Sorry, Miss. I was sick. Can your business survive sudden illness?
This week’s blog post almost didn’t happen.
I’ve been sick. Not hospital sick but definitely ‘call my mum’ sick. I shrug off most illnesses going around but last week a very nasty head cold wiped. me. out.
Now as a business owner I have a disaster recovery plan… somewhere. A plan that outlines how I mitigate the risk of my office being destroyed. Things like regular backups, cloud storage, blah blah blah.
I also have a plan for when I’m going to be unavailable for a designated period of time.
Case in point: Last year I went offline for a few weeks on maternity leave and I enacted a partial shutdown during that time. It was well planned and, if I do say so, very well executed thanks to the help of my awesome VA, Kirsty.
But this time I had no notice.
I went from feeling great on Monday to a bit tired on Tuesday to being unable to get out of bed on Wednesday. I had a full week of work planned. I was part-way through booking in some new clients and in mid-conversation with some prospective clients.
But with a fever and my sinuses trying to fold themselves out of my skull (at least that’s how it felt), I needed rest. And there was the small matter of a baby to look after.
Writing was out of the question.
My planning and check lists were all put to the test as my body took over and took me offline for five days. Not long enough to get the sirens going but long enough to delay projects.
Long enough for the radio silence to seem rude to new clients.
No one gets bravery award for turning up sick.
We’ve all known that person.
The one who drags themselves into the office with their own pity party going on. I’m soooo illlll but I didn’t want to let the team down cough cough sniffle. Yeah, well you’ve not only spread your germs around, you’re being unproductive and will take twice as long to recover.
Sure, my office only has me and my pug dog, Fenris, but the last two points apply. When you need to rest, you need to rest.
No one gives out business awards for ‘The most days worked when ill’.
As a business owner, the best thing you can do for your clients is take the time you need to get better then get on with being awesome with all pistons pumping.
So I reached out.
I hate having to chase people up asking, Did you get my email? Just a quick acknowledgement or update makes all the difference to me and I pay that forward to my clients.
I knew I couldn’t do much but I could shoot out a few quick emails letting people know what was happening.
1. I identified the projects that I was working on and wrote a (very) short email, letting my clients know there were going to be some small delays but that I’d be in touch once I was back on board.
2. I briefly responded to people I’d started talking to, letting them know that I received their email but I was ill and wouldn’t respond until the following week.
And what happened?
I gotta lotta love back, that’s what.
Clients who are busy running their own businesses appreciated the update and said so. Some wished me a speedy recovery. Some let me know their copy wasn’t a huge priority so I wasn’t to worry.
With each response, I was able to sleep easier and actually recuperate.
And here I am writing this week’s blog post.
Heavily medicated but I’m doing it.
I’m all caught up for the week ahead and while I may not be 100% I know that my clients are still happy with me on their team. I took five days off and the world didn’t stop turning nor did my business collapse.
I’m a copywriter but I’m also in the business of relationships.
The relationships I build with my clients from the very first email exchange are the reason I get to tell them, Sorry, Miss. I was sick. And have them be ok with that.
So. Here’s your homework (not really).
What’s your plan if you need to go offline unexpectedly?
Are you fostering the kind of client relationships that make it ok?
Let me know.
The Copy Detective
Belinda (The Copy Detective)
Belinda is a marketing and seo copywriter who confidently walks the line between writing effective copy and creating an engaging brand personality. You don’t have to choose between them! She's teaching what she knows so you can write copy too. Be the first to hear about her next master class.