Have you launched your coaching or course creation business in the last year, in the middle of a pandemic? Have you learned that you can not only survive, but actually thrive? In today's episode we're going to dive into the winners and the losers of the pandemic and why you are best placed right now to build your business - more than you've ever been before.
As I’m recording this episode it's March of 2021 and we've been through a year now of the global pandemic of COVID-19. Before I jump into covering the economic situation – and certainly the massive advantages that I've personally seen from the pandemic, which I'm sure that you can recognise too - I just want to take a minute to reflect on the deep sadness of so many aspects of the pandemic.
The scale of loss of life over the pandemic period has been something that, as a generation, we could never have anticipated.
From a personal perspective we lost my dear mother-in-law back in April 2020 from COVID-19, so we felt that impact very sharply and my thoughts are with everyone who’s lost someone they've loved over this period. Many have been left with long-term effects of illness, and indeed the loneliness and isolation have had a massive effect for so many people - not least our children who have been home from school for a considerable amount of time in nearly all places on the planet. My own kids being home for such a long length of time has meant that they've missed their friends and missed out on a great amount of education. I console myself of course that they're in the same boat as their peers, but nonetheless - particularly for my teenager, who's 17 going on 18 - this has been one of the most difficult times and difficult ages to be isolated and away from your peers, when you should be developing that independence.
Being in the generation that I am in, I consider myself lucky, because I have been through such important parts of my life at a time where I could be free, and I could develop normally. My heart goes out to my daughter and the whole of her generation who are really missing out on a big part of their development. Nonetheless, my hopes are to the future and they will catch up fast, so I'm not going to worry long term.
Indeed, there are lots of positives that we need to consider when it comes to the pandemic. When it comes to business, there have been many winners as well as losers, so first let's have a quick look at the losers. No surprises, right? Travel has been massively impacted - airlines, cruises, hotels. They've been down so low and laid off so many people. I was laid off in early 2020 from the advertising industry because advertising revenues plummeted. My main client was actually a travel client who stopped spending immediately. Clearly so many firms in these industries could not keep people on any longer.
In fact, the unemployment rates across the globe have soared, not least in small businesses – restaurants, hair salons, anything involved with events - where millions of job losses have taken place. However, there have been some massive winners and these winners are massively relevant for us too. Let's take a look at them. First up, gaming and tech. Did you know that Disney+ added an extra 87 million subscribers last year, the Nintendo Switch sold out and we've seen record growth from Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google, Netflix, and Zoom? I mean, who even used Zoom before the pandemic, and now I probably spend the majority of my day on there! It’s become both a noun and a verb, it's like, have you Zoomed? It's just incredible how much our lives have changed because of course now we're working from home. That adaptation means that delivery services have soared - Uber earned more from its UberEats branch than it did from its ride sharing.
What about home workouts too? I had never even heard of Peloton before the pandemic and now their revenues have more than doubled. If you haven't heard of it, it's an interactive fitness bike that has gained massive popularity in the past year and so many people I know have one. I personally don't, but I'm not going to rule it out. Pet companies have also profited as demand for pets has soared and now 87% of US households actually have a pet. In fact, we adopted our cat Olive in the middle of the pandemic last year and now I'm after a puppy. My husband has tentatively agreed to it, so that's on the cards for us in 2021. As an office worker who used to commute into my advertising agency in the center of London every day, there's no way I would have ever got pets – certainly not a cat, never a dog. It just would never have happened. Now, much like many other people, I am realising that our lives have changed. We work from home and because of that our behaviour has changed and that behaviour change is actually what I want to get into now.
One of the biggest trends that has changed so much, happening over the last few years but increasing tremendously over the pandemic period, has been the knowledge broker industry.
You and I live and work within this industry and people are now learning from home in their droves. It's a $355 million a day industry. People are now confident to start learning online independently. They're not looking for big companies, big established firms to teach them things - they're looking for real human individuals who have learned that themselves and who can share their knowledge. This is an industry full of people sharing their experiences, skills, hobbies, and expertise, and they're being increasingly purpose driven.
That's another side effect of the pandemic - finally, more and more people are starting to feel from their hearts. They're starting to care. It's like there's a shift in global consciousness.
There are things that matter more than materialism or your status - it's about how you can help, how you can serve. It’s about learning things that actually help you grow spiritually, with your health and with your emotions, not just with your bank account. These are the skills that we have. This is our time, and our skills are now needed more than ever before. Let's have a think about the effects of the pandemic. Let's think how it's affected so many people with mental health, boredom, lack of connection, loneliness, the need for community, their physical health and wellness, their finances. The list goes on and on about things that people need now, more than ever before.
Let's talk about skills and hobbies. A third of people have taken up a new hobby since lockdown and the top five hobbies are apparently walking, reading, exercising, gardening, and cooking. Anything that you have that's a hobby is something that's now in demand. Other hobbies that people are taking up in their droves include writing and journaling, crafting, learning music, and learning how to knit. In fact, a resurgence of miniature railway model-making meant that Hornby ran out for the first time in their 71-year history! So, if your skills and your new business are focused on any of these areas - whether you can help someone develop their financial future, help them meditate or improve their physical fitness, whether you're a business coach who can help them develop their business skills, like me, or whether it's a matter of simply solving their problem of boredom - this is now your time. It's so essential just to understand how you can help, because this is where your business is going to thrive. Look at what you do and look at what people need, because your services are the bit that exists in between those two things. You're the vehicle taking them from a point where they need something, to the point that meets their needs, their wants, and their desires.
Indeed, the other great thing about the pandemic when it comes to business, is that we now have the tools - more than ever before - to build our businesses, to create that success, to thrive.
As I said, at the beginning, more people are using Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok than ever before. New platforms have launched such as Clubhouse. Your perfect clients are here in enormous volumes. 96% of people say they now watch more video than they did before the pandemic and marketers are reporting that they're getting more effective lead generation through social media than ever before. These are our marketing tools. This is how we create that resonance with our audiences and with our future clients and now we have the tools at our disposal. Anyone that's sat and looked through reels or spent an evening on Clubhouse or TikTok will testify that the engagement levels are through the roof. Whilst as a consumer it's a lot of fun, as a business owner and an entrepreneur in 2021 this is absolute gold for us - understanding where your perfect avatars gather within this social media matrix is the key for you.
The great news is that the opportunities are enormous. Finding your place, your social media platform, where your ideal clients gather and where you can communicate your content and your value, is going to absolutely unlock that future success for your business.
The delivery of our services is also easier now than ever before. Just look at the changes that have happened over the course of the pandemic. Let's look at Zoom for delivering. My personal one-to-one coaching business is one hundred percent Zoom-based, and I have never seen a person in real life face-to-face. I don't ever see a need to, not that I wouldn't love to meet up with you for a cup of tea, as I really, really would more than anything, but my business doesn't depend on it.
The number of platforms and choices we now have for hosting our digital courses, for example Kajabi or MemberVault, has also massively increased - we really have phenomenal choice. I've built my business from the bottom up since the pandemic struck by literally helping people get a foothold in the online business world. From a low point of being laid off from a 20-year career, to pivoting, to knowing that I can serve, that I can make money and I can make impact with an online business and helping people do the same, is something that has lit me up. It has made me realise that from the darkness of the pandemic has come light. For me, it exists here in the business world and from the new friends and connections I've made from the business that I'm growing, and I hope that you are seeing the same too.
If you need any help getting your online business off the ground or scaling in your first year, I’m here for you. Remember that to take advantage of the period that we're in, there are three key things. First of all, make sure you're solving a problem. Identify the way that things have changed, what people need, and be the solution. Secondly, create meaningful and valuable content that allows people to really understand what you offer and how you help them. Thirdly, be positive. Find the opportunities. I hope you've seen from my episode today that the opportunities are there. We are ready for them.
Now is our time. Take some action and step into the opportunities that are waiting for you in your special niche with your special talents.
Please subscribe to my podcast, leave me a review, and have an action-filled week. Take care. Bye now.