Pixie Dust & Profits is a podcast for small business owners who love Disney and want to sprinkle some of that magic onto their own businesses. Join your host, Nicole Boucher and Yasmine Spencer as they explore the mouse’s $12.6 billion operation and break down exactly how you can apply these big scale concepts to your own business.
Hey everyone, welcome to this week’s episode of Pixie Dust & Profits. Today, we’re talking a little bit about balance and finding focus in your day as the world has changed around us during the Coronavirus pandemic, you know, we are about five weeks in maybe six weeks in for some of us to the self quarantining. And at this point, things kind of feel more routine, or you might feel a little bit Groundhog’s day ish, if you’re like me right now. And so we thought this episode would be a good way to S to remind you of your goals and moving forward and how you can do that with reduced time with trying to balance all the different roles you find yourself in right now. And so we just wanted to share a little bit about like some history of Disney going through heart events what’s going on right now, and a couple of tips to help you find some focus again, maybe.
So our journey really starts in 2004, which is a long time ago, even though 2004 seems like the future to me when I say it out loud. These were the days where Michael Eisner was the CEO of Disney. And at the time it was just a few years after nine 11 Disney was reduced capacity on their hotel, stays the parks, people weren’t flying, they weren’t visiting. They were in a huge recession. They weren’t spending money. They had plans to make the pop century resort even bigger, and they abandoned it. There were abandoned buildings just sitting there that they decided not to create because nobody was coming to the parks. And while that was going on, does he had their animated films coming out? They weren’t doing great. Lilo and stitch emperor’s new groove, hunchback of Notre Dom Hercules. Those are all in films that you probably know the name of, but they were relatively speaking compared to the Lion King and beauty and the beast Aladdin.
They just, they just weren’t to that quality level. They didn’t perform as well in the box office. They were kind of flanking there and they were surviving through Pixar, which at the time was an Apple company. And so Pixar had toy story and cars and all of these things that was really reviving the Disney brand. So on top of reduced attendance at the parks, their films were doing so great. And there was a hostile takeover trying to take the company over. They, they managed to avoid that. But there’s just like bad feelings and bad tastes left all around. And finally, in 2000 and Michael Eisner was, you know, respectfully told to vacate his position and they didn’t refill it for a while. And it was actually a really long process for them to approve Bob biker to take his place. And Bob Iger recently retired and Yasmin, we’ll talk about that a little bit more, but the reason I’m sharing this as, because, you know, we’re in the middle of this right now, and it might feel like, when is this going to end?
Is there another side to this? I can’t see the other side to it and what’s going to happen and struggles have happened in the past and we’ve gotten past them. I think right now we are, as a community are focusing on the we, and we’re trying our best to get back to some sort of normalcy in the safest way possible. And so that does mean normals need to shift for a little bit. So hopefully in the rest of this episode, we can share some ways to bring about a normal that still focuses on growing your business and, you know, trying to get some profit coming in.
So let’s fast forward to today. We all know that Bob Iger had retired from his role as CEO, as Nicole mentioned. And Bob Chopek, who was responsible for the theme park division has stepped into the CEO role and has taken over. I mean, Nicole and I were devastated that Bob Iger was leaving us because, you know, we have such high regard for him and, you know, Bob, Chopek had some pretty big shoes to fill, but it looks like Uyghurs retirement plan isn’t necessarily going, according to what he had hoped. He spearheaded the launch of Disney Shanghai. He has really close relations with the Chinese and they thought maybe he had caught wind of what was happening and note out of there. So he wouldn’t have to deal with everything that’s going on right now. But according to his New York Times interview that happened earlier this month, there is no more to it than meets the eye.
You know, he had launched a successful book. His masterclass was going really well. I mean, those are two things that Nicole and I just like consumed on to retire like four times before. And you know, it was just, it was time and it just happened to coincide with the global pandemic and now he’s being pulled back into it. And really it’s been put upon him as like the chairman of the board. He’s been tasked with steering the ship that’s floating around in a sea with no North star to try to help Disney survive this pandemic. They took out a $6 billion loan recently to help them stay afloat. And we think companies like Disney or like unsinkable, but the reality is, is that a lot of like operations are no different from small businesses in the sense that sometimes they need someone to throw them a life vest, to help them stay afloat.
And with the recent acquisitions, they’ve had their cash availability is down. They might have a lot of value in the market, but value doesn’t mean cash. And so, you know, they paid their employees for a month and a half when the parks were closed and they had no revenue coming in from those parks. And even now with the employees furloughed, they’re still paying the employee share of the health insurance benefits. And so they have money coming out in all these ways. They have duties to pay bonuses, to share holders that it was contractually obligated. So they have to get that money out, even though they might not want to be spending any money in that realm right now. So, you know, they have these things going on that they can’t avoid. And, you know, they’re, they’re a small business on a really big scale. So they have the same issue as we kind of have with cashflow people, canceling events. They’re kind of taking it on a week by week basis. It seems like
Same with a lot of us even their movie division, which is completely separate from the theme parks. A lot of these premiers have been pushed back and put on hold the jungle cruise movie with the rock. I mean, one of my favorite rides, I was actually looking forward to seeing that they pushed back Milan and who knows what other productions have just had to be put on freeze. So Disney can’t work through them. And again, that’s more delayed revenue because if they’re not working on those projects, they’re not going to be launched on schedule, which means the money’s not going to be coming in. So how do you balance chaos? How do you survive all this? Well, Nicole and I thought this week, we would pull a little bit from some of our own experiences and talk to you about how we’re trying to manage our little ship and keep it afloat. And Nicole, you wanna start us off.
Yeah, sure. So I’ve always tried to say that you can like pick three, you know, mom, wife business, owner fitness, like of all those categories. You can only like pick two at a time to really focus on. And then the third one is kind of half focused on. And so this has been definitely a struggle to feel like I’m divided in like five different ways. So, you know, right now I’m, I’m a mom, I have a kindergartener. And so I’m also a teacher right now. And kindergarten is definitely an interesting age. I don’t want to say it’s better or worse than homeschooling any other age, but they definitely need you to sit by their side while they’re doing their work. Fortunately our school department has been really great about providing support and not requiring live calls, which I can feel would be very difficult for us.
If you live calls, we’ve done, he just has so much energy. He’s five. So he can’t sit still for that or pay attention to it. And it’s very distracting for him to see all these faces and all of that. So being a teacher is a significant portion of my day. Right now it’s about two and a half hours of my day being a business owner, trying to take care of myself. You know, I bake sugar cookies last week and I ate more than I should have and you know, felt bad about it afterward, but coping mechanisms, sorry. So balancing all of these things, it’s definitely been tough. And I think the biggest thing, like where we are going to give some tips to everyone is just having a support system, even if it’s virtual being able to shift things and be flexible.
I mean, that’s why we are small business owners. I feel very fortunate in many regards that I already worked from home. So I already had a pretty stable routine to my day. Whereas my husband who did not work from home and is now expected to work from home has had, we don’t have a desk set up for him. He’s been having like ergonomic issues. We had to buy another monitor just to get them set up to be able to work, but he’s not comfortably working. And he hates how he feels a little less a little less productive than he would at the office. But he also now has to balance that with the interruptions of having a child at home and knowing when to turn things off, because it’s so easy to just continue working because your work is right there in front of you.
So I definitely feel like having that experience of having worked from home for four or five years now that at least I don’t also have to deal with learning a new way to work. So I’ll share some strategies later about how I’m trying to balance my day, but I definitely take it a day at a time. And the very beginning I could barely see a few hours into the future and I’m the type of person who always is seeing the future before the present. And so that’s definitely been a struggle for me to like forego some big things that we had in the works to just focus on the here and now
I know exactly what you mean. Like I like to think of myself again, also someone who likes to plan things in the future. I always need a plan. And I say that like, I’m a good person to go to Disney with because I like to plan things out, but I’m flexible and I can pivot. And lately there’s been a lot more pivoting going on. So I’m so much Nicola. I work from home. I I’ve been doing it for like six years now. I think I have my routine. I know or I’d like to claim that I know how to divide, you know, home and the workplace, having things like a separate office helps, but not everyone has that luxury right now when you, you know, are being forced to create a home office in a space that doesn’t have a home office set up. And
That’s probably my biggest struggle with the homeschool stuff. Our living room is like half living room have teacher headquarters and with like sight words taped to the wall and we have very, very fortunately we had like an easel chalkboard thing. So that’s like part of our classroom set up. So that’s, it’s definitely like taken over the physical space, which for me, when my physical space feels off, like every facet of life feels off,
It’s hard to focus too. Right. and like you described Nicole, it’s like, it’s one of those situations where these spaces that typically are like that we go to outside of the home, you can’t really leave them. Like you can’t leave the classroom when you’re trying to like, watch a movie with your kid. Right. You can’t enjoy dinner when the dining table is also kind of your desk. It makes it really difficult. And like my
Husband slash Lego station.
Yeah. Or like, you know your puzzle table for some families, I hear like puzzles are flying off the shelves. Cause that’s like the thing to do these days for my husband and I, we have a baby at home, no longer newborn almost five months old. Wow. Time flies. And we’ve sort of been in this routine where, since he’s on paternity leave, he stays home all day and helps watch our daughter while I work. But we’ve had this system where we trade things off in shifts. So, you know, he’ll take her for four hours, I’ll take her for four hours. And that gives us enough time to sort of take a break and having these like blocks of focused time. But of course it doesn’t always work out that way. Right. as much as you can plan plan plan sometimes I have urgent calls with clients because of everything shifting to plan out what we’re going to do in the next couple of weeks to bring in revenue. Sometimes, you know, we want family wants to FaceTime. That’s something that we’re experiencing a lot more. And I mean, I love that. I love being able to like see family members and stuff, but now on top of like business meetings and
Yeah, I mean, balancing the schedule has been really tough and I mean, my husband is on conference calls for most of his days. And so a lot of the heavy homeschooling stuff falls on me and dad gets to handle like recess or create time. Cause those are a little more flexible. And there have definitely been moments where my child has been jumping on the bed in the spare room where my husband is working. And as soon as my husband queues up his mic to talk to his CEO my kid will yell out something like, did you know that chickens are actually dinosaurs? And everyone laughs, but like that’s the reality right now. And you know, on top of having to schedule between his calls, I have calls to, I’ve worked toward reducing those over time because I don’t love meetings.
I like to be productive. And if I can have a super short brief in the morning with the client, then that’s enough to keep going, but some of them have bigger teams and we do need meetings. So I try to work my meetings around his meetings. And then on top of that, we’ve got family trying to FaceTime, which is amazing that it’s available to us, but hard to schedule. And we also have, you know, luckily my kid’s teacher pre-records like any lessons that we need to do, but there’s also like class play dates, especially in the beginning, we had a lot of like one-on-one class play dates at like at one o’clock we’ll be here. So I had to make another for my five-year-old. So I could understand in context of everything going on, where he was supposed to be, you know, karate went virtual and there were some things that had to give.
And I think this is kind of getting into like the tips that we wanted to talk about. You know, giving yourself grace and permission to let some things go. My son was in an afterschool program that involved martial arts and, you know, that was just a piece of it. They also had a lot of other things going on in the program, but so they’ve tried to go virtual and he just, he just can’t engage virtually to do that. Like he still would love to get his tips on his belt and everything, but every time we’ve tried the virtual class that you’re doing phenomenal with it, but it’s just not for him. And he can’t look at that little screen and see what they’re doing and try to replicate it. And he gets frustrated and then he doesn’t want to be on camera because he gets self-conscious. And so then there’s a lot of like feelings and talk that have to happen. And that’s a huge disruption to like having to go from that role of mom teachers’ support teaching him resiliency and self confidence to you know, jumping on a conference call with a client and trying to remember what we’re supposed to talk about. So different headsets.
Yeah. Like you can’t control everything right now and that’s okay because you know, I’m sure. Yeah.
And you’re gonna survive and you know, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be thriving.
Yeah. And like, I’m sure, like, you know, we look on Instagram and we see people are like making sourdough bread and you know, taking up like hobbies and stuff. And you think like, well, I can’t do that right now because of everything going on and that’s okay. Not everyone has the same level of, you know, commitments and like things on their shoulders right now. Some people, you know, because they are off from their jobs right now, they physically can’t go in and they don’t have work that they can take home with them. So maybe they do have more time to like spend with their kids. And again, that’s also okay, give yourself some grace just know that, you know, this is not the time to have to worry about being perfect. If I’ve been seeing this like meme go around where like, you know, if you don’t come out of this pandemic with a new side hustle, a new skill, or like having like lost 20 pounds, like that’s fine. That’s totally okay. You do you and just focus on the things that you need to do to, like Nicole said survive
And the extending this graze, I’ve mentioned this on my own brand a few times in the last few weeks, but like extend that grace to your team. If you have one, even if you have, you know, just a virtual assistant who does like five hours a month with you or something like that you know, team members that might not even be on a payroll, like we usually have business besties, we talked to you like, can you remember to extend that grace to them too? Because especially for us back office people, we are not usually the front forward face of a or anything we’re in the back office, getting things done and making sure things happen. And you know, with this going on, a lot of clients have wanted to pivot to cancel some plans, move forward with others, get things done faster. And so, you know, we suddenly as homeschooling teachers and trying to balance all this life stuff, cooking dinner 700 times in the month of April we’re also trying to get things done faster for our clients and like competing like demands on our time for all that we have less time than ever to work and more demands than usual.
So extend that grace to your team too, knowing that like, if you can’t necessarily get a lot of things done and you know, your team members have kids at home, especially extended to them. And even if they don’t have kids at home. Cause we, the person who helps us with the podcast, Kayla we’ve mentioned her a couple of times, she, she doesn’t have children, but this affects everyone in so many different ways. And I would never expect her to be able to get things done for us quickly just because she doesn’t have those other demands going on. She has her own life. She’s living in dealing with it too. My brother doesn’t have any children and you know, he calls to FaceTime with his nephew all the time. And you know, he talks about how he’s kind of losing his mind because there’s only, only so many options you can have and to go so much time without talking to other people in person, it just goes so against the nature of what human beings are. We are a community people.
Yeah. And during this time as like difficult as it can be one thing that might help a little bit more is trying to implement some structure. And I know you’re like Yasmin, I’ve been trying to do that. That’s such a dumb suggestion, but like seriously, a little bit of structure can help keep you saying, I mean, I talked a little bit about how my husband and I do the four hours on four hours off with our daughter at every night around like six or 7:00 PM, we sort of like sit down for dinner and try to have like an hour an hour and a half to ourselves while our baby is napping. And those things are like so precious because they remind me of the time before, you know, being sheltered in place. And like, Nicole, I remember you had put up like a schedule for your son and you got a little people told you, like, you know, Oh, that’s not going to stick, but it has. Right.
Yeah. So when the schools first announced being closed, they’re like little photos going around of like, here’s how to structure your homeschool day. And I had all of these categories and it was pretty full, but I made one with my child. We sat down together at the wall, we grabbed a white piece of paper and taped it up to the wall. And I said, what do you usually do at school in a day? Because like, well, we start out with the pledge of allegiance and we have morning announcements. And so he kind of told me about his day and was like, okay, what, which of these elements do we need to have in our day? So we wrote this thing, stuck it to the wall and you know, it was very loose. It was just like from nine o’clock to nine 30, we do morning announcements, pledge of allegiance, look at the calendar what the day is and what the weather is.
And then after that we have reading or writing time and then it’s recess. And that could be indoor outdoor. We talked, we wrote down some of the activities that he would do. And then at 11, okay, we’re going to do create time, which is when we do an arts and crafts or we do a music project or like, and music could literally be like turning on YouTube and listen to a couple songs or singing frozen together or something. And then there was a block for lunch and other recess and math slash science time. And so I felt like that was doable. It shows him visually on the wall what’s coming next. And it told me what I needed to do. Like, it was more for me than for him telling, told me what we needed to do every day. And so people were making comments early on about how like, Oh, by day three, he’ll be watching iPad all day.
You know, what if that’s what you’re doing with your kids, it’s fine. Like if that’s what you need to get work done. I, that my kid has the iPad right now. So I can record this, this lesson or my kid has the iPad right now, so I can record this podcast episode. So we’ve stuck with it. Like, yes, some days we only do 10 minutes in each category and other days we do more, but for the most part, we stuck to it and it has been a lifesaver because we look at it, we know what time it is and he calls us out on it. If we didn’t do it yes. Some days are harder than others. And there are like yesterday, I did not want to cook dinner. I was just, I checked out and fend for yourself. I think I ate a bagel. I don’t even remember. And that’s allowed. Okay. Yeah. It’s okay. So like, if you’re struggling with a routine, like that’s not your thing, you’re not a type a person. And like, you can’t think of it. Just think about things in terms of buckets. Like, what do you need to do in a day? Like one of our buckets is about cleaning the house and that’s all of us dropping what we’re doing to do the dishes, sweep the floor. That’s a life skill. Okay. He’s learning a life skill.
So speaking of like doing like one thing Nicole, you recently also talked about just like revisiting goals, right? Like, you know, at the beginning of the year we all sort of set out what we wanted to achieve. We had our annual plan in place and of course this probably up-ended, everyone’s annual planning. If it hasn’t appended yours, I applaud you. Maybe you make toilet paper and you know, if you do, you probably had your plans up into, cause you have to like ramp up manufacturing or something like that. But why don’t we talk about goals and revisiting them, Nicole.
Yeah. So I just think that we’ve gotten to maybe a place of maybe complacency or in that like six weeks in and you know, things start being like, is it really bad to go outside? Maybe I should take that trip to target or, or whatever it may be. You know, even myself, you can get pretty lax about it around now. And so I just wanted to stop and remind myself of like what I set out to do this year and know I might not have the time or as much time to get it done. I went back and it just opened up like those goals and things. I wrote those ideas I wrote in January. I don’t think it wasn’t January 1st. It was like the end of January. You don’t have to be all planned out for the new year’s day.
But I went back and just read through it and saw like, Oh, these are the podcast episodes we had planned. I’d love to still talk about that. Even though it’s not about coronavirus, we could still factor in some of the things happening today with that lesson. We wanted to teach everyone or, you know, I wanted to do that special project. We’ve been hinting at forever that has kind of gone off the rails a little bit just because of our time commitment. So it’s like, what one thing can we do to move that forward? And so the first thing was looking at it again, reminding myself that it exists reminding myself that there was a time before this and that there will be a time after this. So go back to those goals, maybe just reading them, it will be a good reminder for you. And maybe you’ll be inspired to jump in and do one, do one thing, do the next right thing for that goal. So yeah, I really encourage you to just go back and look at them.
One, this will be a short episode and I think it’s now a little longer than that. So thank you for bearing with us. Just to recap, the things that we discuss, like in order to help you survive this quarantine, give yourself some grace, you can’t control everything. And remember extending that same grace to everyone else, try to implement some structure. If that’s what works for you. Even if it’s just like one thing a day, like everyone trapping what they’re doing to help clean the house, you know, to maintain some order to your existence. And then finally go back to your goals. Everyone has set out something for this year. Everyone had a specific thing they want to achieve. Maybe this was going to be your best year yet. And you feel like this pandemic has squash that goal. You still have till the end of the year to like achieve those goals, but just think about one thing that you can do to help move your business forward and, you know, help you take some of the back control.
Awesome. Well, thank you guys for joining us for today. We’re wishing you the best and we’d love to hear from you. So send us a DM on Instagram @pixiedustandprofits and let us know what you’re thinking about and how things are going.
All right. So @pixiedustandprofits on Instagram and we’ll see you real soon. Bye guys.