Let’s face it – the world has changed – very quickly. It’s a very uncertain time but all that is very clear is that working remotely is suddenly the only option for an enormous amount of people.
In my beautiful Australia I’ve just seen the arts industry lose 14 billion dollars worth of live events – and the creative community needs to pivot online – rapidly.
But what if you don’t know how to switch to an online business model? I wrote this after seeing a lot of creatives and friends panicking because their physical service or shop or offering can no longer support them in this health crisis.
So, if your book launch or comedy festival or other performance or exhibition has been cancelled, if your physical shop has been shut down or is now unavailable, perhaps your 1:1 service or offering can no longer be done in person, or you need to stay at home and look after your kids, follow these steps to get something in place online so you can continue to make some income.
I wanted to make this as simple as possible to help as many people as possible as quickly as possible. You can literally follow the steps in this blog post and set something up in the next 48 hours. Necessity is the mother of invention!
All you need is the internet, a phone or laptop, the ability to google, and the willingness to innovate and reach out to your networks. Those last two steps are key – you will need to be open to innovating and considering a new way of business.
Because – let’s face it, everything is changing right now.
1: Assess your current offering and expertise:
Whether you’re a permaculture gardener or you’re launching a book, perhaps you’re a masseuse or a yoga teacher or a comedian or a piano teacher, ask yourself these 3 questions:
Can this be done online?
Can it be taught online? This is a huge opportunity BTW. A friend suddenly wants her son’s piano lessons to be delivered remotely. We’re all looking for ways to stay fit if we have to be indoors for long periods, home-schooling is suddenly on the table for large amounts of people, and so it goes on…
Can this physical product become a digital product (eg. Photography, book, music, performance, coaching, meditation audio someone could download)?
OR – if you’re a writer or other type of information-gatherer, what’s your passion or area of special knowledge or niche – could you blog about that specific thing? For instance, perhaps you have an incredible amount of specific knowledge of growing herbs in small spaces, or how big business is stepping up in the crisis – could you connect two audiences and send weekly emails or how-tos to share this valuable knowledge?…?
If you don’t work in any of these ways, is there something you are REALLY good at or love that you could share? What do people always compliment you for doing well, or quickly, or knowing a lot about?
Be creative. Now is not the time to let your fears hold you back from trying a new way.
Now outline what that would look like:
5-day livestream on you-tube or facebook…
an e-course on at home permaculture which might be delivered via worksheets and emails…
a video course, live coaching or yoga classes…. Keep it simple!
How much money could you charge to both cover your costs and consider your community? or will you do ‘pay-as-you-feel’?
2: Assess your audience
Who currently buys your products or services? Where are they? How do they find you?
Whether you have a customer list from your physical shop or a list of people in a mum’s group who ask you for help with something, find a way of condensing them into a list so you can understand what they need and how they want the offer or service.
How this looks: Just say your book launch has been cancelled, everyone who’d love your book is still in the world! They’re just probably at home now. Can you email friends, family, publishing connections, people in your writing groups on facebook, get them to share the word about your online launch?
Make a big spreadsheet of where online your audience hangs out, and how you can reach them (Instagram, facebook, twitter, email, updates via bookstores that will also be emailing them, etc etc). Expand the way you consider your networks: they’re always much bigger than you think!
3: Set up a list
Whether you just want to send emails from your personal account, or set up a blog, I recommend putting everyone into an email list, this way you can actually manage it a bit better.
Mailchimp is free for up to 1000 subscribers. There’s more complex and better-suited email providers if you expand, but this is all about getting you set up quickly.
Once you set up your mailchimp account, embed the subscriber link and make a landing page so people can sign up for your news.
Again – just watch free tutorials on this.
4: Turn your offer into a digital sample
Offering remote reiki healing sessions? Do a quick video explaining the outcome.
Launching a book? Turn the first chapter into a free PDF someone can download to sample your work. Write your launch speech and outline the livestream launch you’ll create on facebook and who you’ll invite, get creative.
Perhaps you can record an MP3 audio as a download?
Can you offer a sample video of your performance?
Use you-tube or Facebook to upload the video sample, mailchimp lets you attach PDF files to emails, you can also upload them to your website. I suggest you offer the sample via email so that people are all condensed in your list and you can keep your audience organised and in one space!
5: Set up the tech
Do you have a website or blog? Set one up ASAP if not.
Squarespace and WordPress are free, and there’s LOADS of tutorials on how to do so. Don’t get complicated for now – you can add bells and whistles later. You really just need a place to host your content and let people see who you are and what you offer.
Set up your email list. Set up the landing page. Use mailchimp – free up to 1000 subscribers, and a good way to deliver your ‘sample’ or even your digital product – you can attach files to the emails you send.
Do you have a you tube channel? Set one up if you don’t and make your videos unlisted if you want to email them as a sample. Do you have a Facebook page or group? Set one up.
Watch online videos and tutorials to do this if you don’t know how.
Record your videos or create your PDFs.
Use canva to make things look nice – again, free!
Get yourself a way to get paid: set up a paypal button for your website, paypal me link, patreon link, square etc. Make it easy for people to pay you.
If you want people to book a service (say an online coaching or healing or tutorial) you can do all this via acuity or youcanbookme for free.
If you’re setting up an online course, you don’t even need to use a paid platform (I use kajabi and it’s great, but I delivered the first version of my course via email and a private facebook group) because you may want to keep costs down.
Google everything. Watch the videos to set each button up. If you feel overwhelmed, reach out.
6: Create written content
Write a blog post or event description and email that captures your offering. Do what journalists and PRs have been doing for aeons: be sure to capture the following:
WHO is your offering for (Be specific!! Parents of young children with learning difficulties, or those with anxiety needing breathing lessons in isolation, etc etc)
WHAT exactly is it (what problem does it solve? How does it solve this problem? What is the outcome for the buyer?)
WHERE do they go to access it (website, zoom link, membership site?)
WHEN is it available (eg. immediately upon sign-up? One day only?)
HOW is it available (PDF? Linked video? Livestream?)
Check your content answers ALL OF THESE QUESTIONS or it’s not ready to send out!
TIP: When you’re creating your written content focus on your audience, not your own issues. What do I mean? Don’t write about how you’re struggling to use your computer, or figure this out, but rather answer THEIR most pressing dilemmas – eg. Do they suddenly need an online music teacher? Don’t give an enormous spiel on how hard it’s been to move your business online. EVERYONE Is having to adapt right now. Just solve their problem. MAKE IT EASY FOR THEM TO KNOW WHAT YOU’RE OFFERING!
Like I teach in my memoir courses: cut out the back story. Get to the juice of what you’re offering so people can decide if they want to come along for the ride!!
7: Share your offer to your community!
Have lots of Instagram followers but no email list? Share the new offer on Instagram and invite them to sign up to the event or freebie via your link to your mailchimp landing page or the Facebook livestream link.
Share on Facebook, share in your personal email connections, ask your friends to share it. If you’re an author – connect with all your writing groups and ask people to review, to share, to do a blog tour (which is all remote), find podcasts you could speak on so more people can find you….
Find groups where people who have the problem you can solve (eg. Kids piano lessons via video, remote reiki for anxiety) hang out and make it easy for them to see what you offer, sample it and join your list. The reason you set up your tech in step 5 is so you can simply link people to where to find the info. You are offering them a service. You’re making it easy for them. Don’t make it hard for them! Don’t tell them to DM you for details – make it as easy as possible for people to find you and see what you offer, how much it costs, and if they like it or not!
We can all amplify eachother’s voices! If you’re scared of self-promoting, how about you think of it this way: what if someone was stuck at home feeling miserable, and YOUR OFFER saved their day!