The novel coronavirus pandemic must be one of the strangest and most challenging experiences any of us have had. We have all had to adapt in the best way possible. I am writing this in September, half a year after the pandemic started for me, and it seems like a good time to evaluate my approach during the pandemic to see what I might learn from it.
I had minor surgery on March 12th, just days before our city shut down. Because it was my first surgery, thoughts of my recovery dominated my mind. Then, when we had to close our office and move to remote work on the following Monday, the surgery was overshadowed by the indefinite work-from-home order. In the span of two days, my life shifted to a fight for the basics of life: education for my girls, figuring out my household in this new environment, and scariest of all, what would happen to our company. That first week was filled with fear and survival-mode action.
Then, I slowly started to get my bearings again. I knew this was big, and it was bigger than anything I had experienced in the past, and I knew that it was going to be a defining period for an unprecedented number of people and companies. I wanted to take on this challenge with flexibility and prove that we could use this shift as a chance to adapt. Of course, at that time, I did not know how that would look, but I knew that foremost I wanted to keep a level head through it. I also wanted to get something good out of the extra time I would have since I would not be traveling or attending in-person events.
I spent the first few months homeschooling while also making the transition for our teams to work remotely as smooth as possible. I also needed to oversee how we navigated these rough waters to the other side and where we’re at now. My goal was to ensure the company was able to continue operating into the future. There were scary times, and figuring out how to manage the new reality took a lot of energy, but slowly things got better, and we all got used to it.
Once things settled down a bit and habits started to regulate, I began planning what I wanted to do, as I wanted to use this unique time productively, doing things I never was able to do. One of the things I had not had a chance to work on fully was my marketing platform as an author, which included my social media presence. As an author, publishers want to see that you have a strong online presence. Pre-COVID, I had focused mostly on the writing and on slowly building an audience on Medium, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
My original plan had been to publish my book this year without an established platform. I now realize that this would have been a mistake. This realization made me decide that this was going to be my project – the marketing side of being an author and pitching my book to traditional publishers or figuring out how to self-publish.
I started by taking a marketing course and consulting with a brand expert on how to build my author brand in May. This initial phase took about two months. I then moved on to working on my social media presence, my personal branding, my blog, website, and newsletter. It has taken a few months to figure out solutions that make sense for me, answer questions I had, and to implement them. For example, one of the big questions I had was the language of my social media. I had been posting on Instagram in Spanish and on LinkedIn in English. I got the feedback, however, to post in both languages simultaneously, as that would help me reach both audiences better.
I would have never done these things had the year gone on as planned. Of course, we have all missed out on many of our plans, but I take comfort in the fact that I invested the time in building something that would not have happened otherwise.