COVID-19 is the knockout punch that no one saw coming. In unprecedented fashion, every business imaginable has shut down, children aren’t in school, and people are in a state of confusion and disarray. While many businesses have either sent employees home with pay or reduced their staff to stay afloat, many freelancers and entrepreneurs are feeling the brunt of the world slowing down ultimately.
As a freelancer or an entrepreneur, one only eats what they’ve caught for that day. Publicists represent their clients, but if their clients can’t attend events or press runs, this affects the publicist in charge. The same is true for a freelance writer who depends on a media company or retainer clients to provide them with content. According to the Capital One Small Business Growth Index, 61% of business owners said they would experience a negative impact on cash flow during an economic downturn. In comparison, 59% of business owners said they would see a decrease in sales.
Millennial business owners and freelancers in Detroit are feeling the effects of COVID-19 first-hand. Listed below are a few owners who say they’ve had to readjust due to this outbreak completely.
“COVID-19 has affected me as a business owner primarily in the event, production, and management space. All my events have been canceled,” said Brittni Brown, Owner of The Bee Agency. “When I first got into business, it was always a rule of thumb to set aside and prepare for six months in advance, but nothing can prepare you for when that time comes. Being in the public relations space, its life-altering when everything is canceled.
As a publicist, you’re on edge because you don’t know whether to pitch or be sensitive to the situation, so you must take these things into consideration. The real show is going to happen when everything is back to normal.”
“This pandemic has caused us to shut down our podcast recording studio until mid-April (so far),” said Randi Rossario, owner of Oh So Radio and Oh So Studios. “It’s a major hit on our business because that’s 70% of keeping us going. The cool thing right now is the ability to adjust ad rates for Oh So Radio and helping small businesses keep promoting or simply keeping their name out there. For my skincare line, I’ve had to slow down this week due to me having a stuffy nose. I refuse to mail products while sick, and even though I’ve sent updates to all clients, two contested it via PayPal. I think everyone needs to properly communicate during these crazy times and display more patience.”
“The COVID-19 virus has completely canceled Mommies Melodies (Nonprofit Mom Support Group) March Madness activities, which was a huge month-long engagement full of opportunities for moms all over Metro Detroit,” said Tarana V. Hayes, owner of Mommies Melodies. “We’ve had to postpone many of our events, leaving a lot of moms in a funk who’ve paid for events.
While many businesses have come to a halt, business owners have turned tragedy into triumph by taking their talents to Instagram Live. Amber Lewis, who’s the Director of Digital and Social Media for the City of Detroit, created the “Issa IG Tour” for self-quarantined millennials looking to have their social interaction fix.
“The gigs that I was booked to host and curate music for were canceled due to COVID-19, and I saw a lot of people down and out about it,” said Lewis. “As a digital media professional and influencer, I saw it as an opportunity for brands and event curators to innovate in the digital space.
“Consequently, I created my own series called Issa IG Tour, where I feature different event curators, DJs, event hosts, artists, and other entrepreneurs who are impacted by the quarantine to build a sense of community digitally. I also want it to be a way to aid in the economic recovery of these entrepreneurs and artists. I’m partnering with corporate sponsors to be able to pay the hosts for their time. A few global brands I’ve worked with as an influencer have tuned in and want to support this work. Currently, the social networking app Bumble and The Block Detroit are tour partners and we will be curating IG Live Tours that make sense for those partnerships. At a time like this, it’s crucial for companies to not only post digital content but to invest in the artists and entrepreneurs who are being impacted by COVID-19. I’m very proud of the partners who have stepped up to do that work.”
Lewis wants to build on this momentum long after COVID-19 passes as it’s provided a rare opportunity for entrepreneurs and others alike.
“I plan to continue a live series on my channel, but it likely won’t be as frequently as Issa IG Tour,” said Lewis. “I’m also highlighting the work that other people in the community are doing on IG live through my “Social N The City IG Live Suggestions.” I plan to do some digital content on #BWDoSocial as well. I’m also working alongside other event curators and businesses on their digital strategy and content. This COVID-19 quarantine is all about community, and we are seeing people from corporations to individual artists step up in a big way.”
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