by Barbara Gabogrecan
When you suffer from a serious illness it is very difficult to keep a business running, particularly if you are a home based business with no staff. But it is possible to keep your business alive, even if it is only running at an extra slow speed. There are a few ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ to keep in mind.
Do – let your existing customers and potential customers know what has happened. Explain that you may not be able to fulfill orders in a timely fashion. If they have prepaid for an order e.g. via your online catalogue, offer to refund their money and they can re-order at a later date.
Case Study – I received a number of orders for silk painting while in hospital suffering from a stroke and a brain tumour. My husband contacted everyone who had placed an order and offered them their money back. Every single one said they would wait. This was such a goal that I felt I had to reach that I am sure it boosted my morale and made my stroke recovery faster than it would have been without having such a goal to reach.
Don’t Keep Your Illness a Secret – one way or another all your business contacts will hear about your trauma. Make them feel as though they are a part of your recovery; it makes them feel good – and you will too!
Case Study – my husband sent an email to all my business contacts (around 3,000 of them). He was inundated with return emails wishing me well. He made hard copies of them and brought them to the hospital and read them to me. At a time when I was fragile and wondering if I would ever be able to run a business again, these emails gave me a surge of hope and brought me closer to what I was wondering if I would lose. I cannot express just how important these messages were to my stroke recovery.
I must admit, one message in particular made me laugh – my husband had as the Subject: “Barbara has had a stroke” – one response said “for a minute I thought this was a marketing ploy of some kind – until I read it and realised it was for real!”
Do – set goal’s and challenges to strive towards. This positive approach is bound to speed up your recovery
Case Study – At first my goals were quite small e.g. being able to walk 10 steps when I could only manage four steps the day before. It did not take me long though to decide on a huge challenge that I wanted to meet head on – one that could make me dream and feel excited. I decided to write a book titled “Thank God I Had a Stroke” it seemed insurmountable because the stroke had left me with the rare condition of ‘Alexia without Agraphia’ which meant that I could not read, but I could write. It took me two years, but with the help of my husband reading each page to me as I wrote it; I finally had the published copy in my hand! WOWEE!!! This book developed into a new business for me.
Don’t Feel Despair – it is so easy to fall into depression when suffering from a serious illness. Don’t dwell on the negatives – concentrate on the positives.
Case Study – Instead of dwelling on what I could not do after the stroke, I concentrated on what I could still do. My husband wrote up a list for me and at the top of the list was my silk painting and training dogs (my true love). The first thing I did when I was strong enough was to complete the silk painting orders I had received while in hospital.
Soon after, I received a commission to paint a large wall mural to decorate the foyer of a beautifully restored Historic Trust building in East Melbourne. Because I was slower than usual, I decided to make a video of my progress and send it to the client. Altogether I had 5 videos on You Tube – one of them was listed on page one of You Tube for the keyword ‘silk painting’. The client was delighted and sent each one to her customers, keeping them informed as to the changes being made in her business. She told me that she actually got more sales because of the contacts she was making with an exciting video link attached!
To recover and live a satisfying life after a serious illness, you simply must remain motivated and inspired. Without positive emotions you will not recover as you should. Don’t give in, remember there is always a silver lining; sometimes you just have to look for it. Read more on how I coped and some tips and hints on how you can too.