It's fair to say that 2020 hasn't been the easiest year and I am sure I speak for many small business owners when I say that this year has provided us with many challenges, both financially and emotionally.
When I look back I can't quite believe that in the first week of March I attended Crufts at the NEC and travelled on a train so jam packed that I was forced to sit on the floor by the toilet! Two weeks later we were all instructed to Stay at Home to Save Lives...
Work evaporated overnight and the immediate future of any bookings looked bleak. Whilst many individuals and businesses seemed to switch seamlessly to working at home and online, those of us in the events industry had bookings cancelled months and months in advance. Much of my self-employed income comes from the shooting season and many of the large estates found themselves unable to commit to buying in birds due to the uncertainty of travel restrictions and COVID regulations. Gradually and happily we started to open up in July and businesses started to get a taste of normality once more. I managed to get myself up and running with a few dog shoots and a socially distanced polo match. I spent time on my business, signed up to the wonderful Hair of the Dog Academy and re-worked my business model. The shooting also began to open up and things were starting to look more positive.
By the end of October I had a month's worth of shoot photography booked in between November and December and this disappeared at the announcement of Lockdown 2.0. It has been hard to witness friends who rely on the shooting season watching work dry up again and their livelihoods threatened. All throughout August and September I have seen and heard jokes made about shooting opening up on social media - those who assume that this is simply a luxury for the wealthy. Behind this facade are people who work hard and depend on this 'luxury' to pay rents and mortgages and to put food on the table.
Things will get better and with the announcement of the vaccine this week there is a palpable feeling of hope for all of us. What I hope is that all small businesses find a way to survive and that people will use this festive period to shop local to support these struggling businesses.
I want to sign off, however, by paying tribute to our wonderful NHS and those who have given themselves to help others this year. For those who have gone above and beyond to protect us and to save lives. You are the reason that we have hope. THANK YOU! 🌈