If you have a business that requires you to be there in person, the pandemic most likely caused a nosedive in revenue. The only good thing about that is knowing you weren’t alone. Over 100,000 businesses shut down due to COVID-19 – brick and mortar businesses getting hit the hardest.
Some business owners pivoted quickly and were able to save their businesses. Shannon Confair, a brand photographer and strategist, quickly felt the impact of social distancing in her photography business, so she decided to do virtual brand photoshoots.
“Honestly, I doubted they would even work,” admitted Confair. “However, I knew I had to try something to keep my business afloat in the long-term.
“The first few were a bit clunky, but then I learned some tricks and fell into a rhythm. These shoots take place over FaceTime. I tell my clients how to position their ‘camera,’ and I pose them just like I would at an in-person shoot. I edit the photos and deliver them in an online gallery.
“My clients ended up loving the virtual shoots. These images are being used for social media content, as author photos on books, headshots for websites, and even in major international publications such as Forbes. Because they are so quick, easy, and affordable, I have clients booking them monthly and quarterly so they have consistent, fresh photos for their content.
“If I would have listened to the part of my brain that was telling me these wouldn’t work, or had I stayed stuck in a negative mindset lamenting what I lost with the shutdown, I would have lost out on so many amazing opportunities.”
I was so intrigued by her ingenuity, that I asked Shannon for her top three tips for making such a pivot when something unexpected hits your business. Here they are.
1. Be Mentally Ready From The Get-Go
In an uncertain world one thing is surely certain; change is inevitable.
While none of us could have ever predicted a global pandemic bringing our lives and businesses to a screeching halt, there are many other things that can disrupt our life and business. Health problems, pregnancy, divorce.
So how do we mentally prepare for the changes in our lives?
“Build your ‘future vision’ muscle. This is a subconscious hack that will get your brain on board with creating the reality you desire in any circumstance instead of it focusing on everything it perceives as going wrong,” notes Confair. “Have clarity on what you desire in your life and businesses, and make it a daily practice to connect to that vision using all of your senses. What will it look and feel like when your vision becomes your reality? Journal it out as if it’s happening now. Know that it will be this or better for your life.”
When a stumbling block comes your way, re-imagine your life on the other side. Your brain will already be used to this practice, so you will be better at adapting to whatever new reality you are facing, and will be able to focus on bringing your new future into existence.
2. Be Financially Ready
“In 2019, I started loosely following the Profit First Model in my business finances. I had several bank accounts, including one for my ‘future pay,’ one for taxes, and one for business expenses. If you’re a service provider, figure out ways to bring in recurring revenue that don’t require you to seek out new clients,” suggests Confair. “Get your clients on payment plans so you have a steady stream of income. Have an option for some kind of subscription or membership that will bring in recurring revenue.”
Don’t rely on just one income stream, which is a mistake a lot of entrepreneurs had made. Diversify your offerings so you aren’t completely sunk when something unexpected hits.
3. Get Creative And Be Open-Minded
“One of my favorite mantras is ‘flexibility wins.’ As entrepreneurs we must be able to adapt, even when it hurts. Even when it’s scary,” notes Confair. “Pre-Covid, I had built a highly successful business traveling to my clients all over the U.S. and even internationally for their brand photoshoots. When my main source of income was taken away, I had to figure out another way to make money and stay relevant, quickly. Which is how I came up with the idea to do virtual photoshoots.
“I do want to share a final word on change and pivoting in your life and business. It can hurt. A lot. While the tips I gave above will help you to find success again, it is also okay (and important) to allow yourself time to grieve. The key is, to move through your grief and not stay stuck in it so that you can come out even stronger on the other side.”