It’s a tough time for a fledgling entrepreneur

Columnist Cassandra Jean is eager to re-launch her online business. Photo by Cassandra Jean

The year 2020 has had a rough start and I dont think its going to get any better. People are still out and about trying to make ends meet while attempting to follow social distancing requirements. For entrepreneurs who believe word of mouth is the best” advertisement, the coronavirus pandemic has not been kind. You cant be around too many people for fear of catching the COVID-19.

Floridas first stay at home order took effect on April 3. Did people really listen? No!

Now the virus has increased tremendously. Florida now has over 179,000 cases and the number is increasing every day. Miami-Dade has the highest with 40,000 confirmed cases and Lake County with the lowest at 1,508 confirmed cases. With exceedingly high numbers, we now are required in Leon and other counties to wear a mask at all times in public. This may now be the new norm.”

Being an entrepreneur during this time, with an online store, working to re-launch has been difficult. The virus has given me several setbacks. I own a cosmetics and skincare company that caters to the African American community. I handcraft popular cosmetic products like lip-gloss, and hand-make skincare products such as African black soap, body butters, and rose water facial sprays. Lets just say we at ShopBlackIceBeauty” want all of our customers to experience healthy glowing skin and feel a boost in their confidence while either wearing or using our products.

Since COVID-19 broke out, finding specific packaging in PET bottles (a popular bottle type used in personal care products) has been a struggle. The majority of online companies like BerlinPackging has backorders reaching to the end of August. For this matter I had to find bottles I can use in the meantime to package and prepare for my re-launch.

Overseas shipping has been restricted and many packages have been stuck in customs. After waiting about a month, I finally received 1 of 5 packages. Taking pre-cautions with ordering from vendors overseas is very important because you dont want to be exposed to the virus. As always, safety is key.

Finally opening the package, I was highly disappointed. Every bottle was damaged and could not be used. Just imagine working day and night on your business to make sure on launch date you sell out, but find that all of your containers are unusable, and you now have to wait a few more weeks to get a new shipment.

The struggles of an entrepreneur. I already have packages that have been stuck in customs for weeks and now have to push my launch date back. I went from being on the verge of launching a thriving online business to stuck in limbo.

Patience is a virtue” is a quote I now have to live by for the next few weeks. As for other entrepreneurs who are either at a standstill or just getting started, my advice is this: Use this time to make a thorough business plan. Research every aspect of your company. Look into LLCs, trademarks, copyright, website platforms, weekly, monthly, and 1-year goals, and grants. The federal Small Business Administration is giving grants to those who qualify, reaching up to ten thousand dollars. Put the work in now so you can benefit later.