Jump Start Revenue Right Now

State governments are slowly allowing more businesses to open after what has been about a four month shutdown for something like half of U.S. businesses. It’s been rough slogging for many citizens, but for a chosen few, the shutdown has been a money-making bonanza.

A handful of Freelancers were gifted with a new way to rake in billable hours like my friend Matt, a techie who is now earning a small fortune running virtual meetings and webinars on platforms like Go-to-Meeting and Zoom for colleges and big companies.

Most Freelancers have faced a business slowdown but have managed to crawl along, sometimes by shifting their focus to services that can be sold during the pandemic, such as teaching virtual classes or writing. Some of us will be able to recover relatively quickly from the shutdown but others, in particular those in the weddings and special events sector, unfortunately must grapple with a steep uphill climb this year.

One thing for certain is that nearly every Freelancer and business owner needs a jump start right now to first, entice current customers to return and second, to recruit new customers. Nothing that I recommend here is new or earth-shattering. The main thing to remember about business strategy—- and the Harvard Business School will back me up on this—-is that one must execute.

The most revolutionary strategy to rock the planet will be useless unless you get busy and put it in motion. Taking action on even one or two items can positively impact your business within six months.

Keep marketing

Especially when billable hours become sparse, it is so tempting to pull back and succumb to the fetal position. A short- lived pity party won’t hurt you and it may be just what you need in the moment. Sometimes one has to lick the wounds. Ice cream helps. But after 3 – 4 weeks, it will be time to regroup and snap out of it.

Shake up your marketing activities by trying something that’s low or no- cost, or double down on your usual tactics, as you first reality test by making sure that the target audience has found you and what you’re putting out there resonates.

Might you know a colleague who hosts a podcast? Have you ever done a 30 minute guest spot? Do you have 2 – 3 topics that seem like a good fit for the listening audience? Even if you have just one potentially interesting podcast topic, make contact and pitch it. If you host a podcast, raise the bar on who you invite as guests as a way to increase your reach and build your brand. Who do you know with big social media followings and/or extensive newsletter or blog lists? Reach out and touch. This strategy also is effective for webinars.

Are you a writer? Thank goodness I was invited to submit a few more articles to Lioness Magazine, the digital magazine targeted for female entrepreneurs that I’ve written for since 2014. There are many digital magazines in the business theme space and all are hungry for good content. The pay may be low to nonexistent, but being a published author has always been smart marketing. http://LionessMagazine.com

Assess social media

In last week’s post we examined the best days & times to publish on a few popular platforms. This week, you can think about how to implement what you learned.

My guess is that you’re already using the platforms you intend to use. Still, rethinking where you’ve chosen to have a presence and an assessment of the ROI derived—-credibility?brand awareness? lead gen?—-is an essential exercise as you look for ways to push your organization out of the doldrums. Have you chosen the right platform for what you’d like to achieve? For that matter, have you chosen the right goals?

Education

Whether you receive the education or deliver it, you and your business stand to benefit. Search for free classes on LinkedIn. Lots of them are worthwhile and all of them provide a certificate that can be uploaded to your profile to make you look smart and ambitious. In the Fall when schools reopen you can explore semester long (online) classes that will enhance your credibility to clients.

As well, take advantage of the COVID-19 attendance limits that are still widely enforced and compel networking organizations to go all-virtual and inquire as to who might invite you to present a short skills building workshop or give your expert opinion on some aspect of doing business.

These organizations are under significant pressure to remain relevant to their members and if you are a member, the organization managers will probably invite you in. It’s more than likely that you won’t get paid, but you’ll have an announcement that will be oh so perfect for your blog, newsletter and social media accounts and that is just the kind of business jump starting strategy that we’re talking about here!

Thanks for reading,

Kim

Photograph: Kim Clark. The twice weekly farmer’s market at Copley Square reopened last Friday, with strict anti-coronavirus measures.

Presenting a Webinar

Last Wednesday I presented my first (and perhaps only) webinar.   To prove to myself and the world that I’m capable of presenting a webinar made it a worthwhile experience,  although I suspect that there will be no tangible benefit derived.  I was not paid to present (same old story, hey?).  So far,  the only follow-up has been a guy who wrote to me looking for free advice (of course!).

Nonprofit Webinars offers free one hour presentations each week and the selection is very good.  My topic was  “A Business Plan for Your Nonprofit”.  If you’re interested,  please visit   http://nonprofitwebinars.com   and you will be able to access my presentation,  plus several others.  Maybe you can explore the possibility of presenting a webinar yourself?

Putting together the presentation text was not a huge chore,  since I teach business plan writing on a regular basis.  The challenge was editing down a 6 hour workshop to less than one hour (to allow for a Q & A session) and adapting the focus to a nonprofit,  rather than for-profit, venture.

The part I hated was creating the Power Points.  I am no graphic artist and I resent that audiences expect as much graphics works as they do content.  My feeling is that a webinar is like radio.  Content is king and graphic art is the chorus.  The mere thought of producing graphic art work caused me severe stress.  But I had to do the deed.

I found out how to get free online images and registered myself at Morguefile  http://morguefile.com ,  which has hundreds of very decent high-resolution photos available for download to your desktop.  A respectable number of them were applicable to my topic.  I chose photos that were interesting and somewhat ironic or amusing,  yet still related to my topic.

High resolution photos present a problem,  though,  because too many photos cause your file to be too “heavy” to send as an attachment.  Thank goodness a friend who is proficient in producing customized Power Points shrank some of the images and combined with text on some slides and wrote text on top of other photos.  She also used the Power Point animation feature,  which I know exists,  yet was totally unable to figure out.  As I said,  graphics work is not my forte.

On webinar day,  there were technical issues to surmount.  Go-to-Webinar refused to download in Internet Explorer,  but thank goodness I also have Firefox.  Second,  one is supposed to speak into a land line with a headset.  I had neither,  but my iPhone 4 gave good sound quality,  according to the moderator,  and it was better without the headset.

I rehearsed,  but I could have done more  (my schedule went crazy).  I got a little nervous and talked somewhat too fast.  I synched the slides,  the text and my voice over rather well.  I did my best to sound more conversational and less preachy because a webinar is radio,  with visuals.

I developed simple poll questions to help me know who in the audience had done business planning and strategic planning previously and I took questions at around the 15 minute mark and again at around 30 minutes.  I preferred to address a few questions as I went along,  rather than holding all until the Q & A.  The moderator handles all questions and the presenter gives the answers.  I got some very good questions and I felt good about my answers.  I conveyed my expertise,  which was the objective.

Toward the end of Q & A,  my phone connection cut off and I had to dial back in,  which was frustrating.  I handled it like a trooper and traded some relaxed banter with the moderator.

So what grade would I give myself? A solid B.  If by some miracle I do this again,  I’ll make myself rehearse more.  Other than that,  I’m happy with my performance.  If only I could get a client out of it!

Thanks for reading,

Kim