Transcript: Five Ways to Pivot Your Business in a Crisis (COVID-19 Series)

April 3, 2020

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AMY PORTERFIELD: “Right now, salons are closed. Hairstylists cannot go into their salon and make money. So they're not servicing their clients right now. So she actually had a launch that was coming up, and she could have, one, decided not to launch at all. She could have said, ‘Hairstylists aren't making money right now, so I can't possibly sell something to them.’ Or she could have pushed her launch off and said, ‘Okay, let's just wait and see what happens with this pandemic. And then I'll reevaluate.’

However, she did not do either of those things. Instead, she moved her launch up to meet a need that was happening in the moment, and she launched her membership site to her audience, and she pivoted her messaging. And the messaging that really resonated with these hairstylists and salon owners was the fact that you might not have the gift of revenue, the gift of money right now; money’s not coming in. But you do have the gift of time. And there's no better time than right now to make your business stronger, to get more organized, efficient, to make sure you have the right marketing in place and the right sales strategies in place so that when the doors open again, you come back even stronger.”

INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-million-dollar business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, money, and time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and helps you create a life you love, you're in the right place. Let's get started.

Well, hey, there. In the midst of this current climate, as we deal with COVID-19, being quarantined in our houses, and having our days look a whole lot different than they did just a few weeks ago, I've seen my students do some pretty phenomenal things and pivot in extremely creative ways. And I wanted to take this time to highlight a few of those students who have decided to show up in a new and vulnerable way to serve their audience, community, and their students, in hopes of inspiring you to do the same with your business.

But before we dive in, I want to talk about three beliefs floating around right now that I'm going to debunk in this episode. Number one, nobody is buying right now. That's just not true. And in these examples that I'm going to share with you, you'll hear exact proof that this is a false and limiting belief.

Number two, it's inconsiderate to launch or sell something right now. People will think I'm capitalizing on the crisis. Also false. These stories today are proof that people are looking for and paying for valuable resources to make their life easier in this ever-changing environment.

And number three, if you don't have an online business or if you haven't quite launched your business yet, now is not the time. This is so far from the truth. I have a few examples of how my Digital Course Academy®️ students made a pivot that will inspire you into quick, focused, and intentional action. And for those of you just starting out, wondering what the heck to do, well, I’ve got a little something for you as well.

In this episode, you'll hear about Hilary Krueger, who created an online offer, launched it in less than forty-eight hours, and had 200 people sign up for it in under five days. You'll hear how Jamie Sears generated $3,000 in just a couple of days with her on-the-fly training. After that, I'll share a story with you about how Catherine Ryan Gregory adjusted her launch to accommodate the shifts in our economy. You'll hear about how Carrie Lupoli created a website and a free training in four hours, which has already served thousands of people and counting. And lastly, I'll share what Jamie Trull did to support her ideal-customer avatar during this time of crisis, and the fantastic response that she received. But most importantly, I want you to take notes on how these entrepreneurs led with their hearts and created something of value for their audience. I feel that now more than ever, showing up with something of high value that will serve your audience, whether it be something that is free or something that people pay for, it is the best thing that we can do right now. So let's dive into these inspiring tactical stories that I hope will motivate you to take action right away.

First up, let me tell you about my Digital Course Academy®️ student Hilary Krueger. Now, she and her husband combined the science of behavior change, positive reinforcement, and movement to help parents minimize chaos, increase joy, and get their kids to actually listen. After school started rapidly closing, and knowing that kids were now staying at home, she had the idea of launching a low-cost in-home kids’ gym class, which was twenty dollars for a daily thirty-minute workout for two weeks. Now, she came up with this idea on a Friday, launched it on a Sunday, and kicked off her first class on a Monday. That is my definition of scrappy. So on Tuesday, they made the local news, and in the following days, they had 200 kids join. So fantastic and truly inspiring. Also, she not only sold her special new program, but she also did a free lead magnet. It was called Forty-Four Activities to do While Stuck at Home: A Guide for At-Home Fun with Kids During the Coronavirus.

Now, what I love about this is not only was it 100 percent a homerun—they had a 33 percent increase in their email list, with just this one lead magnet. That's incredible—but also, I like that she called out coronavirus. Now, it's not playing on people's emotions when you are meeting them where they're at. People are thinking about it. They're Googling it. They're following the news, probably a little too closely right now. And so when you call out that your new program or your freebie is meeting them where they're at, I think that is a really smart strategy.

And so let me give you an example. For this podcast episode, we actually added in the title “COVID-19 Series.” And so we want to let people know this episode was created for you in these uncertain times, because it's one thing to put out an episode that's still very relevant and helpful, even though we're in these uncertain times, but it would be an episode, let's say I recorded or batched weeks ago, and it can still be relevant, but it's a whole different ballgame if I’m jumping into studio on the weekend or off the cuff, like this one, and coming up with a brand-new episode to meet people where they’re at. And so when I do that, I do call it out in the title of the podcast episode. People are searching for information right now around what we all are going through. So why not call it out so they know that you have something special for them? So just wanted to put that out there. Just my opinion, but I think it is valuable to add language that points out this is something new or different or meets you right where you’re at right now.

Okay, so that is one of my first examples I wanted to share with you. Congrats, Hilary. Homerun all around.

This next example comes from Jamie Sears. Now, you may recall Jamie in episode 278 because I got to talk to her about a launch that generated over $200,000. I'll be sure to link to that episode in my show notes because she also is a great example of scrappy, and she didn't have tons of support. She didn't add tons of ad spend into her launch in order to get that kind of success. So she has a unique story, definitely worth checking out. Again, episode 278.

But getting back to how Jamie pivoted, she supports elementary educators online, with professional development and curriculum creation. So as schools started to go online, she knew she had to be at the forefront of helping teachers make a smooth transition to teaching in the online space, a space many have zero experience with.

I can speak to this personally. My sister is a second-grade school teacher, and she has to get on Zoom, that she has never used in her life, to teach these second graders. Now, it's hard enough to teach a second grader in a class when you're looking at them straight in the face. But on Zoom, holy cow! My sister said the first week she tried it, she's like, “Amy, I am so exhausted.” And she told me a story of one of her other teachers that she works with had to do the Zoom experience with second graders as well. And she said one naughty little boy learned how to mute everybody. So on his end, at his house, he was muting the teacher when she was talking. I couldn't stop laughing. I know it's not funny, but oh my gosh, I could just see my son doing something like that, and I'd be so mortified. And so my sweet sister, I just felt so bad for her. And so shout out to all of the teachers that are trying a new technology they've never used before, or even if you have used it and you’re well versed, trying to get the kids to pay attention while you're using it, especially the little ones. I cannot even imagine the stress. So this episode is devoted to you. I am giving you a shout out and sending you tons of love.

Okay, so back to Jamie. So Jamie supports teachers. And so what she did is she created a six-dollar Google classroom resource to support teachers and their students with distance learning. She simply posted her low-cost resource in Facebook groups, and generated $1,000 after just twenty-four hours. Now, once she saw the need for this resource, she decided to email it to her entire email list. Now, she was hesitant about going this route, but she also knew that teachers needed it and that they were still getting paid, so she sent the email anyway.

So the email had a 37 percent open rate—that is very high, for the record—and within fifteen hours, she generated another $2,000 in revenue. So Jamie said that she received around 100 emails back, expressing their gratitude for this resource.

So for the record, she shared all of this in Momentum, which is my membership experience. And she finished her post by saying, “They are asking for more resources, and I am getting to work on creating them. I hope this inspires others to pivot and sell your offer.”

So I want to say two things. Number one, Jamie was concerned about selling to teachers because she didn't want to be tone deaf. She's like, is this insensitive, to be selling to teachers when they are stressed out and working overtime and trying to figure out the technology? And I love that she didn't go down that road. She didn't let the limiting beliefs of, I shouldn't be selling during a pandemic, to get in the way. Because remember, I spoke personally about my sister? I knew about Jamie's offer before Jamie told me about it, because my sister said, “Hey, you know, Jamie Sears?”—which my sister had known about her way before I even knew Jamie was a student of mine—she says, “You know Jamie Sears?. Well, she just put out this great offer. I just grabbed it. It's so good, so helpful.” My sister didn’t even hesitate to spend money. And I know it's just six dollars, but every dollar counts right now, and my sister's like, “Heck, yeah, I'm buying that. I cannot wait to get my hands on that.”

And I want to remind you what Jamie said. She said teachers are still getting paid right now. So if I was scared to sell to them, I wouldn't have put out this amazing offer. And Jamie does not need to make everything free just because times are uncertain right now. What she has to offer is valuable. Jamie has a business to run. Jamie has employees to pay for. And she’s helping the economy as well as adding immense value to her audience by showing up. But she's still keeping her audience in her mind and in her heart, with this really inexpensive offer that's really amazing and helpful.

And so I just wanted to put it out there that the limiting belief that people aren’t paying for things right now, or I should not be selling right now, is going to keep you playing small. You can rise to the occasion and create something that people need right now.

In fact, I have one little bonus pivot I want to share with you right now, all about selling in uncertain times, from one of my friends, Britt Seva. So I'm going to tell you, I didn't mention this in the intro of this episode, but it's so good I can't help myself. I want to share with you what she's doing.

So Britt helps hairstylists grow their businesses, and she teaches sales and marketing strategies as well as business-building strategies to help them make more money and build a business that they love. Now, right now, salons are closed. Hairstylists cannot go into their salon and make money. So they're not servicing their clients right now. So she actually had a launch that was coming up, and she could have, one, decided not to launch at all. She could have said, “Hairstylists aren't making money right now, so I can't possibly sell something to them.” Or she could have pushed her launch off and said, “Okay, let's just wait and see what happens with this pandemic. And then I'll reevaluate.”

However, she did not do either of those things. Instead, she moved her launch up to meet a need that was happening in the moment, and she launched her membership site to her audience, and she pivoted her messaging. And the messaging that really resonated with these hairstylists and salon owners was the fact that you might not have the gift of revenue, the gift of money right now; money’s not coming in. But you do have the gift of time. And there's no better time than right now to make your business stronger, to get more organized, efficient, to make sure you have the right marketing in place and the right sales strategies in place so that when the doors open again, you come back even stronger.

Her launch has done so incredibly well. The response has been amazing and almost a little surprising. Like, oh, my gosh. People are saying, “Holy cow. This is the perfect time. I needed this more than ever right now.” But imagine if Britt was scared to move forward, or she might have been a little bit scared, a little bit nervous, but imagine if she stayed in that and let that paralyze her versus saying, “I'm a little scared. I'm a little uncertain about launching right now to an audience that is not making money right now. But I know that they need this. I know that I could serve them in a bigger way right now. I know how to pivot my message to meet them where they're at.” And she's having one of her biggest launches ever. She's such a bad ass. I had to mention Britt because I love that she move forward even in uncertain times.

If you're curious, the name of her membership is called Thrivers Society, and I’ll link to everybody in the show notes that I mentioned here on the podcast so you can check out what they have to offer.

Okay, so, moving on to Catherine Ryan Gregory. And Catherine is a family-travel blogger and has been working on a family-travel course, which she had planned to launch this spring. Now, it quickly became apparent to her that her topic, which had a lot of content about flying with a family, was not going to serve her audience anytime soon. However, she knows her ICA well, and she knows that while they don't want to hear about flying, they didn't want to completely give up on travel. So she shifted her course topic. Instead of focusing on flying with a family, she's going to focus on planning a family road trip, and plans to sell this as a mini course with three modules, and offering a free workshop on planning a one-day trip, while being reasonable and respecting social distancing to promote it.

Now, what I love about this is that she's not taking what she knows best and just throwing it away and saying, “Well, this is not going to work. I got to figure out a whole new business.” No. Instead she's saying, “okay, I know what they want, and I know I need to pivot my messaging and my offer, but I can still show up for them.”

And what I also love about this example is that she had planned to launch this spring, with an entire course about family travel. Now, she can still do that down the road. That's what I call a pause. Pause that idea, put it on the shelf for now, but then what can you still create around what you already have but pivoting the message or the offer? So she's putting three modules together and creating a mini course, plus a free workshop.

So what I want to point out is you have content now that will resonate. You might have to get creative with it. You might need to get scrappy with it. But right now, most of you listening have something that you can sell. For all my Digital Course Academy®️ students, I love the idea of you putting together a workshop course, putting together a workshop, which is a one-hour or two-hour training that you charge for—you don’t have to. You could do it free because Catherine’s going to put together a free workshop and then a paid mini course. But you’ve got options. There are things you can do, and you have knowledge and a skill set that could be very needed right now. You just need to get creative and scrappy on how you make those pivots.

All right. Let’s keep moving on.

This next pivo example is from one of my Digital Course Academy®️ students, Carrie Lupoli. And I want you to get ready for some crazy-inspiring numbers. So Carrie is a nutrition coach with an online coaching program, and she has twenty-four years of teaching experience. So she enrolled in Digital Course Academy®️ to create a course for teachers around classroom management. But she got so busy with her nutrition business that she just didn't find enough time to dive in and get the course completed.

Now, fast forward to COVID-19, and she realized that all these teachers were reaching out to her, asking for guidance around online education. And she knew that she wanted to create a course for teachers, and she hadn't gotten to it yet, but there's no better time than now. So she took note of this high-demand request, and in just four hours—I repeat, four hours—she put together a website and a free training on how teachers can use Zoom and keep their students engaged so that they can continue to learn.

So from there, she had 15,000 teachers visit her website and request her free training. And in just six days, she's been able to educate over 2,500 teachers, and she'll be providing a recording of the training to those who she had to actually turn away due to participant limits on Zoom. So the demand is there. She even had school districts reach out to her to do private trainings. So talk about a quick turnaround and getting into action.

And I know what you're thinking right now. You're saying, “Amy, it's easy to make a pivot when you deal with kids because now kids are at home and parents are losing their minds,” or “It’s easy to make a pivot when it’s teachers, like Jamie or like Carrie.” But I don't want you to take these stories so literally and then say, “Well, that doesn't apply to my niche.”

You know we don't do that here on the podcast, right? We use stories and examples like this as inspiration, but we also think outside of the box, and we get creative. I don't teach teachers. I don't teach kids. I don't help parents with their kids. But my business is still thriving. I've found ways to make what I do relevant, and I want to challenge you to do the same. Don't just dismiss your niche right now because you think it's not relevant. I want you to dig a little bit deeper.

And also, do what Carrie did. She is a nutrition coach, and she has a group coaching program in that niche. But she also has these skill sets that she had planned to expand on teaching teachers, and she didn't get to it. But then COVID-19 hit, and she thought, “Okay, I need to get to work. This is my time.”

So what would you do if I said, “Okay, this is your time. If you are acting really brave and willing to take some risks, what would you do right now?” That's my challenge to you.

Okay, so we have one last example, and this one is from Jamie Trull, also a Digital Course Academy®️ member and a Momentum membership member. And you might have heard about Jamie before because she was episode 280, where I did a course-validation call with her, before she was ever my student. So since then, she's gone on to do amazing things. But when she was on episode 280, she was just somebody who I thought would be a really good fit for my courses. So I taught all of you how to do a course-validation call with someone that you think might be a good fit. So it all turned out really, really well. She's now a student, but back then, she wasn't.

So Jamie teaches small-business owners how to manage their finances so that they can create more profit and pay themselves more often. So when she began seeing the effects of COVID-19 on small businesses, Jamie got to work, creating a lead magnet for her audience and for those small-business owners finding themselves unsure of how to navigate the challenging economy. So she got really specific and created a free COVID-19 small-business survival guide, specifically targeted at micro businesses and solopreneurs, which is her ideal-customer avatar.

In just five days, she had 140 new opt-ins on her email list, from mentioning her resource on a Facebook Live and a few other threads in different groups where people were specifically asking for a resource like this. While she has not spent any money on ads, she is thinking about doing so now that she's seen how while this valuable resource is performing. So she's had it validated. People are signing up for it. So she’s thinking, “Maybe I’ll run some Facebook ads to this free resource to attract a larger audience.” So thanks to this resource, Jamie has also noticed that people are reaching out to her to have her speak to their audience as an expert in this area.

So that's another silver lining that I want you to think about. If you start getting some free content out there, people are going to look at you as the expert and say, “Hey, will you come talk about this?” I have a freebie out there about how to be more productive working from home, and that works perfectly for my audience because my audience is working from home virtually. And then I was picked up by Forbes, where I was featured in an article about being more productive when working from home. So you never know what's going to come about with you putting content out there that is so very relevant and timely to what people need right now.

So congrats to all of the entrepreneurs that I mentioned in this episode. I'm going to list each one of them and their websites in the show notes. So if you want to check out anyone, that's where you'll find all the details.

And one more thought before I let you go. You might be just starting your business right now. You might be launching a podcast or starting a brand-new Facebook group or getting your business up off the ground, and you're not even selling yet. And you're listening to this episode, and you’re like, “Amy, pivot? I haven't even actually started yet. So how the heck do I pivot when I’m just trying to launch something and get it going?” Here's the deal. You still got to show up, even if you're just starting out, meaning you have to show up, and you do have to speak about what's going on in the world right now. Now, that being said, you want to be intentional about it. You simply need to find the alignment between what's going on right now in the world and what you want to ultimately talk about long term. And how you support your ICA, there’s got to be some alignment between those two.

Now, one really simple way to pivot your content or your plan, whether it's to launch your business or start that podcast or that new Facebook group, is to ask your ideal-customer avatar how they are feeling and what they need from you at this time, and take what they say and relate it back to your area of expertise.

So here's what that might look like. You might get on a Facebook Live and you might say, “Hey, guys. I know it's a crazy time right now, and I know you're likely feeling…” and this is where you insert what they told you they're feeling. And then you go on to say something like, “But I wanted to hop on here today and talk about x, y, z, because I really do believe that this is the message you need today,” or “I really do believe this training I'm going to give you will help you, especially during this time.” So it’s bridging the conversation between what's going on in the world and what you typically would teach them or talk about. So, again, a pivot doesn’t mean throwing out everything you've been doing and starting from scratch. It really is about finding the alignment and making some tweaks to the conversation or to the offer, to the product, whatever it is you might be putting out there.

Let me give you a simple example. I do a lot of batching for this podcast. I think I mentioned this already, but I'm going to tell you one more time. So I do a lot of batching for the podcast, and that means that I had a bunch of podcasts recorded before COVID-19 took over the world. So, for example, I did a podcast episode with Dave Hollis. It was called “The Lies Holding You Back,” and we recorded this and then the world changed.

So what I did is I recorded a pre-roll to the podcast episode. So if you go listen to that episode with Dave Hollis, you will hear me in the very beginning saying, “Hey, I recorded this episode before COVID-19. However, it's still incredibly relevant, maybe even more so. And here's why.” And so if you're coming from a place of honesty and true intention to serve, making that bridge between what's going on in the world and the content you've already have, if that bridge makes sense, if it's full of integrity, your audience will get on board. And they're like, “Oh, yeah, good point. I need to look at this through a different lens. But this is so very relevant right now.”

This pivot doesn't need to take over your content. It doesn't mean you need to throw all your plans away and start from scratch. It just means you need to make some adjustments and just be aware of what that alignment or that bridge might look like. Remember this: people are looking for guidance more than ever right now. So if you have something valuable to offer them, they will listen. You just need to find that alignment.

So there you have it. As you can see, people are buying right now. They are buying things that are valuable and offering them a solution, or offering them joy and happiness at a time that they need it most. You are not capitalizing on a crisis by moving forward in your business. And if you feel behind because you haven't finished all the steps you thought you needed to have a successful online business, I want to remind you that you can create something quickly. If you have something of value to offer your audience right now, get it out into the world.

My message to you today: keep moving forward. Your business, your community, and our economy needs you to show up. So my challenge to you: find a way to pivot in your business, to show up in a bigger way right now.

Also, a quick reminder. If you're working from home and you've been doing that for a long time; however, now your spouse and your kids have come home to work right alongside with you, then I know things are probably feeling really chaotic for you. And if that's the case, I have a really great resource I want you to get your hands on right away. Go to and grab our brand-new guide to help you navigate through working from home in a chaotic time. I'm going to help you make sure that you're more efficient and productive, even though things have likely changed in your work environment. So that's

And before I forget, have you subscribed to this podcast yet? I don't want you to miss a thing. Hit the Subscribe button because during this time of crisis, we have bonus episodes like this one coming out. And so if you want to stay in the know about how to thrive in your business during a crisis, you don't want to miss an episode. So hit that Subscribe button wherever you listen to podcasts, and I cannot wait to join you again soon.

Have a wonderful week. Bye for now.

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