Any time one’s out of work, stress, and sadness—even depression—can set in. And since COVID? This time has undoubtedly created extraordinary stressors, thanks to the unusual ” -some say once-in-a-century – “challenges. The Pew Research Center’s mid-March survey found nearly one-third of those suffering from psychological issues including depression and anxiety were those who’d already lost jobs or income. 1
Retail, for example, is mostly shut down; some stores have folded forever. What does that do to executives in the mid-to-upper ranks of retail who were thinking of starting their book, or were already in the first developmental stages? When they don’t have income, you don’t have book clients.
Here comes Demon Depression
Losing income can initiate a downward spiral of lost confidence and depression. But experts agree there are different ways to define depression.
“Depression… is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act.” 2
“I see depression as when you’re not functioning as well as you could be. You’re not hitting on all cylinders,” says Rick Hirsch, LSW, a long-established mental health professional in Pennsylvania.
California mental health pro Vicenza Baldino, LMFT, says these kinds of challenges have exploded since #BlackLivesMatter arose. “Some of my clients that are already depressed [have] gone into such a deep sense of despair. It’s as if they are in bereavement, as if they knew these people, because it’s affecting their community so greatly.”
Facing tricky challenges
Outstanding challenges now face any small business. One May news feature noted, “…economists project that more than 100,000 small businesses have shut permanently since the pandemic escalated in March….” 3
That probably doesn’t include those of us who are truly small, i.e., “me, myself, and I” operations. So, how do you proceed when you’re a ghostwriter and solopreneur?
Baldino says that even when you know, “I’m a really good ghostwriter,” it’s important to remember that disheartening news isn’t so unusual in this field. A client hates the first draft. Or you provided a potential client with a manuscript assessment, but then they say the heck with it.
Normally, this would be a straight-forward process you could manage. But when times are tough and everything matters so much, it’s easy to lose self-confidence, to withdraw in fear of rejection.
“… Can your personality tolerate the [many] disappointments before the successes?” asks Baldino. She advises ghostwriters to ask themselves the same questions any other entrepreneur needs to ask. “What tools do [you] have to keep bouncing back? What keeps [you] believing in [yourself]?”
“Why would they chat with me?”
It’s never too late to analyze your business challenges. Especially now, COVID’s impact is pushing us to re-examine, re-invent, and re-connect. An objective, experienced, opinion can significantly enhance your self-evaluation.
“I would try to connect with someone that I’ve found inspiring,” says Hirsch. “Not just with possible work that they’ve done in the past, but… somebody that you can relate to and is generally a positive kind of person.”
So many fear their desired mentor will be dismissive, labeling their questions as “irrelevant,” “silly,” or some other demeaning adjective. “I haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t enjoy having someone pick their brain and get that sense that someone looks up to them,” says Hirsch. (He laughs because his reputation of “knowing so much” is what brings new patients to his door.) “If someone feels that you’re sincerely interested in their work and what they do, they’ll talk your ear off,” he adds.
And he encourages an honest approach. “[The] key… is, you have to be sincere about it. And as long as someone…[conveys] the sense that they admire you (and people can pick up on that) they generally will spend time with you.”
Looking beyond the opinions of others
Baldino reminds folks that “success” isn’t always about how much everyone else approves (likes, applauds, enjoys) of what we do.
“Somebody [can] invest in [a new skill, a new art form, a new exercise program], not for the outcome, but for the process,” says Baldino. “[Success can be] the journey of learning something then saying, “Hey, you know, I do have this skill. Maybe it’s ____.” Then you fill in the blank: “My skill is marketable/ fulfilling/ desirable/ worth sharing/ unique… etc.
Leaders’ insights can provide you with clearer understandings of your targeted accomplishments. “It may mean taking a step backwards before you can build [forward] momentum,” Hirsch acknowledges. But it ultimately provides you with more easily achievable short-term objectives and foresight on long-term goals.
Make sure you find relatively painless modifications you can make to build your ghostwriting business. That way, whatever challenges you face, you can pretty much maintain your forward momentum.
While you’re exploring new options or outlets, you can also be a leader by encouraging others to explore the ghostwriting skills you already learned! Send them to our Ghostwriter Training site (and our discount!).
And for more encouragement for your own biz, don’t forget to check our other blogs.
1 Pew Research, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/03/30/people-financially-affected-by-covid-19-outbreak-are-experiencing-more-psychological-distress-than-others/
3 “Small business used to define America’s economy. The pandemic could change that forever,” Heather Long, The Washington Post, May 12, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/05/12/small-business-used-define-americas-economy-pandemic-could-end-that-forever/