Calgary entrepreneur says COVID-19 pandemic perfect time to grow business and self

Like so many others, the salon Tania Mathews worked in was forced to close its doors when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Calgary.

“So I got laid off during the shutdown,” said Mathews, who has been a hairstylist for 30 years.

For a while, Mathews did some charitable work, sewing scrub bags for a local seniors health-care centre, but when it was time to get cutting again, she didn’t feel comfortable going back to work in a busy salon.

She figured there were likely others who felt the same, so that’s when she decided to take her skills on the road.

Running with Scissors, a mobile hair-cutting service, was born and Mathews has, well, been running with it.

“I just thought if I went to them (clients), it would just be easier for everybody,” she said. “It’s more comfortable. I’m on time, so people aren’t wondering, ‘Oh, when am I going to get in?’ I think it’s just worked out really well.”

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Abiding by an unwritten rule that stylists don’t take clients with them when they leave a salon, Mathews started from scratch and admits she was “terrified.”

According to the I Am Worth it Project founder Tammy Sherger, taking that first step is always the hardest. She says for most who have either lost their job or are trying to keep their business afloat, however, the pandemic has already forced them to take it.

“Usually when we’re making a conscious change, we’re choosing to step outside our comfort zone,” said Sherger.

“Right now, because we didn’t really make that choice, we’re experiencing something that we didn’t ask for. But what that really means is that’s opportunity, because you’re already there.”

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Sherger believes the pandemic has presented many with the catalyst to make a change in their current role, their business or their lives.

“Most of us have to face a loss, a health crisis before we really look at our lives and say, ‘Is this all there is?’” said Sherger. “But you already have that happening, the choice is yours.”

Renee Baratelli wanted to reinvent both her massage therapy business Massage Just 4U and herself while she was preparing to reopen.

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“I wasn’t chasing business, I wasn’t going after business, I was waiting for it to come to me,” said Baratelli, who is a registered massage therapist. “So crushing those beliefs, knowing that I could be worth a lot more than I am or was charging at the time before COVID(-19) and being able to incorporate all of my skill set into being worthy of that.”

Baratelli says her business has grown since reopening thanks to Sherger’s help and guidance.

“Business is busy. It’s good. It’s improving. I’m gaining new people all the time,” she said.

Sherger says now is the time for everyone to pursue their passion and follow their dreams.

“Why not take this opportunity to go after what you dream about?” asked Sherger. “You’re outside that comfort zone [so] take advantage of it now, because there is so much more opportunity than you may see.”

Sherger offers three tips to help anyone thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic, whether that means reinventing yourself or your business, the way you do business, making a career change or advancing yourself within your current job.

To start, Sherger suggests if you’ve been overwhelmed by the situation created by the pandemic that you clear your thoughts by putting pen to paper.

“Start writing down whatever’s in your head,” she said. “Is it a to do? Is it a worry? Is it a dream? Take it out so you can clear your mind.”

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Next, Sherger says to create a to-do list everyday with no more than three things you want to accomplish.

“This is not about big things, even if it’s, ‘I’ve got to brush my hair or I want to go for coffee with a friend,’” she said. “You want to do this not because it’ll improve productivity — which it will — but it creates a sense of accomplishment every day.”

Sherger says that sense of accomplishment will help create forward momentum.

Finally, she says to use this time to stand apart from the crowd.

“What could you do differently? How could you maybe shift your resume, do something different in your job, give something extra to your client so you can build your business?” asked Sherger.

“It’s time for you to stand out, because you know what? You are outside that comfort zone, so let’s take advantage of it.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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