#99: Coronavirus & Your Business: What To Do

coronavirus and your business

In moments like these it’s an amazing thing to be a solopreneur with the ability to pivot on a dime and serve our communities while maintaining a business. If you’ve been stressing about how to manage our new reality of social distancing, financial woes and chronic PANIC mode across the world … you are not alone.

We’re all in this together.

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Hello there everybody. How are you holding up? How are you're holding up personally? How you're holding up professionally? Thanks for joining me today. You know, things have obviously changed pretty darn drastically in the past few days. Where I live, I live in New York so to be honest, I don't know, even two weeks ago I did not think that Corona virus is going to hit us like this. Wishful thinking on my part perhaps and now all of a sudden here we are and we are stuck at home and the kids don't have school and everybody is freaking out about everything and there's no toilet paper and worst of all my health coaching clients as I'm assuming yours, they're all going through the same thing, right? So it doesn't necessarily feel like a time where you want to like carry on business as usual and I think that's valid. I'm like is it the right time to be selling health coaching?

Yes. No, maybe I want to talk about that today and then just looking ahead even a few weeks, a few months. I mean we're headed into the spring. Spring is typically high season for health coaching. And so a lot of people start actually hiring us. So is that going to happen? And one of the things going to sort of go back to normal, we just don't know. Right? I do want to say in the meantime, I think it is a wonderful thing to run our own businesses because I'm like, I can't remember a time that's ever been quite like this in the past 11 years that I've been a health coach. But there have been times where there's been an extraordinary event in the world and it doesn't feel like the right time to go out there with your like sign up for my detox message. Right? So, it's wonderful that we can be really nimble and we can pivot as needed with our businesses because we're small, right?

We're like solopreneurs and we can just decide today we're going to do it differently. So that's hugely to our advantage. And what I want to talk about today is really how to not catastrophize and give up on your health coaching business during this time, but rather how to use, not an opportunistic way but in a, in a way of providing service and adding value to a community or to our, you know, our country devastated by this health crisis. And I think it could be a time for growth, both professionally and personally. So some of you are already starting to do this. You're amazing. If you're here with me live, please tell me in the comments how you are thinking about doing business over the next weeks, months dare I say. What are you changing? What are you keeping the same and what are you worried about?

I promise you are not alone and I'm not here to tell you that I have all the answers. Cause yeah, in 11 years of doing this, this has never before, right? This has never happened before in our lives, but I have some ideas and I want to hear yours. And while you guys go ahead and do that, I just want to share some of my perspective from what's going on inside my own health coaching business and then also a perspective from a fellow health coach from China who is ahead of us in this regard. Like she's already lived through and is living, but we are just entering now in the United States and Canada and other parts of the world. So I'll tell you what's going on here in my business. I have been planning a spring launch to promote my health coaching services.

And then I was like yesterday, I'm like, ah, or was it the day before yesterday I just started thinking maybe this is not such a good idea and maybe this is not in good taste. Maybe, maybe it's fine to do or all anybody sign up. Is this really a time when people are going to be investing in, in their health? But then I was thinking, all right, the, and it really comes back to knowing your target market as well. Like put yourself in their shoes right now and what do they need? Like the women that I work with are scared, super overwhelmed, super freaking out. They are stuck in their houses, which is not usual for them. You know, they're usually commuting, they're traveling a lot for business, so they're home.
They're working remotely though, so they're still getting a paycheck. And I'm just talking about my audience.

This'll be different for all of you. And their schedules are a bit shaken up, mostly providing them with more, more time. You know, my, my clients are not moms of many small kids. You know, I tend to work with women who are but older, they don't have little kids in the house. So, like I was just kind of thinking about her and thinking, you know, what, in some ways it's could actually be ideal, perfect time for working with the coach. She's not traveling. She has a little bit more time on her hands. She's a, you know, usually eating out at restaurants constantly and now all of a sudden, poof, all the restaurants have closed. So I'm not only that, but there's this this idea of being a little more introspective. And of course everybody is concerned about their health right now. So, there's that too.

Now at the same time, I'm noticing that clients are missing their meetings, you know, in the past week. Heck, I feel like I've been missing everything. Like everything's just been so up in the air. Everybody's just kind of shaken up. But I think once we all get used to the new world order, at least, you know, for now and we're all kind of used to being locked in our houses, it's actually not going to be so bad. So I'm going to be extending a lot of grace around missed and rescheduled appointments. I'm just trying to be flexible with everybody. So that's my, you know, sort of approach to the clients that I do have right now. Now, beyond all this and, and I, I'm going to get to everything you guys are writing in just a second and thank you so much for your input. Beyond working with clients, I am seeing a huge opportunity for online gatherings.

I this week, my friend, you know, for the first time she put her yoga classes online and I was like, Jenna, are they going to be online? Like I can just see you like a typical yoga video that you can get on, like yoga glow. She was like, no, we'll do it on zoom so everybody will see each other. And I was like, all right, I'm in for that. Like I'm so in for that cause I just want to see other people doing yoga with me that makes it feel so much better than just doing it by myself in my living room, just like the rest of my life by myself in my living room right now. So to have that community feeling, I'm like, yeah, I'm in. And I think everybody's really craving that right now. So, one thing that you can consider is how to bring that into your health coaching business.

Like one thing I do very well for you guys is showing up every week to do these episodes and we interact and it's fun. But I haven't been doing that and I've wanted to start. It's only 24 hours in the day, right? It hasn't been my priority, but I haven't done this for the health coaching side of my business. I haven't done events lives, things like this for my, she's got power audience. So this has really been the kick in the pants that I've needed. And starting this week, I'm going to start offering online Hangouts and repurposing content from my, she's got power podcasts to create like more of a discussion and support around a particular topic each week. And so I'm just sharing this because I think there's a lot of opportunity to continue earning money working with paying clients. And I think there's a lot of really interesting and creative things that we can do right now to build community, build engagement, build our mailing lists, and serve our audiences at the same time.

So let's see what you guys are saying. Um, Kristen, said hi from Boston. I feel like people aren't wanting to spend money right now because so much is unknown and they're scared about spending. I feel that. Yeah, that was my thought too. You know, even I mean everyone's just buying all the toilet paper. How much money do they have left? They're going to have to start selling the toilet paper to me though because I have not heard it any and I'm going to be doling out like $5 a roll pretty soon to my neighbors I think. But no you're right. People tend to kind of clam up around this time. So know your audience. Again, that was my first instinct when I thought about the money issue but for the women that I, that I do work with in my practice, it's not, it's really not an issue.

They're going to continue making money just fine cause they're all working remotely. Now if you tend to work with, I don’t know yoga teachers or other populations that right now or like aren't getting all their hours cut, this would be a much larger concern. So really consider your target market and it would also be a reason to offer something at a lower price point. I would not usually recommend that. If you guys ever hear me talk, I'm always saying price high, price high, but price, anything right now. So that you are getting compensated at least minimally, fairly. Even if you're not making your millions in the next month and offer something of value to your community. Cause I do think people are out there paying for this stuff. Like I just said, I just signed up and paid for these yoga classes. Even though I already pay for yoga classes, I have a membership to a studio that I now can't go to, but it's so valuable to me to have this in my life.

I'm going to, I'm going to pay above and beyond for it. What else are you guys saying? Michelle said, I agree with Christina. I'm still building the foundation of my practice before starting and I have the same concern for seeking health coaching guidance is probably not going to be top of people's priority. Yeah, that's an assumption, right? I think an easy assumption to make and yet I do see people struggling so, so much with anxiety right now. It's going to be anxiety, overwhelm, insomnia, that sort of thing is going to flare up. Any other health conditions that they have. Like you know, if they have auto immunity, like they're going to be experiencing those flares and pain and a lot of like, Oh my God, I'm sick. I'm not feeling well. You know, I've heard of people kind of freaking out like I'm having chest pain and it's like, you know, cause you're freaking out.

You're having chest pain probably, you know. This was just friends of mine that I'm like, Whoa, we all need to take it down a notch. So it may, it may actually be somebody's priority. They may be freaking out. They may be, they're doing really well. Even on like their diet. My friend was like, Oh, I just got into this like awesome exercise routine and now I can't, you know, I can't go to the gym and it's all for not, and that's not true. You know, there's so many ways that she could be exercising outside. We're going for hikes, we got resistance bands. We're keeping 10 feet away from each other. It's all good. And so sometimes people just need like a friendly, uplifting voice in their lives to show them like, Hey, yeah, you can go on. So, I wouldn't like, just assume that it's not people's top priority.

I think like this week in my community, yeah, it's all shaken up people's priorities. Just figuring out like their kids and is there any chicken at the grocery store and stuff like that. But I would imagine that next week just in my neck of the woods, you know, people are starting to kind of get into it. There was a woman today on our, our community Facebook page just for my town and she was like, I have an idea. She's like, in the holiday months, we get in the car with the kids and we drive around and we look at everybody's Christmas lights. She's like, it's not Christmas, but what if everyone in town just decorated their house and just went all out and did crazy stuff on their house and then we could tour the neighborhoods like that. And there was something for us to do.

And I was like, that's such a brilliant idea. Has nothing to do with health coaching or business, but we're going to start getting into a mode where people are ready to live their lives and have some fun or invest in themselves or do things. Once they kind of get settled into the notion of, Oh my God, we're all stuck at home. Gabriel said, I think this is a good time to brand yourself going on social media and explaining how it is more important than ever to be healthy. Giving that free info that people hold onto and heal. Who will want to hire you when this blows over. Yes, so that's a great point. Think about the long game. You may or may not be getting clients in the next couple of weeks. I personally don't feel great about being like, Hey, sign up for a free consultation to talk about your health.

Like that just doesn't feel right to me at least today. But what if I was out there providing a ton of support around the things that I am very well suited to provide support around? I'll tell you what happens. People end up messaging you, people will say, Oh my God, that's so helpful. They really needed this. And you can write back to them and you can start a one on one interaction and they could say to you, and this does happen. Like could you help me with such and such or could you help my mom with such and such? And you may be able to offer your services and more of a one to one way versus like a broadband message which may feel a little inappropriate right now. So, and then even if that doesn't happen, like Gabe saying, when this all blows over, you'll be very well positioned.

If you keep up with your, your marketing and you build your brand now like I'm still going to be emailing my list every week. Like I normally do, releasing a podcast episode every week like I normally do. And like I said, doing more Facebook lives to accompany that because I think now is the time to take advantage of, Hey like more people might actually be reading those emails, especially if it's not like a downer, you know? Just another like schools are closed, parks are closed, restaurants. I'm going next week I'm going to sell it, send something super uplifting and fun to my list. Right. So it's a chance to stand out. Lee says, I am leaning into what the market is talking about and providing value, content and information about those things. Yes. Great time to do that. What are they talking about, Lee? Talking about immunity boosting, right?

Like I think most half of our us health coaches by now have written something about immunity boosting. I know that I have, but there's so much more that we can be doing with that. If you serve moms, for example, and now moms all have their kids at home now, it'd be a wonderful, wonderful time for you to provide ideas for healthy things to do with the kids, healthy snacks to make with the kids, all that sort of stuff. Now that you are at home with them all deck. Julie says, I did a couple of lives this morning with tips to boost the immune system using what they already have at home and that's so key, right? I recorded a podcast episode like a week ago and I was talking about EQ, Neisha and stragglers and you know all this like herbs and stuff that I use and then I went online yesterday and realized it's all sold out everywhere.

So how cool to be like operating in real time and offering people advice that they can use like today with what you have in the house, you probably have some garlic eat that. You know what? I don’t know what you said Julie, but that's a great, great idea Lisa saying I've been reaching out to my online communities and email list to provide information. I did two lives last night to two different groups with no agenda except to let them know that I'm here for them and answer some questions. Trying to plan how to provide community and online visits. Beautiful, beautiful. And I think it's cool to like be transparent and say like, what, what do you need? What do you want to talk about? You know I got a lot of great engagement yesterday on Instagram cause maybe some of you saw this, I just posted all these outfits that I got cause I had ordered a box of clothes, you know, from like one of those places that sends you the clothes and you try them on and you see what you want to keep.

And you know, I just let everybody vote on the clothing. I know this has nothing to do with health coaching, but truly I was just like, ah, there's nothing else to do. Let's try on clothes. Tell me what you think I should, what do you think I should keep? It was so much fun. So it's OK to like, not even have an agenda, but just try to have some fun with your audience. Michelle's saying it's very true with anxiety, setting off a slew of symptoms, especially with autoimmune disease. Yes. Think about how this is impacting people's health. It also could be that they went to the store. I noticed when I went to the store, what's gone? All the canned food, all the boxed food, there was no like chicken, like box chicken broth on the shelf. I didn't care. I just went bought a whole chicken.

I'm going to roast it tonight and then I'm going to make broth, you know, but you know, people don't do this, so they might actually be eating pretty poorly cause they might've, maybe they usually go out and get like salads and prepared food that at least has some vegetables in it. But now they're like home and don't know how to cook. So symptoms related to anxiety, symptoms related to anything really. If they're, if they're not sleeping, whatever. I, I think there's a lot of opportunity there. Let's see here. Leah, Katie, uh Mary, Mary Jane says, hello. I am from Western New York and I'm still in the beginning stages of building the health coaching program of my own. How can I embrace this and move forward? Yeah, slowly marriage. It's okay if you guys are new. Hopefully there's not a huge pressure on you to be earning.

Like today, that's always hard. Any new coach, it's very hard to start making money like immediately. But if you are in those beginning stages, like now is the perfect time to be like setting up your mailing list to be setting up some sort of schedule for how you're posting on media to be figuring out who your target market is. Oh, I know you can go back and listen to every podcast episode. Up until now we have about a hundred of them and by the end of this whole covert thing, you will be ready to go out with your business in a big way. So I think, you know, I would just reinvest in those basics and not put pressure on yourself to necessarily find those very, very first clients. Although you may be surprised, I have talked to a lot of coaches this week and everyone's going through the same thing.

And I am hearing about coaches getting signing clients. It's not an impossibility. Marilyn says, I am working with clients a lot and dealing with emotional eating while in self isolation. People are bored. They're also having issues getting food, which is scary. Yes. Yes. That's a great point Marilyn about emotional eating and the, the sadness, right? Depression. My goodness. And we're hoping for some sunshine here tomorrow, but today's gray and rainy and it's March and yeah, anyone who's already like borderline with that sort of thing could be really going down Hill right now. So that's a beautiful thing. And also teaching people how to cook food based on what they can get. I was shocked when I went to the grocery store and all the dried beans were gone. Now I've been doing this work for a long time and I really rarely come across somebody who's not already in the health and wellness world who knows how to cook dried beans or how to do anything with dried beans.

Like literally nobody does this and yet they were all gone off the shelf. I'm like, what are you guys going to do? Chew on them raw. Like, why don't you leave him here for me? Like I'll show you how to do this. But it's really funny cause I bet people have this stuff at home and they're just like, ah, but this is all I could find. So, so much educating that we can be doing about that and also look at all the fresh food on the shelf. I could find kale and carrots and cabbage and bok choy and all kinds of wonderful things. My grocery cart was full, you know, and I, I don't think everyone knows what to do with that stuff. Lisa saying that she voted on my outfits. Thank you Lisa. Thanks for voting on my outfits. So, let me tell you guys what one coach had to say from the front lines in China.

And also I will keep looking over here for your comments and, and questions. You know, if you have things you're thinking of, you want some feedback on some ideas that you're having, like throw them out there. We all need ideas. So let's, let's pool our resources. Use a little hive mind to figure out how to make this work. But I'm so, so this coach that I know who is sort of been on the front lines in China, she is a certified health coach working with clients in China, right? It's not like she lives in China and has clients all over the world. Like all her clients are right there in China with her and this is how it went down for her. So this is probably like the past two months now or perhaps a little bit more than that. She said a lot of clients postponed their sessions, some realized it was important to keep them, especially those that were already familiar with zoom or video calling.

So if you're seeing clients in person, obviously now you're like transitioning to doing some sort of video calls. I noticed today with zoom, I'm not using zoom right now and I normally do cause I was having some trouble with them and I tried to contact their support team and I was like 364th in line because everybody in the world is trying to use zoom right now for like the first time ever. So yeah. So there may be some hiccups with the technology but even if you just go to phone meetings, that's how I always work with my clients anyway by phone. So you know, it will be sort of transitioning the way that we work with clients if you're usually in person, but also realizing the clients are going to need to postpone and reschedule. She also said most of my one on one clients were in need of mental support and clarity.

I sent out a mailing that I was available for a one time, 30 minute free support session. As soon as I noticed clients canceling and more time freeing up, I thought that was pretty interesting. I'm not sure if she did this just for her clients an extra session or if she offered it to her whole mailing list. But either way, that's kind of interesting. Like if, if you, I'm not saying that we all have more time. You might have like three kids home with you right now, but if your clients are kind of falling by the wayside and you do have more time, that would kind of be interesting. Offering a, maybe even just a limited number, but some level of a free support sessions to your audience. There's nothing like that to build up. No. Like, and trust. She said I had to cancel my group program though.

And I don't know that we all have to cancel group programs, but I suppose, it really depends. Like if you're running a group program that's like, we're going to all eat this particular style of food for the next 10 days, but yet nobody can find that food in the grocery store. That's not going to work out. If you have a group program that's going to meet every week at a certain day and time and people's schedules have changed, that may not work out either. But I do think that there is some type of group program that can be very, very well run at this point. Because people do crave, she said apart from that [inaudible - video cuts in and out over the next minute] in other channels on WeChat which Chinese online, like in China they use WeChat instead of Facebook I believe. But she said it was in Shanghai and it was even translated into French for the French community there.

So that's kind of interesting. Great time to be creating content. Great time. She said because the extra time came up, I made use of it to catch up with some online learning and a super cool project that's so cool to hear about and she's advising that, keeping it, she's referencing that she and I were working together privately during this time and I would have to say that you would expect somebody to kind of fall apart... Your daughter. Like you would think personally you would not. Interestingly I noticed Calmer actually like feeling more in control. Some notes that I thought were really important for us to hear from somebody who's been there and done that at least a couple of weeks ahead of us.

Let's see, what other what you guys are saying over here. Lindsay said there's so much fresh food. Why aren't people buying it?

Because I know and also they're worried about storing it and everyone was, I've run a cleanse online for time. I opposed to start in mid April and now is when I've asked this might be better run like just in a different way. So instead of like, you know, we're all going to like drink our lemon water in the morning. Okay, you can't find lemons, whatever. Maybe it's different. Maybe it's like every morning we're going to do this deep breathing exercise and these two, I used to run a detox where I included breathing exercises and twists and you know, just things to help the body feel better and work better. That didn't require you having a particular product or a particular food from the grocery store. Everybody could cut back on sugar. That just requires not buying sugar. I say just, we all know that's a challenge, but I wonder if you could modify the program that you're running so that it does work for everybody.

Right now. Jacqueline says the zoom free account is being upgraded during COVID-19 two okay, great. Awesome. For me, it was zoom webinars. It just is like they don't exist. I couldn't access my zoom webinars at all. We'll see what happens. Danielle says, I second the social media idea. I'm new and working on my brand and image. This is giving me the time to focus on what I really want to say and is encouraging me to be more open and vulnerable. Awesome. Yeah, I was kind of thinking that when I do these Facebook lives this week, the new Facebook lives that I'm starting to do for my, she's got power audience instead of doing them here in my studio where I normally do my work because you know, all the lighting's good and I have my whole setup. I might actually just bring my laptop up to my couch and do it from there.

So it feels a little bit more like, Hey, hi, I'm a real person too. This is my couch. It is a time to kind of, yes, show vulnerability. Show your humanity. We're not all like polished and perfect. You know where people who have two rolls of toilet paper left, please send me toilet paper. Christina says my business region sales have gone up so far. Yeah Christina! Thank you for sharing that. Cassandra says, I was planning to create my first course focused on stress management and grounding for nurses, but now that the virus is escalating, I decided to create my first course around using essential oils for stress and antiviral protection. Okay. All, I mean, any of that sounds good for nurses or anyone. And Christina says, I've introduced acute consults as well, which has worked great and helping people with their chronic [sound cuts here].