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Running an Essential Business with Patrice Banks

Podcast published: October 16, 2020

Running an essential business during COVID-19 presents its own challenges to business owners – especially for brick-and-mortar businesses. We spoke with Patrice Banks, the Chief #sheCANic and Founder of Girls Auto Clinic. Girls Auto Clinic is a full service auto repair shop which caters to women.



How has COVID-19 affected your ability to find skilled mechanics?

  • In March, as COVID-19 lockdown orders were being rolled out, Patrice Banks shut her business (even though Girls Auto Clinic is an essential business) down for a month to give herself time to learn how to keep her staff and customers safe.
  • During lockdowns, some of Patrice’s staff, most of whom are women mechanics, could not come back to work because they had young children at home – and those women were primary care providers for their children.
  • There is a 78,000% shortage of skilled mechanics in Pennsylvania.
  • Patrice has since hired new mechanics, but they lack the experience of her previous staff.

How has having your finances up-to-date made a difference to Girls Auto Clinic?

  • When PPP loans were made available, Patrice was able to submit an application on the very first day because her business financials were very much in order.
  • Patrice secured a PPP loan in April.
  • Patrice was then able to get the Economic Disaster grant funding in May.
  • To get finances organized correctly, Patrice recommended consulting with an accountant to set bank accounts and finance software (like QuickBooks) up correctly.
  • Patrice then allocates up to 3 hours per week to keep an eye on her finances; it does not always take that long.
  • Regularly digging into the business finances will reduce the fear factor many business owners and leaders may experience.

How has your salon been affected by COVID-19?

  • The salon is not an essential business, and so was shut down during the lockdown orders.
  • Patrice had to lay off employees during those lockdowns.
  • Patrice had to figure out how to re-open safely and what new systems were needed to keep everyone safe: new appointment systems, cleaning procedures, and more.
  • Patrice is considering how best to use the salon space in a way that will generate the most money as the salon’s earnings are not what they were before COVID-19.
  • Patrice is trying to figure out what services she can provide to her auto clinic customers once they bring their cars into the repair shop.

What was preparing to re-open an essential business like?

  • It is hard being a small business owner; March was very busy for Patrice and her business before COVID-19 hit.
  • When lockdown orders hit, it gave Patrice a break from all the many tasks of growing her business, including finding investors in the shop.
  • Patrice pivoted to focus her energy and attention keeping her auto clinic in business.
  • There were struggles learning about best safety practices and securing sufficient PPE for her team.
  • After re-opening, coronavirus testing has forced Patrice to run the auto repair shop with lower staff levels.

How have you pivoted to online training and offerings?

  • Patrice was focused on saving her brick-and-mortar repair shop, so transitioning to online offering is proving a real struggle.
  • She now realizes that delivering online training and other services via the internet could be a reliable revenue stream in a COVID-19 economy. Patrice recently hired a digital marketing manager.
  • Patrice is now very excited about creating new revenue streams to keep her business afloat and successful.

Intro: Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Start Local podcast where we help businesses in Chester County in Greater Philadelphia navigate the covid-19 economy. I’m Liam Dempsey, and I’ll be sailing alone as the host today. My co-host Joe Casabona, is stuck in the harbor of technical troubles this morning.

Liam Dempsey: Before we welcome our amazing guest to the show, I want to remind you that you can sign up for our free monthly newsletter where we share the most valuable pieces of information from our conversation and from other important business news for Chester County and the greater Philadelphia area. Head over to [startlocal.co/news] to sign up now. 

Today, I’m super excited to welcome Patrice Banks to the show. Patrice is the CEO and founder of Girls Auto Clinic, a full service auto repair center that caters to women. Patrice, welcome. Good morning.

Patrice Banks: Good morning. Thank you for having me. 

Liam Dempsey: Oh, it’s a pleasure. Thanks for taking the time. I know you’re busy. Before we get into the questions of today, can you tell us who you are and what you do?

Patrice Banks:  Yes. So, my name’s Patrice Banks, and like you mentioned, I’m the CEO, call myself the Chief Mechanic, Girls Auto Clinic. And I’m actually an engineer by training. I went to Lehigh University from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, so right here in Chester County. And I called myself an auto airhead.

I grew up knowing about cars. My dad wasn’t an auto mechanic. In fact, I always felt taken advantage of. I hated my automotive experiences. I thought I needed a guy to help me. And being an engineer, it wasn’t a very empowering position. So I started looking for resources that could help me learn about my car that could make me feel more empowered. 

I was looking for a woman mechanic because I thought I could take my car to her and she’ll take care of it and won’t gouge me or take advantage. And I couldn’t find those resources, and I couldn’t find a woman mechanic. So I decided to go back to school to learn how to work on cars and to create a business that was going to cater to women when it came to their cars. I wanted them to be smart consumers, confident drivers. And so we do things like car care workshops where we teach you how to take care of a car, how to talk to a mechanic, what to do in an emergency. They’re free. We host them every month at the repair center. I opened a full service repair center that caters to women.

We hire women mechanics and there’s a nail salon there to get your nails done while you wait for your car. And a lot of other things. We sell Chicanex swag. It’s what I call my car Savvy ladies,  SHEEX now on our website. 

I wrote a book that was published by Simon Schuster. It’s a car care guide on how to take care of your car. so just a lot of things that we’re doing to get women to understand their cars so they feel more confident. They don’t think they need a guy, right? And they’re empowered to make the right choice with their cars. 

Liam Dempsey: Wow! there is so much there. You are such an engineer. Here’s a problem. I dunno how to fix my car.  I’m gonna go get a get certified, start my own business and show the world that they can do it. Show women that it’s possible. That’s amazing. What a great, great way to start. Thank you for sharing that story. I did not know that in advance this. So, thank you. That’s wonderful. 

Patrice Banks: Yes. Thank you. Yeah. it’s a great story and it’s very inspiring to a lot of young girls and even myself. I’m blown away that I can’t believe I’m doing this. Who would’ve saw that? I would’ve been a mechanic. And you know, 10 years ago I was literally on Facebook saying, my car needs an oil change, but I’m gonna go get a mani-pedi instead. And I did go get a mani-pedi instead. I didn’t get my oil changed. Right. I was making auto airhead moves like that. And it was just, you know, the, how a lot of women think about their cars we’re not, we’re, we don’t take care of them very well and they end up costing us a lot of money. And when I’ve realized like women are the number one customer in the automotive industry, by far, there’s more women drivers now than men across all age groups. Women influence up to 95% of the car buying decisions like this is our heart earned money and we should feel good about these experiences. And that’s when I really just set out to change the automotive industry to really include more women and to pay attention more to their number one customer.

Liam Dempsey: That’s so interesting. You know, I work in, in computers and web and websites and hear a lot in recent years about women in tech and the value that women bring to the tech sector and how as a sector we need to do more to bring more women in and to welcome them. And I wholeheartedly support that. But of course, the auto industry is so tech driven, you know, it’s not just an engine anymore. Right. There’s electronics that are positively Frighteningly advanced in there, and absolutely. So you’re, you’re doing the same thing. You’re bringing women into tech sector in both, in all sorts of ways. That’s really, really cool. That’s really cool. Thank you for that.

So I wanna, I wanna, I wanna direct our attention to really the core of our conversation. That’s, of course about covid 19 and how Girls Auto Click has been doing, dealing with that. And in advance of clicking the record button, you and I had been talking about how your business has been affected by it and how, because of the lockdown and then the slowing of economy. You had to scale back your skilled workforce, your technician workforce, and that how now that it’s opened up a little bit more and people are driving more, while you’re seeing a bit of an uptick, you shared in business levels for the auto shop, you’re struggling with getting qualified.

Technicians in place to work for you and more specifically qualified, skilled women in place. Right. Can you talk about that? 

Patrice Banks: Absolutely. So, when Coronavirus first came around, I was paying attention to it because I was prepared for this to shut my business down.   even as an essential business, we really had no clue what was gonna happen.  as the middle of March started coming and, and you started hearing other cities were shutting non-essential businesses down, we had customers started canceling appointments. And so,  and we didn’t really have a lot of information on like, how To handle this virus and protect yourself and your staff.

So my concern first was the safety of my staff we’re in customer’s cars for a long period of time, touching their keys and a lot of things in their space.  and it’s easily transmittable, like, you know, they didn’t even know for sure at the time if it wasn’t transmittable and surfaces and things like that.

So I had to make sure that we had the proper p p e and safety procedures in place for My staff before we were just still hopping in and out of people’s cars.  and so I decided to shut down so I could get some more research. What should I do if a customer has coronavirus and tells us, or what should I do if one of my staff member gets it right?

I didn’t wanna play that by ear. I wanted to make sure that we had great procedures in place because like I said, I hire women, they have young children.  right. Safety is very important to me and the health of my staff is very important to me. And but when we did shut down, one of my staff members, we lost because they have an issue, an immune issue. And then, like I mentioned, we hire women. Kids are now at home virtually learning. They didn’t have summer camp all summer long. Right. And now women are facing the struggle is how do we get childcare for our kids so we can continue to work full-time? And, and which I understand they had, they were bringing their kids into work if they could,  you know, they had to go down to part-time. 

And that loss, we lost talent in that way because we don’t have people showing up working on cars ’cause they have to be at home taking care of their families, which I totally understand. It’s not like I’m gonna tell them no. You know? So it, it affected us in a way where, you know, the economy slowed down and people aren’t driving as much and customers were canceling appointments, they’re scared to come out to also losing talent.

And now that things are opening back up, right. But schools are still virtually learning and Some of my women’s staff are struggling, so we are looking to bring on,  some talented technicians so we can obviously work on cars. And there’s, there’s this,  issue right now in the automotive industry of having a huge gap in qualified technicians.

There’s a 78000% shortage of auto technicians in Pennsylvania alone. so not looking for the unicorn. That’s hard to find, but it’s also hard to find, right? Just a skilled person in this field. The whole automotive industry is kind of struggling with it. So we were kind of hit hard twice, but, you know, I really believe in what we’re doing. we did bring on some new people. They’re, they’re new, they don’t have as much experience, but we’re working on getting them trained as much as we can. And obviously this is gonna affect my revenue and the amount of money I can bring in, and it does. We’re not making the money that we were pre coronavirus.  but I believe that we will,  and I was able to apply for some of the help that was provided, like the economic disaster loan and the P P P loans.  applied for a ton of grants. Anything I could get my hands on, because I knew that this was gonna hit us hard, even as an essential business.  and so it’s, it’s because of those I am able to stay open. If I didn’t get those, we would’ve been shutdown

Liam Dempsey: Patrice, I’m so glad that you mentioned those. couple of weeks ago when you and I first talked, you had shared Really interesting piece of advice that you put very succinctly around having your finances in order, having, so to speak, your QuickBooks up to date. Talk a little bit about how having all of your QuickBooks, and I don’t know that you said QuickBooks, but having all of your business financials at the ready mm-hmm.

Made it possible for you to not only apply for, to get those grants, because I thought that was a really powerful,  point to share. 

Patrice Banks: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.  when the PP loan first came out, the first day I applied that day, I was ready with my paperwork because I knew that this money was gonna run out, and I was afraid of not being able to get it.

So I wanted to, You know, be able to apply as soon as I could. I was checking websites every day for the economic disaster loan too, and I was able to get in and apply in one day, in a couple of hours by myself without a lot of help because my finances were in order.  I have QuickBooks set up to take care of my finances.

I reconcile my expenses and everything. And so my p and l for 2019 was already completed and organized.  because I stay on top of that, that’s my engineering, you know, brain. I even do my own calculations and excel myself with money,  and projections all the time,  because I’m into those spreadsheets.

But I, you know, I know that a lot of people aren’t, that’s the scary part of the businesses budgets and. Balance sheets, right. And income statements. And they think, oh, it’s math and I won’t get it and I don’t wanna get it. And you, you’ll, you’ll learn the hard way. You will learn the hard way that this is important.

And I understand that there’s a lot of businesses out there that, that the PPP money ran out. They weren’t able to get it because they didn’t have their finances in order. They need to get an accountant in first to help them, right. Or get additional help. So they can apply and get this money and it’s taking longer to get it.

And so having my finances prepared, you know, quite possibly saved my business. ’cause I did get, you know, I got the PP loan in April and I got the economic disaster loan like in May.  and I didn’t have to still be applying now where I know there’s still businesses struggling to get money. So I’m grateful for that.

Liam Dempsey: lemme ask you this. Yeah, no, thank you for sharing that. And let me ask you, so getting finances organized when they’re out of whack is a pretty big task. Yeah. But, but if you’re, if you’re staying on top of it with, for you are, and I appreciate, not every business is the same and their financial arraignments are gonna vary, but what does that look like for you? Is that an hour a week? is that you spend three hours at the end of the month? You know what’s the practical step that somebody needs to take to keep their finances in order once they’ve brought in some help or they’ve worked it out themselves. 

Patrice Banks:  Well, the first thing is just being set up properly, and that’s where I would bring in help. You don’t need help managing your daily finances, but what you need help with is making sure you’re set up properly, so it’s very easy. It will only take you Maybe 10, 15 minutes once a week, you know, maybe an hour right. To go through those if there’s some charges I’m like uncertain about, right. 

But I wouldn’t be that way if I didn’t have, you know, some type of software system like QuickBooks if I didn’t have an accountant in the beginning. Show me how to set this up.  you know, multiple accounts as a business person, you know, you have several accounts, money coming in from several accounts, cash, and even my stuff’s not perfect either. Like my accountant’s still looking at things like, this doesn’t balance right. Can you look into this? And I’m, and because I do all of the finances, it may take me a couple of hours. So I actually usually, I try to dedicate one day a week on it for like three hours. And if I have stuff to do, I do it. If I don’t, you know, I work on something else. but I dedicated a ton of time upfront.

Liam Dempsey: yeah, that’s great. 

Patrice Banks: And that’s what’s important is the upfront work to do so you are not spending so much time later or waiting till a crisis when you absolutely need it. ’cause you’re need a loan, right? ’cause maybe you need a small business loan ’cause you’re running outta money. Like this is when you’re gonna suffer big time If you don’t do that upfront work.

Liam Dempsey: And, and I’m not gonna ask you the specifics, but keep those hours that you spent presumably enabled you to get tons of thousands of dollars in loans and grants. 

Patrice Banks:  Absolutely.

Liam Dempsey: And the like. So it was time very well spent, especially since you were able to apply on the first day.


Patrice Banks: Well, and it also really helps you understand your business. I know every single penny that’s coming in and out. Right. And I tell people like, if you are gonna grow, if you wanna grow your business, you have to understand that stuff. And I know it’s the scary stuff, but usually the stuff we’re most afraid of is the stuff we have to do,.we must do for our business.

So it’s getting over that hump of that fear, of looking at those numbers, right? And, and conquering ’em. We’re business, we’re entrepreneurs, right? We’re brave, we’re beasts. We’re out there doing this every day. Don’t let a couple numbers Scare you. You can handle it, you can tackle it, you can get on top of it. But it’s getting rid of that like fear first and then finding, like I said, get a good, a good, a good accountant. My accountant doesn’t do my bookkeeping ’cause I’m kind of cheap. I’m like, I can do this for a couple, you know, in QuickBooks. But as we grow, I’m probably gonna get an accountant to do that because shouldn’t be spending my time as a ceo doing things like that. but that will save me. Absolutely. It’s even without a crisis, right? It helps me understand Where I can cut costs when I’m having a bad month, right. Where I, where I can sh shuffle things around. Right. It’s definitely important to stay, stay on top of those things. 

Liam Dempsey: Agreed. Thank you.  so succinctly input, Patrice, you’ve shared that there’s a salon connected to Girls Auto Clinic. 

Patrice Banks: Yeah.

Liam Dempsey: And the salon is really catering to the women that come through. And inevitably we’ve been hearing from salons and hairdressers and, and barber shops about how devastating cOvid 19 has been For lockdown regions. 

Patrice Banks: Mm-hmm.

Liam Dempsey: Talk about the salon with your, with your auto shop and what that’s been like.

Patrice Banks: Yes. So the salon is not an essential business and they actually had to shut down before the shop did. And we couldn’t reopen until, you know, the state told us we’re not in Philadelphia, we’re in upper derby, so we’re in the county. And they got to open before Philadelphia did with a lot of things.

 so essentially it was just shut down. I had to lay off the staff over there and Think about when this does reopen, what’s gonna be our business model? Because I knew it was gonna have to change. We weren’t gonna be able to have customers wait in the lounge, which we normally do to get customers in. It’s a lot of walk-ins and things. So we were gonna have to put, You know, an appointment scheduling app together on our website and sign up for that and look for ways that we could get customers in, right? This isn’t my core business. It was a part of the repair center, but it’s an important part. Like it’s,  you know, it’s the cherry on top. Women love this idea. I wanna keep it going. I don’t wanna shut it down entirely because of this pandemic. So, It’s not contributing money like we would like it to be.  but we’re working to keep it open,  as much as we can. 

My nail technician isn’t working full-time anymore. She’s down to part-time and that’s affected her. She’s had to get another job, you know, like people are trying to make it work right now. Everyone’s, you know, figuring this out. We don’t really know how long this is gonna last or if we’re gonna go back to the new. To a normal or is it gonna be a new normal? And what does that mean about the salon and how we do things? We’re thinking about possibly using it for other, the space for other things like events and ways that we can pull in some income from it besides just doing the nails. because it’s slowly coming back, right? People don’t come there for the nails. They come there to get their car done.  you know, so we have to, we’ve been marketing and advertising heavy on that side, just to see if we can, you know, keep it alive. And like most businesses are, how do we pivot? What other services or products can we offer right now, especially online. webinars and trainings, and so we’re not focused so much on this one. we’re just trying to keep it alive, right? Until, figure out what…

Liam Dempsey: Yeah, I get that. I mean, you’ve done the hard work. They showed up at the auto clinic, right? They’re now, they’re now a customer. They’re on their property. They trust you with one of the more expensive possessions. Right? And if they trust you with that, well, what else can we genuinely sell you? And I don’t mean that in a mean kind of way, but if we trust us, what’s services can we give you that you like? 

Patrice Banks: What can we provide you? 

Liam Dempsey: Like get where’s the value? Yeah. Yeah, so we made a hundred dollars on the car and we made 15 on, on the nail salon. And I’m making up the numbers, but I get that it, it adds to the bottom line even if it’s not a significant portion.

Patrice Banks: Right. 

Liam Dempsey: And they’re already there. You’ve done the hard work. 

Patrice Banks: Yeah. Well, and, and you know, and nowadays, I know it’s a cliche word, but everything’s now about your experience. Right. People want a good experience and they’re willing to pay to have a great experience. Right. And so that’s what we want people to have. They’re coming to us because they know they’re gonna be comfortable, they’re gonna feel safe, right. In this environment.  right. And they’ll go out of their way. We have customers that drive from two hours away to come to us to get an inspection or something because they know they’re gonna feel good about it. And that’s the goal, right? Is them having a great experience. 

Liam Dempsey: Yeah, I get that. Speaking of feeling safe and a great experience You shared earlier in the show that  the auto clinic is an au an essential business, but that you shut down for a month because none of us have ever been through a pandemic and there’s a lot of learning to be done and, You wanted to keep your team safe, your customers safe, and nobody knew anything about Covid 19, at least from the small business owners Covid who, what? How do you, how do you say that? Right? So talk us, what was that learning curve and process like, and for you, I guess, for your business, but also for you as the c e o, the founder, you know,  your life’s work, and then, This happens. Talk about that. 

Patrice Banks: You know what’s crazy? Is it, it’s you’re, it’s, it is hard being a business owner. Everyone knows that you’re stressed. You have, you’re wearing multiple hats, right?  you’re doing stuff that you have to do that you don’t like. you know, and. I was, I in March. I was really, had a lot going on and this coronavirus stuff happened and it actually kind of slowed down a ton of stuff, which I think may have been necessary. I’m always the one that’s kind of like looking on the brighter side of things and I’m like, Even though we’re struggling right now, it’s slowed down a lot of things for me. So I could focus on the most important areas of my business and we’re trying to grow and get an investment. And I think that that was important. And so,  you know, when it first came, it was almost like a relief when we shut down because I was like, I can breathe. All of my public speaking stuff went away, right? I didn’t have to worry so much about some of the other things.  the only thing I had to worry about is like how to keep my shop open. Everything else that I was doing in terms of marketing and branding and expanding my business disappeared. And I still had these other shop problems, even though I was working on this other stuff. Right?  so I kind of breathed a little bit and was like, okay. But it’s still like, it’s hard work. I’m focusing now just on Girls Auto Clinic to keep it alive, right? 

But it’s helping me do the things that I need to do for my business. And so I really looked at it as a positive. I’m still looking at it as a positive. It’s, it’s getting hard now, right? Because we’re months into this. We were, nobody knew it was how long it was gonna be, you know? And so, it’s being more creative now about how to stay in business, you know?

 and my main concern, like I said, was how do I protect my, my staff? I don’t want them getting sick. I don’t want them to get their kids sick, right? Or our customer gets sick. you know, you don’t know if people are gonna sue you, what’s gonna happen? And, you know, there was also a shortage of PPE. We couldn’t find gloves, right? We couldn’t find masks.  so we had to make sure that we could get access to that and hand sanitizer and all of those things first as well. So, you know, It’s a double-edged sword with this coronavirus thing, you know, it, it kind of helped me really focus on the things I need to focus on, but it just really did take a hit to, for the repair center in terms of just like our, the safety and how much the ladies can work.

And even now, like we’ve had, every time someone gets sick and they’re off, it’s like, take coronavirus test. We gotta wait the results come back, come back in. I literally had a technician off for one week waiting for the coronavirus test to come in. I’m like, let’s go, right? And what if they do have coronavirus? So now we’re three weeks in a row. We’ve had one employee off because they’ve been sick and we had to get a coronavirus test. Right. That is just,  killing me right now. 

Liam Dempsey: Yeah. And as an auto repair shop, it’s all service driven, right? I mean, it’s not like you manufacturing where you can just, the machine runs and it’s just the people running.

Patrice Banks: Yeah. 

Liam Dempsey: And You have to have somebody turn the gear and turn the wrench, and if they’re not there, you can, you drop your productivity. You can only do 10 cars a day. I don’t know how many cars you can do, but that…

Patrice Banks: Exactly. Well, because what ends up happening, we have to call customers, we have to reschedule. Now, we’re not making as much money that day. And it’s just like this domino effect, right? 

Liam Dempsey: Yeah.

Patrice Banks: And then the next week it’s another tech and I’m like, oh my God, we’re never gonna get, we’re never gonna get it together, you know? it’s stressful. I mean, it’s very, very stressful. I can only imagine like what other essential businesses are going through and it’s why they’re all drive and look around everybody’s hiring. It’s hard to find help right now. People are afraid to work, you know, and to get sick and these essential businesses, you know, it’s just, we’re I, when they say we’re all in this together, I do feel like that, especially locally, right?  

Liam Dempsey: Yeah. Sure. Sure.

Patrice Banks: As local businesses, we’re all feeling this, you know, we can all, we can all sympathize and empatize to people ‘cause This is hard. This is a hard time.

Liam Dempsey: It is hard. That is hard. 

Patrice Banks: Cause there’s going to be a lot of businesses that can’t open back up and that’s sad, right? And there’s a possibility to also have occurrence on that too. I mean, this is how it, you know, how it’s happening right now and we’re fighting, to stay alive. Like I said, I’m getting as much money as I can so we can hopefully get out of this and be able to find some new staff to get it together, but, you know, we’ll see. This is the fun part of entrepreneurship, right? Like survival.

Liam Dempsey: It certainly is a survival, yeah. And just in the last few minutes that we have, you mentioned that you’ve been pivoting the auto clinic and that you’ve taken the business in some new ways in addition to keeping the servicing and the inspections and the repairs and the like going online training other online offerings, can you tell us just in a couple of minutes what that’s been like? What are you doing, and how has that happening? 

Patrice Banks:  Yeah. So when everything first happened and we shut down and I told you, remember I had like a breath, I was like, whew. But then of course the breath goes away ’cause everyone’s like, you gotta get online, Patrice. You gotta start doing videos now. This is what, it’s, where it’s at, where it’s at. And I’m kind of, I’m trying to save my brick and mortar shop. I don’t have a lot of time to do these things or think about this thing or even pivot or grow. This is a new business, right? This is a new product. I haven’t really done this before. I’ve done online webinars and stuff, but nothing that I really wanted to make money out of. 

Eventually I did, but like I said, I’m working on a million things and it’s just me. I have no partners, you know, I’ve no investors. It’s all my money. And so it’s a lot. And, so I’m struggling, I guess. I just lost my train of thought because I’m rambling. What was the question one more time?

Liam Dempsey: Yeah. No, you were talking about getting your classes online and giving the services online. 

Patrice Banks: Oh Yeah. The online stuff. yes.

Liam Dempsey: Pulling that all together. 

Patrice Banks: Yes. So I’m realizing now, right? Like, okay. This could be a possibility for us to bring in more money. Right. And who can I bring on there? There’s a lot of people working from home right now that are doing marketing, that are doing video editing. Right. We don’t need to have the perfect videos. We can shoot things with iPhones now. Right. And so I just hired a digital marketing manager that she lost her job during covid and was looking for a job, and so we’re looking into like, how can we get more videos online and possibly bring in this in as a revenue stream. It was something I had thought about, right, but that it wasn’t at the top of my lists of ideas of what to work on because we weren’t like shut down entirely where I had no work and I could focus on my energy on pivoting. I still had to focus on how do I keep my brick and mortar open.

And now I have to like also bring on another new project. So I had to wait till I could hire someone to do those things. And we brought her in this summer. So she’s helping me a lot with getting more online things and that’s gonna be a way that we can just pull in, hopefully. Right. And I’m seeing some really great success stories about putting webinars online. you know, so I’m like, I’m getting excited and like, let’s do that. Maybe this is a way we can, you know, help keep it alive. We had stopped doing workshops. My workshops were really popular that we did every month. We had women coming from around the country and now we’re not doing ’em. So I’m like, yes, there’s definitely opportunities for here and we should, you know, get on it. But again, like I said, How much time can I dedicate to these things without it distracting me from the repair center, which is my baby, right? That’s the thing I need to keep alive. So, it’s that balancing act as an entrepreneur. And I’m, that’s what I hopefully will be able to do a little bit more of as we move forward. Hopefully, we can get the shop where we need it to be, and you’ll see a lot more of my face online. 

Liam Dempsey: Patrice, this is normally the point where I try to share some succinct recaps of what you’ve shared for our audience. But you have covered so much ground. You shared so much valuable information.

Patrice Banks: I talk a lot. 

Liam Dempsey: No. You did a great job. I don’t, that was, this is a compliment, not a way of saying you rambled, but really what it is. Is really my suggestion to the listeners is just go back and listen to this episode again, because Patrice really has shared a lot about organization and management and keeping the business alive,, and trying to split attentions around brick and mortar or the primary revenue machine for the business with auxiliary and ancillary revenue streams. 

Patrice Banks: It’s so important for podcasts like this to have business owners on to be sharing their real stories. Because if you went to my Instagram, you’re gonna see me on Good Morning America. You’re gonna see me talking about my book, you’re gonna see us happy on their working on cars, like everything’s great. Right? And behind the scenes like this is a struggle. Right. It’s hard. And it’s not all smiles and things that you see. It’s important to know that we’re, you know, you’re not the only one going through this. 

And I was having such a hard week last week. And this morning I woke up, and I was reading the news and hearing just about some, like, other businesses that are struggling, I have to remind myself like, Patrice, you’re not a failure. We’re in the middle of a pandemic. There’s other businesses out here struggling. Be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself. You know, this is really important. So, I totally wanted to do something like this ’cause I think sharing these and being vulnerable and sharing these things about my business, which can be hard. Some people don’t want to talk about their failures and they’re losing money. Right. It’s important to hear these types of stories. So thank you for having me on. 

Liam Dempsey: Thank you so much for sharing and for your candidness and your vulnerability. That means a lot both to me. I know it means a lot to Joe, and certainly it’s gonna mean a lot to our audience. 

Patrice Banks: Absolutely.

Liam Dempsey: Before I say goodbye to you, tell folks where they can find you online. Okay. And learn more about you.

Patrice Banks: Yeah, so [girlsautoclinic.com]. I mean, you get everything from the website, from booking an appointment,  to buying the book and any mechanic swag to emailing me about any questions that you may have or other press that you wanna do or workshops. Everything’s on there. And you can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @girlsautoclinic, across the board. We’re here to help you ladies and men. We also have male customers too. We like men and their money. So come, come see us. We’re in Upper Darby, right outside of Philadelphia on Westchester Pi.

Liam Dempsey: And we’ll be sure to include links too to your websites and the other aspects of the show that you mentioned in the show on [startlocal.co].

And as a reminder, folks, don’t forget that you can sign up for the free newsletter, it’s called at [startstartlocal.co/news].

So until the next time. Stay safe out there.

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