How to Adapt Your Business to a Virtual World
Today is the first day in a year and a half that I find myself at home and alone (okay, so there was that one the other day, but I forget how that happened, and yes, it was magical, but this is different.).
Today is the first day of school.
I have to admit there were some teary eyes, both last night and this morning. When I got home after dropping my kids off, I didn’t quite know what to do with myself besides make sure I got a second cup of coffee. So, I made that cup of coffee, wandered outside for a walk around my neighborhood, cleared my head, and when I returned to my front door, I realized the very best thing for me to do was to sit down at my computer and write. So here you go.
This year (and certainly the one before it) has been fraught with uncertainty and change. There was a moment early in the summer where I actually started making plans again. And then… just like that, it felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me. I watched as schools that started a month before today began to send kids home in droves to quarantine. Entire classrooms and even whole schools were going back to virtual learning after less than a month in session.
After moving my business to a new city, I was excited about getting out and meeting people, attending networking events, showing up at charity auctions, and planning a big debut photography event to introduce myself to a new market. It was a good plan – but all I could think about was when and how the quarantine would hit my kids’ school, if my kids under 12 might get sick, or if the brand-new studio space I had constructed in my house would suddenly turn into a virtual schoolroom.
Once again, at least in my head, everything came to a screeching halt. I could see it all unfolding before me even though it hadn’t happened yet. Today I sent my kids to school, hoping they’d stay there and worrying they wouldn’t.
So, how do we keep doing this? How do we operate in a world with so much uncertainty? We are back to reading articles in Inc and Forbes about how to Covid-proof your business when we were supposed to be done with that.
If you feel a little bit angry, a little bit sad – those are valid emotions right now. Feel them and then reset. Go for that walk, make that cup of coffee, and then pull up to the table. It’s time to get to work.
If there was a “business word of 2020” it would have been “pivot”. Everyone everywhere was talking about pivoting. There were entire courses related to how to pivot. Businesses that had been doing one thing began doing an entirely different thing. And it was generally good. It was necessary. In some cases, it was the only thing that kept the lights on and the doors open. But we can’t keep pivoting forever. That’s unsustainable. Instead, we must adapt.
When we pivot, we turn away from one thing and towards something else. When we adapt, we take what we already have and change it to meet the current circumstances and environment. What that looks like for my business might be different from yours, but I want to share a little bit of what I’m doing in hopes that it can spark some ideas for how to get through this next phase.
When we adapt, we do so to solve a problem, and here’s mine. Most of the services I offer at Worthwhile Media take me away from home and require my physical presence to perform. I may not be able to leave home because of quarantine or the need to assist my children with virtual school who are too young to really be successful at that on their own. (Mamas, you know what I’m talking about.)
Now I do believe that there are multiple ways to solve a problem. For my specific problem, I could hire a nanny or teacher to help with schooling, get my kids set up in a pod at someone else’s house, or just take a break from things until all of this is over. In these options, I would adapt how I operate outside my business, while the business itself doesn’t change. For some, this might be the best solution. We can adapt our life to meet the demands of our business and there is no shame or guilt if this is what we choose to do. In fact, this is how I operated last year.
But I’m tired. I’m tired of the pull, tired of not knowing what’s coming next, and tired of wondering whether I’ll be able to meet the demands of my business when life’s circumstances are always changing. And so, I’ve made a choice. It’s time to adapt my business to meet the demands of my life – and the good news is, it’s possible.
They say that if you can’t beat them, join them, and that’s exactly where I find myself today. Since everything else is going virtual, it’s time for me to show up there too. I’ve been thinking about offering digital products for a while now, but up until this point I’ve been too busy to get them together to sell. Now that I’m mostly unpacked from our recent move and I don’t have a ton of new clients lined up yet, it’s time to get busy on making this idea a reality. The beauty of digital products is that I can create them in my own time and sell them anytime from anywhere. If you find yourself like me, unsure of what the future holds, digital products are something you can have complete control over – choosing when, what, and how to create, market, and sell your offering.
There are so many options to choose from when it comes to creating a digital product. Chances are, you’ll be able to translate one or more of your current offerings into one or more of these digital options. Here is just a smattering of what’s available to you:
The list of digital products YOU can create is limited only by your imagination.
As for me, I truly enjoy teaching and have done so in person before and so sharing my knowledge and expertise through a digital course is an easy choice to make. I also have a special skill as a photographer and though I normally create custom work for individual clients, there is a subscription-based model in there for digital downloads of stock photos. Of course, I’d rather work with you one-on-one and create exactly what you need, but since I can’t be everywhere at once (and possibly nowhere but my house for the coming months), current and on-trend stock photography is the next best thing.
I have also realized that there are a few of my current offerings that can be purely virtual. I already offer content strategy consultations, content-writing, and have even started designing client’s websites.
In the past, I’ve spent most of my marketing efforts on pushing my photography services and offering these other options as upgrades or add-ons to any photography package a client might purchase. As another way to adapt, I can focus on advertising these services on their own, allowing me to reach an audience well beyond what I have locally and increase revenue all without leaving the house.
I’d be lying if I said it was easy to come to this conclusion. Do you remember I gave you permission to be angry? I was angry there too for a minute. And I was sad. All I wanted to do was crawl under the covers and keep refreshing the news feed until it showed me that vaccines were available for my kids (sorry, TMI? – I don’t think so, we’ve all been there.)
I was stuck like we all get occasionally, but after dropping my kids off today, still uncertain of what tomorrow will bring, I know what I must do.
I need to move forward and adapt.
How have you had to adapt over the past year and as you look forward to the coming months? What can you do to ensure your business keeps going, no matter what life throws at you? Let us know in the comments below!
P.S. this isn’t me you see in these photos! This is one of my amazing clients, Melissa Swaney, who knows all too well about the challenges of balancing mom-life and running a successful business. I created these images to help tell her story and now I’m using them to tell mine!
If you need help telling your story, please reach out! Yes, I’m creating digital products now, but I’m not done creating content and telling big stories for other people!
If you are interested in more tips and tricks for adapting your business, content creation, photography, etc., or are interested in the new products coming from Worthwhile Media, subscribe to our email list.
Worthwhile Media is a full-service branding agency focused on custom content creation through effective storytelling in the mediums of photography, video, and the written word. Offering subscription-based services and single photography and video sessions, they provide images and content for web, print, social media, and public relations. From headshots and banner reels to seasonal marketing campaigns, Worthwhile Media is available to meet all your content creation needs. Reach out today to schedule your free discovery consultation.