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If we were to play word association for 2020, I’d bet the very last word that comes to mind is “certainty”. Everything feels month-to-month, day-to-day. Many of us are watching our peers navigate big changes as we ourselves pivot and adapt. Whether it’s personally or professionally, we’re making decisions that we could’ve never predicted would be on our plates at the start of this year.
Maybe you are faced with a professional decision right now. If you are one of the millions of Americans out of work, or you’re a small business owner whose livelihood is at stake during a time of uncertainty, let me tell you this: You are worthy. You are enough. And the purpose you might’ve lost sight of could be sitting on the other side of your next pivot.
Pivoting is the theme of this conversation with my friend Amy Porterfield. You know, she was one of the voices I was listening to when I pivoted into the online course world, and I’m so excited to have her on the show once again to talk about the meaningful and even profitable pivots she’s seen during this season. If you walk away from this episode with only one thing, let it be your permission to pivot. These stories will paint what’s possible.
Showing Up in a Confusing Year
Amy has always been a leader for her students, and this year her students were looking to her for even more guidance and help when the uncertainty of doing business in a pandemic was the concern on the minds of so many entrepreneurs.
Amy told me the primary fear and question was around selling. Was it okay to show up and sell during a pandemic? She knew she had to actually show her students through her own actions, not just tell them how to navigate the new business environment. Amy launched a membership program the same week most of America was sent away from their offices and told to work from home. Peak pandemic.
“It made me a better leader because I was leading during uncertain times,” Amy reflected. “I’d never done that before.”
Amy’s Personal Pivots
“One of the most important pivots I made was moving from one topic to another,” Amy explained. “When people get into growing an online business, they’ll get to a point where they’ve outgrown a certain topic or they’re not lit up by that optic anymore… I want you to hear me that you have permission to change the direction you’re going.”
For Amy, it was a pivot from managing social media for clients to creating a Facebook marketing course. And when her students wanted a more robust program that covered Facebook, she expanded into that space. For the longest time she was known as a Facebook marketing expert. After a while, she realized she just didn’t want to teach about Facebook anymore.
“Three to four years into my business I gradually moved over to teaching people how to grow their email list and how to create a digital course from scratch,” she explained. With Amy’s experience building and creating online courses, this was a space that lit her up and that she wanted to pivot into.
That pivot wasn’t without fear. It was definitely scary for her. “But what’s important is that you will not survive in business unless you want to get up every morning wanting to teach what you know,” Amy explained.
Pivoting from Brick and Mortar to Online
Some of the most powerful pivots from one area of focus to another come from pure necessity. One of Amy’s students owns a brick and mortar organic skincare business. At the time of COVID, she had to furlough her entire staff and close down that store.
This student, named Kirsty, knew she could serve her customers in a new way while her core business was shut down. So, she created an online program about the seven chakras. This necessary pivot into online programs led to a $10,000 launch.
The beauty of that pivot, too, was it showed Kirsty she had other skills beyond running her store, and with the proof of concept that her clients were ready to invest in her programs, she can continue to build on those online offerings.
Pivot into New Revenue Streams
Another of Amy’s students is a farmer who wanted to expand revenue streams for her farm. Initially, she wanted to create a vegetable subscription box, and she came to Amy looking for marketing information.
The subscription box was a hit, but when COVID began to impact restaurants and by extension, other farmers and produce supplies, her peers were struggling. They didn’t have diversified income and so the economic impact of the pandemic was extreme.
That student decided she wanted to share what she knew about subscription boxes with these other farmers. However, she wasn’t sure how she felt about selling to a group of people who were already struggling financially. The key factor that pushed her forward was she knew she could make an enormous impact for these people with what she knew.
This farmer generated over $13,000 with her subscription box course. Her audience saw the opportunity to grow their business in new ways with the help of this program. Amy said of this student, “It takes a lot of courage to take what you’ve done and teach it to other people, but this is a perfect example of how a digital course is born.”
Pivots that Fit With Your Lifestyle
As a military wife, Amy’s student Anne Marie needed a career that went with her wherever she moved. She had a background in teaching English as a second language, and worked with students in a 1:1 coaching capacity.
Anne Marie realized that there was a very real limit to how people she could teach working one on one with clients. That realization was frustrating — trading time for dollars is limiting. So she decided to create a digital course. The challenge? Her launch date was April 2020. The peak of uncertainty in our world.
But she stuck to that launch date. And when she launched, she sold out in 14 hours and made $38,000 in that short period of time.
A digital course expands your impact and reach, as well as your income potential, when you’re not trading time for money or working one on one with clients.
Essentialism in 2020
There’s a lot of talk this year around how people are choosing to spend their money when financial insecurity is affecting so many. Shopping for needs versus wants is the general trend, but Amy has a unique perspective on this idea.
While this is generally true, Amy is seeing through the eyes of her students that needs are starting to mean feeling happy, secure, calm, or challenged by a new skill. Amy has students teaching things like quilting and pottery, and these programs are still being invested in by people during a time of “needs versus wants” shopping. These kinds of online courses are giving people a focus, a happy outlet, and a new challenge when we’re all stuck inside.
Online programs that provide an escape are a new type of need that maybe weren’t considered a necessity before this year.
Where to Begin with an Online Program
The common theme amongst all these stories is digital courses. Online programs have led to powerful, life changing pivots for Amy and myself, as well as the students that work through her Digital Course Academy each year.
But even if a digital course sounds like your next big step, I can already hear your objections piling on. Where do you even begin? What if you don’t know how to manage the tech side? How do you build a curriculum that will actually yield results for students? And what if I’m not ready to invest in myself and learn the skills I need to make it happen?
Amy’s got you covered. Hit play on this episode to hear how Amy can help you with the technical details, building a course that gets results, and why investing in yourself changes everything.
Amy’s Digital Course Academy only comes around once a year. Snag your seat in one of her free trainings to learn more about the behind the scenes of digital course creation at jennaplusamy.com.