I realised quite quickly after the success of my first business that if I wanted to be able to scale, I was going to have to either clone myself, draft in other family members to take over or change my business model. I opted for a middle ground between the last two recognising that downloadable products needed a place in my business.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to have our general post office collection anymore – despite mutliple products getting lose or broken in transit (thanks DPD /Royal mail . It was more that I realised that beyond the beautiful products we were creating that we had been supporting small business enterprise white label with social media and digital marketing, graphics and I was embarking on taking on a Christmas fair too. There was so much I wanted to do – so many I wanted to help! I had to find away to allow all my multipotentialite passions at once whilst being able to scale my business at the same time.
I had no way of knowing those choices and the subsequent work that came thereafter would put me in one of the most fortunate positions when it came to the Covid-19 pandemic.
I had just had the most amazing challenge week in my free social media support group and I was feeling enlightened, grateful and really happy at the amazing women I have in that space with me. It was close to Jacks birthday – Cart had opened to Audience Attraction and lots of spots had been taken. I probably couldn’t have been more pleased with how life was in that moment.
I started to get concerned however, in a thought I was pushing to the back of my mind, about how the disease was effecting other countries in Europe – Italy in particular. At this stage I was merely hoping the UK would make good choices to protect us. I could not have been prepared for the weeks to come.
Around the 15th My kids showed symptoms of a cold. Although we were uncertain as to if it was Covid, they had temperatures and we decided to keep them off. They are yet to go back at the time I am writing this and even now that feels so surreal that my brain wants, on some level, to reject it. It wasn’t long after this I started receiving messages from pretties asking for support.
Could I quickly show them how to build a website?
Could I teach them how to turn their Facebook page into a shop?
How could they go online?
I felt so grateful as Boris locked down the country that my little studio is in our home. That all my team could perform their work remotely. That my entire business was pretty much already online.
Getting away unscathed
I would love to tell you that I got away unscathed completely – but this would not be the truth. We had clients that were due to re sign contracts who chose not to. We had some clients looking to book on with us who chose not to. I had a waitlist of potential clients whom had decided “the timing isn’t right”. I understood/ understand and despite a couple of small financial losses and the pause of new intake I knew that sometimes scarcity mindset can get us when there isn’t a global emergency – I can hardly blame anyone for being careful and cautious when there is !?!
What happened next though was a thing of graft but beauty. I offered my 121 clients a crisis session – A discussion about where they were at. What is effected, what isn’t what can we perform, what has to go on hold? I found these sessions really therapeutic for me personally! I really enjoyed getting to the bottom of each individual situation and shine some of the many learnings I have had over the years in setting up digital business. I found my expertise in retail were coming in real handy and I am fairly certain I should be an affiliate for Etsy & Shopify!
Beyond this I noticed some of my seasoned regulars in the agency had recognised the potential of getting your online messaging and communication right during this time. Some clients bought bolt-ons and additional support and there was a shift.
Almost like a British stiff upper lip – we wouldn’t be beaten. Changed but not beaten.
The action plan
I did what I could to support my team, I paid the wages, I kept everything ticking over.
I decided to give my newly booked course members an extra 9 days before we began training – In the hope that some small new normality may have evened out and that the situation around us wouldn’t effect their ability to join the live trainings and learn.
I decided my pro members may need additional support too and I offered each one a free 30 mins 121 (none of which were less than an hour haha!) to try and discuss and set up whatever they needed. These were really great sessions – It was a pleasure to do them.
Then I thought about my free group – those who cannot afford to join my courses, membership or to book 121 with me. I chose to do a pay what you can afford model on a ” get your business online” training.
It was three hours of the last 15 years of my professional life – A two hour session quickly turned into three and afterward I felt drained but very happy. The comments that came from the pretties who had donated to that training were so uplifting. I was glad to help. One pretty made £3000 after implementing some of the training and another had managed to earn the money missing from her income that month.
I was one of the fortunate people who could at least keep busy with work. I could continue with my commitments to my clients and I was very grateful because I , like a lot of amazing small businesses , was not eligible for any of the grants or awards given out by the government. You could say thats a shame – I choose to see it as a blessing for me personally. Although I know some pretty amazing tax payers with BIG tax bills who got nothing either and that I felt was a bit unfair.
The social outlook
So what happened on social media during the time of covid (March – June)
- More active users found their way back to dormant accounts.
- More sign ups – especially in older age groups began to surface.
- Facebook took a decent chunk of its work force away from day to day and set up an in built real time live covid resource centre that was/is pretty epic.
- We saw an increase in online streaming, entertainment, digital books and self help sales.
- We had clients who successfully made profitable sales in family downloadable planners and products that serve home schooling.
- We found Opt -ins were converting better than before – especially those that were acknowledging the lockdown.
- We noticed organic engagement took a very general and consistent nose dive across the board ( so don’t feel bad if your insights looked a bit shoddy)
- We saw two camps arise – the “I need to process” and the ” I need to take action”
- A rise in scarcity mindset spread as fast as the virus.
- We saw a lot of entrepreneurs put on “online retreats” full days of support with varied success- all with great intentions and excellent examples of team work and solidarity.
- A lot of content was either drowned by Covid or lifted by it – depending on what your angle was toward it. We saw a similar disruption during Brexit, just not on this scale and not globally!
So how is it now ?
At the time of writing I can confirm that the data we have suggests that things are evening out. Of course we have had so many global hardships and pain. As I write this there are protests for Black lives matter across the country, pain and anger – understandable and necessary anger everywhere. Social media is once again consuming the topics that are on everyone’s lips – as the awareness continues I am certain this will too. It is not something to shy away from. It cannot be denied – I fully support the movement.
My Top Tips
So what can you do to continue to market your business? It seems less important than what is going on right now maybe? I understand.
Now is the time your audience is looking for guidance. No matter what your industry, there will be something that is effected.
- Temperature check your audience – how are they coping?
- Share meaningful and truthful content that relates to what is happening in the world. Right now to ignore it is to pretend that you cannot relate. This is the exact opposite of what you want to achieve.
- Try not to get sucked into anger- balance and kindness goes a long way right now.
- Don’t ditch the entertainment – emotional processing comes in many forms. You don’t know who needed that second of laughter – allow the human spirit to shine through.
- Yes you still need to post , regularly!
- You can sell -after watching my mentor have a 300k launch in May I can politely confirm sales are still occurring!
- Don’t forget to show your face. I am guilty of this also at the moment and I will do better – remember video is king.
My advice now is to make sure that as people come out of this lockdown situation things will change again. Scheduling content right now is difficult. Who knows what other themes may become relevant to talk about next month. The way 2020 is moving is showing us just how quickly things evolve.
When situations evolve at a rate of notts , my main suggestion is to allow yourself ,as a thought leader, time away to process. Don’t hide how you feel – maybe put the highlight reel away and show the daily real a bit more.
This is the time to be kind and show your vulnerable human side – there has never been a time in our lives where we needed to feel that human connection online. Relatability, kindness and care is everything right now and it’s not just good for your socials but it will be good for your soul too.
I have never been prouder to be in such blessed company the way I am now. I am grateful for the female entrepreneurial company I now keep too – I have watched you support and raise and lift. I have friends who jumped on straight away to help me with a community group for my local area. I have seen a solidarity in the people around me and it is beautiful. Its our job now to continue the ripple of those positive effects across our platforms in the best way we can. I am sending best wishes to you all. Let this be something that we reflect on with grace in the future for the kind choices we made now, and the brave and bold ones too.