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I’m Kyle! I'm an educator, husband, traveler, photographer, podcaster & Calvin & Hobbes fan since '85.
Here, you'll find a lot of free content wrapped around marketing, social media, entrepreneurship, and all the things in relation to building a creative business. So, if you want to learn more about taking your creative business to the next level, you're in the right place.
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Let’s cut right to it. When it comes to businesses struggling, seeing fewer leads, fewer bookings, and making less money – a lot of business owners have an ego attached to that drop in sales. But I want to have a really open conversation about this with you, what I’m feeling in my own business, and share some data with you from conversations I’ve been having with people in my world.
I can’t say this with 100% certainty, but I have to trust my gut.
I say that because my booking season is traditionally from October-March for each upcoming peak season. And for this, I am primarily referring to my brand, Luma Weddings, where I am a Seattle wedding photographer. And between October and February, everything looked 100% normal. Organic traffic, leads, and bookings were all on par with previous years.
But then I started seeing a slow-down earlier in February that I’m used to. And towards the end of February, it was nearly a ghost town.
Maybe if I ran ads or paid directories it would have been a little different, but I focus 100% of my energy and time on organic traffic. And each year, I earn six figures from those organic strategies. But something very strange is happening in my lead flow right now. So, I had to pay attention to what was happening in the world around me to see what could be affecting consumer behavior.
If you ever feel like there are fewer leads, pay attention to consumer behavior, the political scene in your region (or country as a whole), and look at what the local economy is doing. Look at what PEOPLE are doing. If the public becomes afraid or uncertain about anything, they grab onto their wallet a little bit tighter. It’s just human nature.
And for me, I typically book clients that don’t live in Washington state where I live. My clients usually live in other states, but they simply want to get married in Washington. So, to them, it’s a destination wedding. And with that raw data, you combine that with the fears of coronavirus and what the media is saying.
The media is saying to cancel or limit any unnecessary travel.
Destination weddings are a $300 BILLION industry. It’s massive. And with over 50% of my income coming directly from US destination weddings, you’re darn right I’m going to get hit by the effects of the coronavirus and travel fears of the general public.
Then, I had to really pay attention to where the hot spot of the coronavirus is currently in North America. And low-and-behold, wouldn’t you know… it’s 30 minutes from where I live in Kirkland, Washington. Awesome. And in the area, people are clearing out stores of toilet paper, cleaning products, masks, non-perishable food, and other random stuff for their doomsday kit.
Just a few days prior to this, I went to the movies with my father-in-law, and we had the entire theater to ourselves. Nobody was there. Make your own decision about why, but I think people are avoiding public spaces. Not everywhere, but definitely in some places. And living in the hotspot, I’m seeing and feeling it first hand.
I wanted to hear from the source how it’s affecting them. And without naming any names, this is what they’ve said.
In Guam, Fiji, and the Maldives, destination weddings are getting hit hard.
Incoming flights to some of these islands have been shut down entirely – especially coming from China and parts of SouthEast Asia. And when over 50% of Chinese couples opt for a destination wedding, that’s an absolutely massive impact to the areas where they want to get married. And that’s also going to affect the areas where they have their upscale pre-wedding photos done in locations like Paris, Santorini, Thailand, and other gorgeous areas around the world.
Photographers I know who serve weddings in Italy said they are having couples cancel their weddings and pushing to 2021.
Photographers I know who serve weddings in the Caribbean have seen cancellations and reschedules as well.
Photographers I know who work in Hawaii are seeing a slight downturn, especially from Asian leads and clients. A few have seen cancellations.
The list went on.
Bridal stores are getting affected because of supply chain issues, delays and cancellations.
Drop shippers, same issue.
Investors are investing at the lows of the stocks and keeping an eye on real estate dipping down.
Things are crazy.
And when I posted to those places on Facebook, it was interesting to see what came back after I shared publicly how my own leads & bookings were in a slight downturn. I had some people come across with a bit of an ego saying that their business is 100% okay and no change at all, others were open to sharing how theirs is being affected, and some people were saying that it’s especially been happening in the past 2 weeks.
And that data point struck a chord with me. Two weeks.
I look at my leads and when they started to dry up a bit, and for me, it was two weeks ago as well.
So, I had to start thinking about what was two weeks ago and what was going on.
Two weeks ago, the media started to share fears and speculations how it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing deaths here in the US. And we started to see a lot of major corporations start canceling their corporate events, retreats, and everything started to feel like it was really on a true lockdown.
Cruises started to offer huge discounts because sales were down worse than ever.
Airlines are seeing low numbers. Stocks started to slip. Big corporations started to lose a lot of money.
And this all happened at the same time as the peak of political uncertainty with the end of the impeachment proceedings and the democratic race heading into Super Tuesday.
Coronavirus spreading widely around the world with the new hotspot in the US is 30 minutes from my house, political uncertainty with a Presidential election cycle, and stock markets being volatile.
Push your ego to the side and let’s have an open chat about it. The effect is going to be different for all of us depending on what you do for a living, who you serve, what market you work in, and where your ideal clients live. There’s so many variables here. Like anything, it’s not black & white.
Let’s really have an open chat about it. We really can help each other when we join together as a community that cares.
Join me in my FREE Facebook community where we are talking about it there. Just go to www.Facebook.com/groups/rockstargrowth.
See you there.
PS, no joke – right when was about to hit publish, the death count in the entire US is now 6. And all of those are right here in Western Washington.
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