Last Updated on April 19, 2020 by Elevate Digital

COVID-19… it seems to be everywhere we look right now!

But there’s no denying it; these are truly crazy times we’re living through…

We’re hearing of businesses that have been around for 20+ years having to close their doors, whilst for others, like certain e-commerce stores; business has never been better!

But if there’s one thing we do well with as entrepreneurs and business owners, it’s finding opportunities and making good out of a bad situation!

Luckily, there are a number of digital tools and platforms that can help you build additional income streams to keep things moving.

So if your business has been negatively impacted in any way by this pandemic, hopefully this article will give you a few additional ideas to keep the money coming in!

For some businesses, you may even find some ideas in which you could use this situation to launch your business to new heights! 

I’m going to break this article down into 2 sections:

  • Part one for those whose business has come to a complete standstill
  • Part two for those whose business is still running but things have really slowed down

My business and income have come to a complete standstill, what can I do?

Ok, so you need money and you need it now!

Here’s a few digital options/ideas you can consider to help you get back on track and earning some money ASAP…

Transitioning To Virtual Work

It might sound obvious but the first thing to do is to explore the possibility of transitioning into virtual work.

Now this obviously won’t work for all businesses but it’s worth exploring possible services that you may be able to offer through video/conference calls with clients.

There are a tonne of free apps, like Skype, Zoom and Google hangouts that allow you to keep in touch your with customers through video meetings.

These apps can also be great for gyms and personal trainers to offer virtual training to one or multiple clients at a time.

Zoom also gives you the ability to share documents, resources and even create a virtual shared whiteboard for both users to interact with; this could be extremely useful for private tuition and teachers!

Offering consultancy or training services as an expert in your industry

If transitioning to virtual work isn’t an option, it could be worth looking at becoming a consultant/trainer in your industry for the interim.

This will at least give you the ability to work remotely.

It’s also worth considering here that during this time, most people will either be working from home, or out of work all together.

As such, it’s the perfect time for people to re-skill or learn something new, so they can go hit the ground running when this finally comes to an end.

Our partners over at Digital Marketer have seen a HUGE influx of people using this time to take online courses and seeking consultancy to up-skill during quarantine.

There are two primary ways of doing this by leveraging your existing skills:

Option 1: Create an online course

The great thing about creating an online course is that it gives you the ability to earn passive income (yes, even while you sleep!)

Once your course is built, you simply need to direct traffic to it or use a marketplace like Udemy and you can start earning money over and over again! Often without having to even lift a finger!

Let’s say for example that you’re a plumber. You could have two potential target customers here…

You could launch an online course for people looking to get into the trade (again, this is the perfect time for them to start learning while everything is on shut-down)

OR

You could target people who are just looking to up-skill and learn plumbing for themselves.

The best thing about Udemy here is they actually allow you to create and SELL your course with ease by using their own pre-built platform.

All you need to do is upload your videos and content.

With Udemy, you’re also able to tap into a huge audience of people (24 million and counting) who are could be searching for exactly what you offer!

Oh, and don’t worry about expensive equipment! A lot of these courses are simply filmed on a smartphone so it’s easy to get started straight away.

The downside to Udemy is they can charge heavy fees for each sale and will also discount your courses from time to time.

If you’re more comfortable with technology, another option is to create an online course website!

Platforms like Thinkific are brilliant for beginners with quick-start templates for building your first online course.

They also have a free version for people just getting started! Check it out here

Option 2: Become a consultant/mentor/coach 

Another option here is to leverage your existing skillset to become a consultant or mentor in your industry.

This is similar to creating an online course except you would be effectively working with people one on one.

There are also a number of super simple-scheduling tools which make the whole process incredibly easy and even give you the ability to take payments upfront when people are booking a call.

One of the best tools for beginners is Calendly.

Creating an e-commerce store or begin offering delivery services online

Setting up an online store has never been easier!

With platforms like Etsy, or Gumroad you have the ability to simply set up a free account, list your products and start selling straight away.

The best part is, they require little to no online expertise.

If you have a bit of money to spend and you’re already selling a high volume of product in store, you’ll probably want to look at a custom e-commerce website.

This will give you more control over stock control, checkout process, delivery methods, etc…

If you’re a restaurant, cafe or bar on the other hand, it’s never been easier to create a simple website or landing page to offer your delivery services.

There are some great plugins for WordPress websites such as FoodPress which allows you to easily build out and create an online interactive menu.

My business is still running but things have really slowed down…

It’s worth noting here that adding the some of the above methods could still be incredibly beneficial in this case for creating additional income streams.

So there’s a lot of scaremongering going around at the moment; people are saying things like…

“Consumers just aren’t buying right now”

“Businesses are doomed!”

“You’ll need to wait this out until anyone buys again”

This simply isn’t true…

In fact, people are spending more money than ever because they’re scared!

Just look at the supermarkets right now…

Panic-buying example showing empty supermarket bottom two shelves with super soft toilet paper stacked on top shelf only

It’s just the way they buy and the reason they buy which has changed.

People generally buy products/services for one of two reasons; they’re either moving toward pleasure, or avoiding pain. That’s not to say both can’t play a part but there is usually one primary driver behind a buying decision.

Right now, everyone is in panic mode so the majority of people are looking to avoid pain.

The businesses that thrive through turbulent times are those quickest to respond!

The businesses who who can shift their offering (or sometimes just their marketing message) to match the new demand from potential consumers…

To be clear here, this isn’t about lying or manipulating, it’s about meeting people where they’re at!

If you still have customers coming in, but things have slowed down, you have an incredible opportunity right now to take a stand and become a leader through these turbulent times.

To be the beacon of light that your customers need.

Does this mean you should be in full-on sales mode and ignoring everything that’s going on??

Absolutely not!

Be sensitive to the situation whilst also being committed to serving….

You’re going to have to give more value than ever and work harder than ever. This is the time, to build your brand and show people what you’re all about.

But let’s get into some things you can do to start attracting more customers during these times and with little to no budget required.

Building a Facebook or LinkedIn group and work on building a community

Starting an online community can be a brilliant way of reaching your ideal customers.

It’s important to consider that the premise behind a successful group is based on giving value up front. This could involve regularly engaging with members, running webinars, and creating a supportive culture among the members.

Live video can also be a great way of supporting and interacting with your customers and potential customers through these times.

Check out this awesome article on Buffer on how to build an engaged online community using Facebook Groups.

Content and brand collaborations

Don’t underestimate the power of collaborations for growing and expanding your reach.

In fact, two of my connections on LinkedIn (both running video production agencies and arguably direct competitors) recently partnered up to do weekly live Q&A’s.

The result?

They both exponentially grew their own audience base and reached more people than they ever could before.

The reason for this is simple, pretty much all social media platforms take engagement as the primary metric for increasing reach.

In a nutshell, the more comments and likes a post receives within the first few hours, the more people the algorithm will show it to.

Because they were able to tap into eachothers existing audience and benefit from the increased engagement; LinkedIn then showed this to even more people outside of their network!

Influencer marketing or affiliate marketing

Influencer marketing can often be expensive, but there are ways of approaching it that won’t cost you a penny.

Take a look at your current customer base… 

Do you have any customers who have large network or significant reach that could also be potential customers for your business?

Maybe, you have customers who frequently buy from you who have large followings on social media.

If, so explore the possibility of them becoming an affiliate, ambassador or partner for your brand, meaning that for each customer they refer to you, they get paid a commission.

Forming and leveraging strategic partnerships

Strategic partnerships can be extremely powerful when done right.

If you’re a relatively new business, think of some more established businesses that serve the same audience as you but in a different space.

We partnered with a sales consultancy when we first started and they introduced a new client to us within the first month!

Let’s say for example you’re a new company offering linen cleaning services for the restaurant industry. You may be able to partner with an established company that provides POS (point of sale) systems to the industry. 

The benefit here is that you’re able to tap into the existing network and database of an established business.

You may even want to sweeten the deal by offering a commission for each referral. The key here, is to make it a win-win situation…

Think about this from their perspective…They simply need to mention your service to their customers (which is likely of benefit to them anyway) and even if they say no, nothing is lost as they’ve already made a sale; but if the customers agree, your partner earns additional revenue!

So let’s say this business is currently selling 1,000 units per month, and they start mentioning you’re company after each sale. Even if they only had 1% uptake, that’s potentially 10 new customers for your business each month on autopilot!

If you’re already an established business on the other hand, you may be able to make a more mutual arrangement with another company whereby you simply pass leads/referrals between each other on a regular basis.

Launching an online summit

Online summits are still relatively new but they can be an extremely powerful lead generation method with little to no expenses.

Check out our recent article on virtual event ideas for more information about online summits.

Creating a content marketing strategy

Where there is challenge, there is also opportunity…

Right now is arguably one of the best time to be getting in front of your target audience!

Why?

Because millions of other people are in exactly the same boat as you!

Put together a content marketing strategy that focuses on supporting people through these challenging times or even just creating conversations and starting discussion.

It’s all just additional exposure for your brand…

Adapting your offering

Consider how you could transition your offering to helping people cope through the pandemic.

For example, if you run a domestic cleaning company, maybe look at re-positioning your offering to helping people cleanse their homes or office space to minimise the chance of infection.

If you run a well-being company, focus your offerings around helping to boost people’s immune systems to keep them safe.

This level of adaptability can sometimes be the difference between business that thrive and the one’s that fail.

Whatever happens during this time, be sure to put your health and well-being first. Stay connected with loved one’s and stay strong!

And if you’d like any advice on how to increase your traffic, leads and sales (even with everything that’s going on!) be sure to book your free review today! We can’t promise we’ll be able to help, but you have our word that we’ll do our best!

Want personalised advice on your marketing?

Book your FREE digital review today and we’ll record you a 10 minute video looking at your current strategy and  suggest some ways you could significantly increase your results!

Jane Pak
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