Wow! What a whirlwind the past few months have been. When we started Gray Hop we never expected, like a lot of other freelancers and businesses, to be faced with a challenge that would rock the whole world and life as we knew it.
At the very beginning
Initially, we were both extremely scared of what was going to happen. We’d spent the first couple of months of the year quoting and sending out lots of proposals, and we were hopeful that they would come to something, so as the pandemic grew closer, our hopes started to dwindle a little.
We both also knew that without our clients, we would really struggle. Our personal circumstances had changed a lot for the both of us and we were each more reliant than ever on our incomes from Gray Hop.
But we shouldn’t have been worried. We’d put the hard work in already, promoting our brand and spending plenty of time sharing our experiences and knowledge, and in doing so, some of those we quoted for decided to still take the plunge – thank you guys! Our existing clients? They continued to believe in us too, so we have been incredibly grateful to them as well.
But…even with our amazing clients by our side each month, we certainly have not rested on our laurels and we’ve tried to offer as much support as possible to them during these difficult times. As each month has passed, we’ve also said a little thank you to the universe, especially when the invoices have been paid, ha.
One thing that did stop very quickly was our “self promotion” via our social media and, as you may notice with this being our first blog in a while, our blog posts. Although we wanted to continue to share our knowledge and experiences, we were not sure how to best do this without it seeming like we were being insensitive, so we took the decision, after a few initial posts with a little bit of advice for people new to working from home, to say nothing at all.
Motivation was not our friend
It was also difficult for us both to feel motivated about Gray Hop and we found ourselves working on client projects only which, we have to admit, has now left us wondering whether we have wasted our time a little. We could have spent so much more time further developing our skills, growing the Gray Hop brand, and generally increasing our awesomeness, but we didn’t.
At times, we won’t lie, it was even extremely difficult to find the motivation to carry on with client work. Our mental health has wavered a lot and there have been plenty of ups and downs, so we’ve needed to take the necessary time to process, reflect and heal. And although we haven’t further developed in areas which we probably should have, we have developed new skills relating to our mental health and we know more about ourselves than ever before – which we think is growth in itself.
We’ve missed each other
Something else which has been incredibly difficult for the both of us was the inability to work with each other. We are so used to seeing each other every day, working and brainstorming together, and it’s been super hard managing that. Although video calls have helped, it’s not been the same and at times we’ve found ourselves repeating work the other has already done. so communication has definitely been key and skill we have had to improve upon.
It’s also helped us to appreciate each other even more than we did before, and it has reminded us that we are very lucky to have each other both in our work and personal lives.
Our clients strategies and how they changed
One thing we did make sure to do at the beginning of the pandemic was research around what our clients should and shouldn’t be doing. We took part in plenty of webinars from experts in our field and we can thank The Marketing Meetup for a lot of those.
By carrying out the research, we were prepared and ready to help our clients when they came to us for advice on what they should do. For most, it was still relevant to continue promoting their products and services, but we did have to adapt the message and the way we were doing this. For example, rather than just asking people to buy the products one of our clients sells, we upped the blog posts we were writing for them so we could promote helpful advice, allowing users to utilise the spare time on their hands and plan their purchases for once things had settled a bit.
We also saw huge drops in organic search traffic and strange behaviours with paid search, and we knew from our research that social media would be an opportunity to take advantage of – with many people spending substantially more time on it compared to before. Based on this, most of our clients strategies had a strong focus on social media, increasing social media advertising budgets too – something which wasn’t easy for everyone but we knew we had to encourage our clients to invest even in times like these as our research showed that those who invested now would be remembered afterwards.
Our clients outcomes
By taking our advice and trusting us, many of our clients managed to experience similar levels of website traffic and conversions to that of before the pandemic. And now, with us all getting a little more used to the “new normal”, some of our clients are experiencing the best website performance and sales conversions they have seen in years.
Even with the “new normal” here, we are still continuing to support our clients as much as possible, with regular meetings about what we should do next, in depth analysis regarding what has and what hasn’t worked so well, along with making recommendations as to how best to keep performance as high as possible. Things are still uncertain, and it’s imperative that we do not rock the boat, so this has been the main focus in recent weeks, and will continue to be for the next few months (at least).
The biggest lesson we have learnt at Gray Hop during these unprecedented times? To take plenty of time out for ourselves. We have always followed the mantra of work life balance and working because it makes us happy and not because of the money, and the pandemic has reinforced that for the both of us.
Life is too short to be unhappy, and family and friends are more important than materialistic things. Yes, we miss having our hair cut and our roots are certainly darker than we would like, but the ability to chat and walk together, even at a 2 metre distance, is something we will never take for granted ever again.
We’ve also learnt to not be too critical of ourselves. Yes we could have spent this time learning a new language or practicing a skill, but being able to reflect, grow and heal internally and mentally will be just as, if not more important, for our futures and for the future of Gray Hop.
So tell us, how’s your experience of lockdown been?