Look I am not a public health expert, and I do tend to have a rather relaxed view of major scares like this…so no I am not stockpiling tinned food, or clearing the shelves of antibacterial gel.
But I am sitting at my desk feeling a bit smug knowing that 90% of my business can be done from my front room if it should get to the point that we can’t leave our homes.
I remember the days where as a freelance consultant and trainer I would be out every day delivering workshops, attending meetings, networking like my life depended on it (well it kind of did), I rarely sat at my desk, in fact I didn’t even have a website back then.
20 years ago I started my career as a freelance artist. I used drama, dance and video-making skills to help people (mainly young people) make sense of their lives.
Space, Place, and Identity were the themes I worked with.
I got my work through checking a website called ArtsJobs, and through word of mouth. My first paid job came via my old drama teacher, and then via contacts, I had made while working as an usher in a theatre, and then in a box office of an arts centre.
Freelance work seemed to just find me…and my rates went from £180 a day (which I used to think was loads) up to around £350 per day when I started doing much more consultancy on the London 2012 Games around community engagement.
I considered going back to freelance consultancy after being on maternity leave…but there were a few factors at play that made this more difficult.
- I had a new baby to look after
- I was a homeowner now and had serious bills to pay
- There were a million (Ok slight exaggeration) consultants now touting for work after the Olympics were over
- I figured with advances in technology there had to be an easier way
I had been writing a fitness blog for a few years while working on the games. All of the sports hype around the Olympics had been infectious and I had somehow become a runner…and had a blog about running in a larger body which women all around the world seemed to like.
But the business model for bloggers, and even personal trainers or physical activity experts just didn’t feel like a good fit for me.
- A business that was scaleable
- A business that I could run predominantly from home, or while travelling to cool places
- A business that could help thousands of people worldwide
- A business where I wasn’t chasing unpaid invoices
- A business which gave me the freedom to shake things up every few months
And I can safely say I have all of that.
There are lots of industries being affected by the Corona Virus…and a lot of fear surrounding what will happen next as it spreads.
But I also think there are other factors at play without a global health scare to consider.
The environment for a start. We are becoming a lot more aware of the impact of travel, not only overseas travel but even the day to day running around to meet clients.
Then there is the need for flexible working. It is a long time since I have worked a 9-5 job, but having a small person in school means to some extent I am tied down to set hours Monday to Friday…but then there are these whopping big blocks of time called “School Holidays” that pop up every few weeks.
I have less time available than ever to earn a crust, yet we live in the most extraordinary of times where the technology exists to enable us to fully leverage our skills, experience and expertise to never have to leave our front doors again….and still be able to make a good living.
At the weekend my sister broke her ankle, and is currently still in the hospital recovering from major surgery…I have taken on her 11 year old son for the time being with just a few adjustments to my schedule.
It got me thinking that if I was to break my ankle or do me some other kind of damage to incapacitate me (a real risk as I am a marathon runner and CrossFit junkie after all) I could pretty much still serve the majority of my clients and make enough money to live on.
Yes I do in-person events, media appearances and speaking gigs…and I love to network in person…but 80% of my income comes from my online programmes.
One of the things I love about the online world is the speed to market.
Idea Monday, sales page up and running and clients buying by Wednesday…and once you have a tribe of followers and fans who like your style and need the stuff you are offering, they often come back time and time again.
So here’s my thinking.
While everyone is a panic about what will or will happen in the world. Why not take some time today to think about how you could take aspects of your business online, and give me a shout if you’d like to hear about how I might be able to help you.
I currently have 10 small business owners doing the beta round of this programme, we have a group call at 1pm today.
This morning I am supporting 20 small business owners to be more productive, we are in the middle of a 2-hour implementation session where we are literally getting the important shit done together.
And then this afternoon I have my 5 VIP clients joining me for a coaching call.
Anyone would think I am a bit of a recluse…that’s not true, I have an evening appointment at the houses of parliament no less, for the launch of a media campaign I have been involved with.
I think the main message is DO NOT PANIC, and secondly, YOUR CLIENTS NEED YOU…so don’t let the Corona Virus or anything that is a slight inconvenient (like a broken ankle, kids, elderly parents, not liking having to wear a bra and leaving the house) get in the way of serving them.
Julie Creffield is a serial entrepreneur and business strategist. Her no-nonsense advice and support helps thousands of clients around the world to think bigger and stop making excuses so that they can design and live a more fulfilling life.
90% of her work is done virtually, but one Friday a month she meets with clients in her favourite gastro pub in London for a day called Stop Playing Small…the next one is on Friday 27th March and you can book a spot here.