A creative entrepreneur’s pandemic journey: an illustrated tale

2020 Story

(inspired by Laura Numeroff, one of my favorite children’s book authors; illustrations by yours truly)

If you give a creative entrepreneur a moment—say, a few months of no travel and reduced client demand due to a global pandemic—she’s going to get an idea. Maybe even a bunch of ideas, thanks to her relentlessly creative partner-in-brainstorming.

Let’s convert all our in-person workshops to virtual!
Let’s beef up our online school!
Let’s do a series of video courses!
Let’s create even shorter videos to share on social media!
Let’s start a podcast!

As these ideas take shape, the entrepreneur will need to make some investments.

She’ll start with a better microphone.

Shopping online, she’ll conclude that everyone is upgrading their mics. She’ll take what’s available—an inexpensive lav with a super-long USB cord. It will improve her audio, big-time. In fact, she’ll sound better than she looks.

So, back online she’ll go, hunting for a webcam.

She’ll find that the same people buying mics are also hoarding cameras, so inventories are low and prices are inflated. But at last she’ll find a reputable model that can ship within a week.

While she waits for the webcam, she’ll get her hands on a cool video presentation app.

She’ll become a beta user, practicing so she can create both recorded and real-time video presentations. She’ll find that the tool works pretty well—and even better when the fancy webcam arrives.

But to get the most out of the software, she’ll want a green screen.

When the Kelly-green fabric panel arrives, she’ll stretch it over her office wall, turn on the camera and the software … and be disappointed. A few unfortunate shadows are ruining the effect.

To get rid of the shadows, she’ll need some lighting.

She’ll order two little LED lights, position them as instructed, and find that she is beautifully lit … but the green screen still has some glitches.

So, she’ll return the screen. She’ll tidy her bookshelves and aim for a look worthy of 10/10 from Room Rater and learn to live with the halo that wiggles around her silhouette as the software tries to simulate the green screen effect.

But the more she experiments, the more she’ll want that green screen. She’ll do a little more research and conclude that maybe the problem was the hue. The best green, perhaps, is not Kelly, but lime.

So, she’ll order a set of lime-green bed sheets.

While she waits for the sheets to arrive, her business will experience a little surge. She’ll fixate less on the makeshift studio and more on helping clients. The new equipment will become part of her daily routine.

One day, a collaborator will ask where she got a mic with such a long cord. Then a client will note the clarity of her video feed. And everyone will be curious about the virtual presentation software.

And when the creative entrepreneur reflects on this string of events, she’ll realize that although her to-do list of big ideas is still unfinished, she’s made progress. She’ll take a moment to appreciate that she’s done more than spend money on A/V equipment. She’s generated ideas and taken meaningful steps to pursue them.

Plotting your next step can be stressful. One step often necessitates another. But you’re moving. Looking back on the past few months, what positive steps have you taken? Take a moment to appreciate your progress. Keep coming up with ideas and keep stepping toward them. You got this.

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