and allow ourselves to feel because if you don’t take that time now it will rear its ugly head later on.
So that is my note for today. On Raney Day Talks, podcasts on how to handle a death in your family, how to handle a crisis situation that might come up or a health issue or scare when you are operating and running your own business. I hope you find this helpful. Thank you so much for your time today.
Thank you to our Sponsor
A huge thank you to Mark Levander of Mark Levander Productions for sponsoring season one of Raney Day Talks. It truly is because of Mark that we’re able to put these podcasts in our YouTube channel and a lot of our videos and load the animations together. So, if you’re interested in launching your own podcast or need work with photography or videography, please contact Mark through MarkLavanderProductions.com.