dealing with a personal crisis in business

Managing a business when life gets in the way

When disaster hits in your personal life you often want to just want work to disappear so you can focus on what is important. This may be fine as an employee who is entitled to personal leave, but as a business owner who has client relationships to maintain and bills to pay you need to manage it delicately, especially if you’re a solo business owner.

I have had to deal with at least 2 situations like this since starting my business and I know I managed it poorly in the past. So I went to my amazing designer friends and asked for advice on how to approach it this time around.

Manage expectations

At first I considered my options, outsource current jobs to take pressure off and not lose momentum, or just let clients know what was going on.

I opted for being authentic, so I just let clients with current active projects know what was going on. Most clients were understanding of the situation.


To avoid the barrage of emails and phone calls I opted to divert my phone to message bank with a message outlining what had happened and when you should expect my return. I also put on an email auto responder with an expected time of return.

Whilst you cannot put a timeline on grief, you need to provide your clients with some indication of when you’ll be back to work. If you don’t feel like you can get back to it, make alternative arrangements as soon as possible.

Tone down the marketing

Friday is the day that I spend working on my business so I often spend the day scheduling all my marketing activity for the week ahead. Normally this works great, and allows me to focus on getting work done during the week, but when I received some sad news early in the week that required me to be with my family, I had to take a look at my marketing schedule.

From my perspective there would be nothing more infuriating than being told your job is delayed to still see marketing activity continuing on, a lot of people don’t realise this is done well in advance.  I spent a few minutes just adjusting the schedule and decided to go offline completely.


The key to staying afloat in a situation like this is good communication. Most people are understanding that family is first, but make sure you keep those lines of communication open and if you can’t deliver then make alternative arrangements.

A super big THANK YOU to all my amazing supportive clients who have been incredibly understanding during this time.

How do you deal when life gets in the way of your business? Leave a comment below.


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