In the first in a new series of Life in Lockdown interviews, we speak to Tanya Lynch, a previous Editor of Penarth View, about living the good life in Dinas Powys. She says that whilst her freelance business Lynchpin is having a quiet break from the rat race that no longer seems to be racing, lockdown has given her the time and energy to fall back in love with her side project Ease Retreats.
Has your work been affected by COVID-19?
I am not working right now. Like many in the wellbeing and travel industries I am waiting for social distancing restrictions to be lifted.
What were your initial thoughts, as you saw the virus take hold and lockdown restrictions come into force?
I didn’t quite believe the hype to be honest. It took me a good couple of weeks to get my head around the news and work out exactly what to do. During week three, it hit me hard, and I started to think how I could pivot my career and especially how I needed to be resourceful.
Have you changed anything to keep your business going?
The retreats business continues online through engaging with my audience via journaling and hosting Zoom calls. I am spending time learning about how to grow my audience via online courses such as the DO Lectures, plenty of content writing and forecasting which revenue streams are potentially possible in the retreats industry.
I have two wonderful sons who I need to take care of, entertain, and feed! Right now my main role is part-time teacher and COEO (Chief Outdoor Education Officer). I’m in my element!
How have your customers taken to those changes?
Thankfully through the power of digital platforms my customers or my tribe as I like to call them are engaging with me and we are all having a hoot. Of course, we all have down days, but my network is very supportive and caring so we have been able to help each other through the so-called lockdown lull.
Will those changes stay when lockdown restrictions are eased?
I will continue to offer a digital service but primarily my business is dependent on retreats being hosted in gorgeous beach houses along the West Wales coastline. Social distancing isn’t a given in the retreats industry
Are there any positives to take away from the situation? Have you been able to tap into a new market, for example?
Lockdown has been a very positive experience for me. If you take away the stress of limited revenue streams and little or no cash flow, I have been in a very positive place.
I have had time to engage with my audience and discovered some wonderful things about the type of retreats my new followers are interested in.
I have made new friends and I’m in discussions with some delightful brands to offer a range of Ease Retreats merchandise, which will hopefully launch in the autumn.
Do you have any advice for other businesses who have yet to make a change? What would be your top three pointers?
Ha! Well, I’m still learning about how to navigate life in lockdown and how best to pivot ready for the ‘new normal’ way of running a business.
If I had 3 pointers they would be…
- Write a manifesto for your brand. It is such a good exercise to focus your mind on what your business actually stands for and what its purpose is.
- Do one thing and do it well. Remain focused, don’t be distracted by what the rest of the herd are doing. You have a plan now is the time to stick to it
- It’s ok to feel vulnerable. Be honest with your customers. If you’re struggling or it’s taking longer to complete a project let your clients know. If they trust in your brand they trust in you. You have their best interests at heart. Be the best version of you once lockdown has been lifted!
What does the immediate future hold for you and Ease Retreats?
I will be hosting a super-duper weekend retreat once restrictions are lifted! Design Your Comeback with motivation guru Jeff Smith from Big Moose could be just the tonic you need out of lockdown. We promise a weekend of wellbeing in a beautiful beach house nestled in a stunning sandy bay.
We will have talks about how you can design your comeback post-COVID-19, topics surrounding fear and stress, and how to overcome them. Mental and physical conditioning plans, tips on running and the benefits, learn how to live through an incredible time in history, plus how we can step up and take action for ourselves and our business. You will feel rejuvenated, healthier and happier. This is a weekend about you for you!