We are all being affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus, whether we are sick or not. For me, it’s sort of business-as-usual (only in the sense that I always work from home), but for many (including some of my clients) this pandemic and the ripple effect it’s caused have thrown “regular” routines into chaos. And though the nation-wide and world-wide economic impact is still unknown, many of us are already feeling the pinch in our wallets because we rely on face-to-face contact for our work, or our clients do.
Well, in the spirit of optimism and “making lemonade” out of a shitty (pardon my French) situation, I say- How can we make the most of this strange time and use this situation as a reason to pivot our businesses towards a more online model, or boost our current online presence?
Priority #1: Stay healthy, calm, optimistic and connected (despite possibly being physically isolated). Go outside, meditate, do yoga (this is my favorite free yoga channel on Youtube!), talk to loved ones frequently, and of course WASH YOUR HANDS! And then, get back to work. . . Here are some suggestions for shifting your business to a more virtual model:
1. Create (or Join) an Online Community
In my last blog post, I talked about Facebook and all of the features you can use to boost your biz, besides the standard posting and commenting. Well, now more than ever, I think Facebook Groups are useful and necessary. When you’re in your account, you’ll see “Explore > Groups” in the left side menu. If you aren’t already familiar with Groups, take some time to browse what Groups already exist that you might want to be a part of. In the past few days, I’ve joined some really cool ones like “Dane County Neighbors Helping Neighbors” and “Viral Music: Because Kindness in Contagious” (supports live musicians who are doing streaming shows). If there is a group of people you’d like to connect with, support, or work with and that group doesn’t exist yet- start it!
Of course, other social media sites are also great for connecting with people, but personally I try to steer away from mindless scrolling at times like this- it can be uplifting, but more likely depressing and/ or overwhelming. Another site I recommend for connecting (specifically with neighbors) is Nextdoor.
If you are a particularly social person and you are used to having regular group meet-ups (book club, networking group, support group, etc.) consider continuing those meetings online. My favorite software for this is Zoom, which is free and you can chat with a group of people via video conferencing.
2. Boost your Business’s Online Presence
Have you been meaning to create a website, re-brand your tired old logo, or amp up your existing website or social media accounts but haven’t had the time/energy/ resources? Well, now is a fantastic time to refocus on your brand’s online presence (or create one)! Obviously, this pandemic is highlighting a shift away from brick-and-mortar businesses to online businesses and virtual services, which is a trend that is only going to become more and more important in the future.
Figuring out who your ideal clients are and where they “hang out” is a great place to start. Check out my blog post Pre-Marketing 101 for some help with that, including a quick little worksheet that will help you hone in on those ideal clients and start creating content for them!
Contact me for a free 15-min. consultation or an in-depth 2 hour consultation to discuss your options for boosting your online presence!
3. Pivot your Business and Create an Online Version
Some people/ businesses have no choice right now but to take to the internet. This might seem daunting, but it is a challenge that I think will lead to a lot of innovation and creative problem solving. My husband, for example, is a musician who mainly makes a living playing live shows. Of course, the music industry is being hit particularly hard by this pandemic, with most venues closing their doors and performers left without any compensation. Josh had a show cancelled last-minute this weekend (and his upcoming 2-week UK tour is unfortunately cancelled for now), so he took to the internet! Instead of playing at a venue in Milwaukee, he spent Saturday night playing in our living room and live-streaming the show on Facebook, with a virtual “tip jar” via Venmo and Paypal (you can still see that show on his FB page). I see a lot of other performers using this method, and it’s a great example of how people are pivoting their business models to adapt to the current climate.
So how can you pivot your business? Maybe you have physical products that you can sell but need to set up an e-commerce website. Or you generally meet with people face-to-face but can now offer virtual consultations via Zoom or Skype. Perhaps now is the time to create that online course that you’ve been thinking about, or open an Etsy shop (in my downtime, I work on my Etsy shop). The possibilities are endless!
Not sure where to start? Need some advice on how to boost your business online?
If you want to talk through all of this and more, consider scheduling an in-depth consultation and audit of your existing online presence with me! We will spend up to 2 hours talking (via Skype, Zoom, Facetime, or phone) about what the bigger picture of your business is and how to take a holistic approach to improving it. What’s currently working and not working? Who are your ideal clients and how do you reach them online? What services can you add or highlight that support your clients online?
We’ll look at existing branding, your website/ web presence, SEO (Google ranking), Social Media, etc. and make a comprehensive plan for how to move forward. I will answer any questions you have and give you honest, useful feedback on building your brand and increasing revenue.
Cost: $150 (but if we decide to move forward with a contracted website, branding or marketing project, this amount will be put towards the final invoice)
Ongoing consulting packages are also available!