This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com - #Growing Your Business
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The pandemic has made it necessary for entrepreneurs in all industries to get, well … creative. When you can’t leave your home and the economy appears to be heading towards a recession, entrepreneurs are put to the test on how quickly they can innovate and pivot while still offering products and services of value to their customers and clients.
This is a bit easier for entrepreneurs who have always worked virtually, such as coaches, ecommerce entrepreneurs, software developers and more. The real challenge is for entrepreneurs who had some type of in-person experience or offering that now has to pivot. The silver lining is that any great entrepreneur loves a good challenge, and here are four ways to continue to get paid and continue your (usually in-person) business from home.
1. In the events space
Events took one of the hardest hits, with cancellations spanning out for months ahead. Although there’s nothing quite like the power of bringing people together in person for programming and networking, the next best thing is virtual events, text marketing via webinars, Instagram Lives and virtual summits. For example, Microsoft’s annual Build summit, which brings together developers to better their current software, had to be taken digitally in lieu of its usual May, in-person date.
If you’re handling attendee cancellations and dwindling ticket sales, look to the potential for advertisers in a virtual summit. Since you can bring a great number of people together to one webpage for digital programming, think through how you can invite more sponsors into the fold. Use your current attendee list, a list of programming and the schedule of events, and offer sponsor slots like ads on the page or a mention from speakers and event hosts during the digital programming. That way, attendees can get refunds and still get some good content, and you still get paid by advertisers who need to get in front of people right now more than ever.
Real estate is thought to require actually bringing the client to the house or building, which is why activity has virtually stopped since lockdown provisions were put in place. However, that hasn’t stopped some real estate agents from getting creative. Former NFL football player Tony “The Closer” Robinson has effectively corona-proofed his real estate business through virtual wholesaling. Essentially, real estate agents can get a property to be put under contract, then flip that same contract, selling it to another real estate agent. That way, the deal flow can continue and money can still be made virtually — without ever leaving your home.
3. In the consumer packaged-goods space
With recent reports urging customers to sanitize any packages that enter their homes, consumer packaged-product sales have taken a hit simply out of concern. To address that unease, consider making a video for your social media channels showing how your production plant is handling sanitization. The more visual you can make it, the better. Publish a list of precautions you’re taking to make sure that the products you’re selling are germ-proof.
4. In the beauty space
Finally, salons and makeup artists are also atop the list of entrepreneurs who were put out of business. Because of the close contact needed for their services, it’s likely that they’ll be compromised for a while. Once again, creativity can spark new life. If you’re a makeup artist, consider creating a subscription package of different looks your usual clients can try on their own. Create step-by-step tutorials for each, and offer several a month for a price that feels comfortable to you on a platform like Patreon. Create sponsorship opportunities for this subscription program or makeup-themed webinars with makeup brands, selling them a spot in your promotions.
For salons, it can be trickier, because you certainly shouldn’t be teaching clients how to cut or dye their own hair at home. Rather, see if you can think of creative ways to cover the roots that are sure to be overgrown, or share product recommendations that can tide the clients over until they can get their hair done, such as split-end treatments to delay the need for a haircut or purple shampoo to delay the need for a color fix. Again, find sponsors for each of these products and prove that you’re a leader in the space. Compile a list of your typical clients and share these tips with them, with links to purchase the different products.
Regardless of which industry you’re in, I advise you to seek sponsorship and partner opportunities and get creative about how you can go virtual. Think not for the short term, but how these virtual add-ons and pivots can change your business model forever. And make sure to create clear blocks of time that can differentiate your work life from your personal life in order to keep productivity high.
There are ways to still get paid doing what you love from home. The opportunities may seem scarce, but they’re there. Seize them, and show the pandemic that you can rise above its attendant challenges.