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How to Protect Your Online Business and Increase Sales During A Recession
As business owners, we absolutely have to be prepared for times like these. Scary times, uncertain times, crazy what-the-hell-just-happened-and-will-I-survive-it times.
This virus is totally unprecedented, and I know it's come as a huge shock to all of us.
Heck I don't know about you, but most days I still wake up and wonder if it was all just a weird dream. I sure wish it was!
That being said, the reality here is that as bloggers and business owners we must find ways to set our fear aside and keep our businesses afloat.
That doesn't mean we aren't scared, or confused, or worried, or just plain exhausted from all of the feelings.
It DOES mean that we have the choice whether we will stay in those feelings and let them rule us, or set them aside and keep moving forward.
In today's post I want to give you some practical ways you can protect your business right now, as well as some mindset shifts to move you away from fear and into opportunity.
We'll be talking more about this in the coming days and weeks over email (and you can get those emails here if you want them), but for now I hope you will take these pieces of advice to heart and start implementing them in your business.
1. Take Care of Your Email List
My first practical tip for surviving these crazy times as a business is to take really, really good care of your email list.
Everyone is scared right now. Nobody knows what is going to happen or how it will impact us in the long run. What this means for you is that you now have the opportunity to be the guiding light for your people.
If you've spent any time on social media or reading the news, you’ve quickly realized that the negativity around what's going on in the world today is immense. There is so much fear, sensationalism, and (some) reality wrapped up in everything we are reading.
What we are seriously lacking right now is voices of realistic positivity.
We really need people right now who can show us the silver linings and the opportunities in what's going on. For you, this is an opportunity for you to connect and build trust with your readers in a way you've never been able to before.
There is an opportunity here for you to show them that you are really there, that your character is strong, and that you are dedicated to helping them even when you might be scared yourself.
Don't squander this opportunity!
It may not come again, and it's one of the best things you can do for your business right now.
2. Create Content for the Good Days Ahead
I know you feel it, because I feel it too. The pull to get under a comfy blanket, watch Netflix, and forget about the world for a few weeks.
When we get scared and freaked out, most of us want to hide. Suddenly putting ourselves out there in our business, creating new content, and providing inspiration for others when we are so depleted sounds like more than we can handle.
I can definitely relate. Right now I am in my first trimester with my second baby.
I've been going through a fair amount of nausea and exhaustion this last month, and it's been all I can do simply to keep our household running. Shortly after we got those two pink lines, the virus hit the media like a storm. Suddenly the world was shutting down, schools were closing, and my son's preschool closed, leaving me with no child care while pregnant and trying to run my business.
I feel you. This isn't an easy time.
That being said, whether you are finding yourself with more time or less time than you had before to work on your business, creating quality content should be a priority right now.
While there are some topics that aren't getting nearly as much traffic as they used to, if you look a little deeper you will see that some keywords and topics are exploding right now. Pinterest has recently said that keywords for working from home and stress relief have gone up 170% as the whole world tries to adjust to our new reality.
Are there subtopics within your niche that are up right now that you could take advantage of? How can you find opportunities right now that will help you grow your blog that weren't there before?
3. Double Down on What Is Already Working
In my opinion, now is not the time to expand into lots of new projects. This is a great time to delve deeper and get even better at the things that are already working for you.
I highly recommend doing an analysis of the 80/20 in your business.
What is the 20% that is bringing you the most returns? The most traffic, the most sales, the most engagement? What's been working for you in the last 6 months, and how can you do it better right now?
In my business, I'm pressing the pause button on launching new products and services simply because they can be a bit risky. You don't always know if a product is going to succeed or flop, and right now my intention is to hedge my bets on things I know that are working, on serving you in ways I know will help you.
4. Be A Positive Voice for Your Readers Right Now
One practice I am implementing this week is spending 10 minutes per day meditating on the kind of person I really want to be.
Because I will tell you that I am just as human as you are, I am certainly scared sometimes, confused at other times, often frustrated and tired. All of that is normal and real and valid and okay to feel!
But the bigger point here is that we all get to decide each day who we want to be.
And when bad times come around, and a real crisis rolls in, we have the opportunity to become stronger than we've ever been before.
YOU have the opportunity to become stronger and wiser and better than you ever have been before, and that time is right now. The time when things are hard, when you're freaked out, and when nothing looks as rosy as it did two months ago.
The cool thing to keep in mind is that if you are up to the challenge and you take it, you have more to gain than ever before.
Not only will your readers truly see you for the incredible person you are, but you will show yourself that you can do more than you thought you could in a bad situation.
So my challenge for you this week is to write down three ways you are going to show up in your business like you never have before. Maybe that's doing Facebook lives when you're scared of doing video, or maybe it's creating inspirational content that you've never taken the time and mental energy to put out there.
Figure out what your readers really need to see and hear from you right now, and then dedicate yourself to doing that no matter how hard it is.
5. Know That Every Problem Comes With An Opportunity
It is way too easy to fall into doom and gloom these days, and there is a reality to the current situation that we can't avoid. Things are not peachy right now, and I think it's good for us to acknowledge that. Simply doing lots of positive thinking isn't going to change that reality.
It is not wise to only look at the downsides and perceived downsides without also seeing the upsides. With every single problem and bad situation comes a silver lining. It is your job to find it!
What are some of the upsides in today's crazy world? Let's talk about just a few.
1. People suddenly have more time!
One piece of good news is that many of your readers suddenly have more time than they ever have had before. That may be due to unemployment, or working from home, or hours being cut, but it is still true.
Can you help them take advantage of that time? What have they always wanted to do but struggled to find the time to make it happen?
This is your chance to help them make the best of a difficult situation and use that time to help them reach their goals.
2. People want guidance, inspiration, and direction more than ever.
In crazy times, everybody is looking for a leader. Someone to take them by the hand, and show them what they need to do next. Someone to help them break out of their paralyzing fear.
Can you be that person? Ask yourself how you can up your game and provide more inspiration and motivation than you ever have before. People need it desperately these days, and they’ll be forever grateful to you if you provide it.
3. Having an online business is more of a priority than ever.
This may not apply to your audience, but my best examples are those from my business and this is a big one!
One of the upsides to economic recessions is that they always seem to turn out more entrepreneurs than economic good times do. When people get laid off or have their hours reduced, many of them turn to entrepreneurship to create more control and financial stability in their lives.
This is a perfect example of a door opening as another door closes for many people. And as I teach bloggers how to create businesses online that are profitable and scalable, helping would-be entrepreneurs and new entrepreneurs through this transition is very important.
I hope that gave you a few examples of some of the silver linings I've gleaned for my business, and I hope you will search for yours as well.
6. Start Your Blog If You Haven’t Already!
I'll be blunt here.
Hard times separate the wheat from the chaff.
There are tons of people out there who say they want to start a blog and become an entrepreneur. But the percentage of those who say they do and those who actually do it is vastly different. And when things get tough and the wolf is at the door, the number of people who say "now's not the right time" is staggering.
Now of course there are some very valid reasons for this. Many families are struggling, many people have lost jobs, and many people no longer have child care. These are real concerns and are difficult things to adjust to overnight.
That being said, it doesn't change the fact that YOU have a huge opportunity here. If you haven't started your blog yet, now is a better time than ever before. Why?
Because your competition just dropped by 75%.
Some bloggers who weren't crazy committed to their businesses are going to close shop. And hundreds of thousands of would-be bloggers who have thought about getting started will decide not to because of everything that is going on in the world today.
If you are willing to stick your neck out and take action even when you're scared, you've got a huge leg up on everyone else.
You can read my Ultimate Guide to Starting A Profitable Blog here.
7. Connect Through Video or Audio
My last tip for protecting your business during a pandemic is to connect with your audience more deeply, specifically through audio and video. This goes for me too!
Our readers need us more than ever, and they need us to show up in a way where they can hear our voice and see our face.
Just think about it. In the times of your life where you've faced super hard things, what was the first thing you did?
My guess is that you called a friend or had lunch with your mom because you needed somebody in real life to help you work through whatever was going on. You very likely did not just read an article or two online and feel better.
That's simply not how we connect at a deep enough level to make us feel better when we're going through something traumatic! Humans are deeply social animals, and we really need to see and hear others as if it were face-to-face to get the connection we crave in scary times.
My recommendation is that you do everything you can to provide that now. Maybe you can do some Facebook lives, record a podcast episode or two, or create some live workshops that help your readers through this time.
Just show up, and your readers will feel more connected to you than ever before.
We’re living through some wild stuff these days, but this is no time to shrink in your business! Now is the time to step up your game and protect your business from the dark clouds ahead.
These are my best tips for thriving in uncertain times:
Take really good care of your email list.
Create content for the good days ahead.
Double down on what is already working for you.
Be a positive voice for your readers.
Know that every problem comes with an opportunity.
Start your blog if you haven’t yet!
Connect with your readers through audio or video.
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