Thursday 26th March – 1st Week of social distancing done!

I want to hold my hand up today and say – Today I am struggling.  I am struggling with my emotions and coming to terms with the enormity of our current situation.  When I heard the words ‘Pandemic’ – I will be totally honest – my reaction was that of ‘Phew, we can get the money back on our holiday’


Today should have been day 3 of a beach relaxing holiday with my husband in Lanzarote.  We have both been so focussed on building our businesses over the last few years that we have forgotten to take time out, take holidays and spend time together away from work and CLOUD ACCOUNTING!  We visited Lanzarote the week before Christmas (our first holiday in 2 years) and had such an amazing time that we decided to book again for 3 months later – now. I can safely say this is not how I thought I would spend my 10 days of holiday.


I feel such enormous pressure to know everything – to understand everything so that I can advise.  I care so much about every single one of my clients that I know I take on their pain when they have it – this current situation means that every single one of our clients is in pain – and I am taking that all on my shoulders.  I hardly slept last night – worrying about what to say to who and when.  


I am blessed with an amazing team but I can see that they are struggling too.  We have an office on a beautiful farm right smack in the center of the South Downs National Park.  Every team member has remote working facilities – always have – but they prefer to come to work. We are all working parents – whether that be children or animals.  We love getting together each day – chatting about everything and nothing. Yes – we are having daily Zoom calls, WhatsApp nonsense and Slack communications – but nothing beats just being 1 meter away from another human being. I feel the pressure of looking after them and making sure they are coping ok. Taking phone calls from clients in tears because they are facing closing their businesses for several months.  This is real and it is happening now. We all need coping strategies.


I am terrible at burying myself in my work – be busy and you can forget the emotion.


I had an amazing group call with Karen Reyburn and her team at The Profitable Firm yesterday.  It was focused on what they could do to help us, in some aspects it felt like a support group. Why did they put on the call? For no other reason than we are clients of theirs and they want to help.  I think it was the first time I allowed myself to admit that this is frickin hard.


We have such limited information and the list of what we do not know is far longer than what we do – yet we have to advise on a daily basis on what our clients should be doing.  What if we get it wrong – what if we give the wrong advice.


Let alone worrying about my own small business – I have nurtured Fresh Financials for the last 7 years – it is my baby and with each new team member it has become what it is today.  Our work has not dried up – we are if anything exponentially busier than we have ever been – but what if our clients cannot afford to pay us – our job is to help them and we are not simply going to stop offering our support and care just because their sales have dried up.


We extended the Fresh Financials team by 2 in March – Zoe started on 9th March and Toni on 16th March – When I closed the office Zoe had completed 4 days in the office and Toni only 2.  I have been so impressed by how my team have all pulled together to make it work – helping clients, training Zoe and Toni and getting on with the usual day to day – let alone navigating the unknown new financial requirements AND settling into working from home with little people demanding attention and care!


So, today I am holding my hand up – today I am struggling – I had a good cry at 4.30am and want to share this so I can say – it is OK if you are struggling too.  We are all in this together and I feel my strength is in my vulnerability. We need to look after ourselves as well as our clients. One day at a time. Today I am going to be kind to myself and do some self care so that I am there for everyone when they need me but also know that me and my family can survive this too.  Stay Safe and remember that vulnerability is not a weakness.