Julia Newman relies on her creativity and flexibility in a changing landscape
By Shanee Edwards
Every small business owner knows adapting to changes in the marketplace is the key to a thriving business. So when interior designer Julia Newman found herself running her full-service design firm Julia Adele Design during a pandemic, she devised a new strategy: “Hope for the best, plan for the worst.”
Some changes to Newman’s work were obvious like doing more virtual design and taking phone calls instead of meeting clients in person. But still, she says, “It’s definitely been challenging because there’s no precedent for this. I’ve really tried to balance keeping the business going but doing it safely.”
On the upside, she’s been able to work with clients who live out of state by designing in the virtual realm. “It’s less challenging to work on a house in Arizona than having to travel back and forth,” she says.
The downside to working in the time of COVID-19 has been not having the human connection she thrives on when working with people in their homes or offices. But the challenges don’t end there.
“I’ve also had to get more creative with marketing, posting on social media and reaching out to past clients,” says Newman, who usually gets clients by networking with people in person.
If Newman must physically see a client, “We both wear masks. If I have workmen in there, it has to be contained and they have their temperatures taken. But I don’t foresee doing a lot of in-person meetings,” she says.
Business-minded, with a positive attitude, she says her experience as a female business owner has helped her pivot during this difficult time.
“I think if you’re a woman in a position of power and you own a business, you’re pretty resourceful to begin with. You have to fight for what you want. Women learn to balance better, so it’s definitely made me more adaptable,” Newman says.
One thing that’s really helped her keep going is not having a huge overhead. She works out of her home, so that’s one thing that’s remained the same. But she says it’s important not to lose focus on your work during this strange time.
“When you start a business, it’s your baby and you don’t want anything to happen to it. At the same time, I remind myself daily, everyone is going through this and you just have to roll with the punches.”
Newman shares this advice for other business owners trying to pivot during the pandemic: “Get creative. Be flexible and don’t get down on yourself. When business is slow, we’re used to asking ourselves ‘What am I doing wrong? What do I need to be able to do?’ That’s not the case now. It doesn’t mean anyone did anything wrong. It doesn’t mean you should be doing anything differently, it’s just the times are different. Hopefully things will get back to business as usual but in the meantime, try to see the positives that may come out of this, maybe you take your business in a different direction and you end up enjoying it more,” she says.
For more info about her business, visit juliaadeledesign.com.