So this week, Mortgage Solutions is asking: What business and non-business related skills are you trying out or looking into during lockdown?
Generally, I’m learning to be able to deal with working remotely – having to cope with all the family around and getting knocks at the door when you’re talking to a client.
We’ve always been able to work from home and have done so from time to time but then we had administrators in the office. Now we’re dealing with the logistics of a lot of work at home scenarios such as the internet going down.
There are also a lot of distractions. Whether it’s to do with your own business, family, the media, YouTube – that’s the reality of what we’re going through.
I’ve also been learning about coronavirus – it seems everyone is becoming an expert on the curve, our model versus the German model, the ventilators.
Business-wise I’ve been focusing on analytics. We’ve got a very good CRM system and I’ve been doing a lot more reporting and business planning. Whether that’s looking at cash flow, the fundamentals of our business or what sort of numbers we can expect. We’re doing what we advise our clients to do – to budget.
Our business went through the credit crunch in 2008, and we saw what impact that had on things.
I’ve also been categorising clients into those who are still looking to buy and those who are not so when the market does come back we can communicate accordingly. There’s no point sending out a blanket email about valuations if only a few people are interested.
This is especially important as I’ve also got two camps of clients – those who have been affected and those see this period as a great opportunity to buy a house.
I’ve learnt more about technology and using different ways to communicate with clients with tools such as Zoom.
Because I’ve always been a busy adviser, when my clients’ deals end, I’ve been reliant on them coming back to me. I’ve realised I have to have more systems and controls in place to make sure I get back to them.
I’ve spent a lot of time doing continuing professional development (CPD), I had an exam last week and I have another today. I’m catching up on the compliance side of the business, making sure my systems are robust. If I do it now then it’s done when things are back up and running.
I’ve also been actively speaking to other advisers because I work on my own, so I engage with them to see how they are and if we’re going through the same thing.
I’m keeping up with my Google blogging and encouraging people to contact me. If people search for a mortgage adviser in my area, I should be the first result that comes up. I leave messages to say I’m open for business and ask potential clients to talk to me.
Aside from that, personally I’ve got more into running. I never used to run more than 1 kilometre as going to the gym was part of my routine but now that’s closed. I took up my own personal challenge and first I did a mile, then eventually I got up to ten kilometres. It was a couch to 10k.
Skills we’ve picked up as a family during lockdown are to become more organised and self-reliant.
We’ve always loved to cook. Now that all four of us are having every meal at home, and food shopping is that bit harder, we’ve had to become more organised. Indeed, food has become a bit of an obsession.
Our local butcher is so busy now, you have to order days in advance. At the start of the week we decide on which meat to get for the weekend.
My wife has found a local fishmonger who does the same, so we end up with a great roast and a fish dinner every weekend. The butcher also does great sausages, which our kids love, so recently I made toad-in-the hole for the first time. Definitely a new family favourite.
I’ve been following the Joe Wicks workouts with our eldest most days. It’s blooming hard work if you follow it properly – or as someone remarked, even if you don’t do it properly. I’ve also got into running after I was “persuaded” to train for a 10k in February.
I generally hate running but I have been forced into it for the training and have kept the habit going into lockdown. Before lockdown, I did all my exercise in various gyms, but I’ve since learnt you can work damn hard and keep fit at home, or by just getting out in your trainers.
Great family meals and new ways to exercise – those are the habits we’ll aim to keep going long after lockdown.