Coping with unexpected change in your blogging business can be a huge challenge.
Realize though that there are things you can do to grow from a crisis — like the current COVID-19 pandemic — or difficult situation, even if you need to pivot your strategy.
In this episode of The Profitable Travel Blogger Podcast, I share:
- My opinion on how bloggers, influencers, and small business owners can emerge from hard times stronger
- Ideas for connecting more deeply with your audience during challenging times
- What I believe to be the most important trait for bloggers and business owners to have during a crisis
- The incredible breathing technique I use for instant calm and anxiety-relief
- Some of my favorite inspiring quotes
- And more!
That by the end of this episode, you feel inspired and empowered to confidently move forward and overcome any hardships that life throws at you.
Coping With Unexpected Change In Your Blogging Business – Podcast Episode Audio
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Dealing With Unexpected Situations In Your Blogging Business – Episode Transcript
At the time of recording this episode, which is March 18, 2020, the world is experiencing a pandemic, with the coronavirus (COVID-19) rapidly spreading across the globe.
While there are many reasons this is alarming, of course, the biggest being loss of life, for travel bloggers and others working in the travel industry, it’s also a challenging time because many will experience a loss of income, especially if we continue to do exactly what we were doing before when people were able to safely travel.
Now, let me start off by saying, I’m not a medical expert — and I definitely don’t intend to provide any medical advice in this episode. I’m also not a crisis management expert; however, I have been adapting my strategy to the current situation, as well as seeing what others have been doing to pivot and adapt during this very tough time.
Many of the bloggers in my community have been asking how exactly I’ve been doing this, so I wanted to share some of my own ideas.
Again, this is really just to give you some food for thought. Actually, if you have any additional advice I would absolutely love if you could share that in the comments of this blog post.
Also, note, that while I’m talking about coronavirus in this episode, the advice given is meant to be evergreen to benefit you during hard times in the future. Hopefully, there aren’t many, but just know that this advice is meant to be transferable to many situations.
Don’t Panic (Including Anxiety Relief Techniques)
Now to start I think it’s super important to first take a breath and remember not to panic.
Easier said than done, I know, but luckily there are so many free resources out there to help you stay calm — YouTube videos sharing relaxation techniques, free meditation apps like InsightTimer, content creators sharing free yoga classes (my favorite of which is Yoga with Adrienne, by the way).
One powerful way I calm myself when I feel stressed is to light a candle and do a 1:2 breathing technique.Feeling stressed about your blog? Try this #BreathingTechnique for instant anxiety relief! #TPTBPodcast
When you’re stressed, your breathing becomes shallow, and you can actually bring down your stress levels by changing the way you breathe.
To do this you choose a number for your inhale and then double that number for your exhale. So if you choose the number four, you’d breathe in for a count of four, and then breathe out for a count of eight.
If that’s uncomfortable, choose a lower number, that’s totally fine. If you’re feeling stressed right now feel free to even pause this episode and do a few rounds.
Fill Up Your Own Cup
Remember during times like these to also be gentle with yourself.
Personally, I’ve found this situation incredibly stressful, as along with the major health concerns associated with coronavirus, I am facing income loss with my NYC photo tour company, since everyone is canceling their trips. Plus, on a non-business note, my wedding is coming up and it’s really scary to think about the potential loss of emotional and financial investment related to that.
So anyway, when it started to become clear how big a deal this was, my first thought was to dive into work and focus on shifting my strategy.
But honestly, I found myself really upset and distracted, and that’s when I was like “Okay, pause, let’s light a candle, do a little meditation, do some deep breathing, journaling” — basically many of my Mindful Morning Routine activities. I also found it helpful to talk with my family and friends about how I’m feeling, and taking part in easy ways to volunteer from home.
And by taking the time to nourish myself, I felt stronger to then look toward my business and my community to think about them.
It’s kind of like when you’re on an airplane and they tell you that if there is a loss of oxygen to put on your own mask first before helping others. It’s not about being selfish; it’s about filling up your own cup first so that you then have more to pour into the cups of others.
I didn’t make up that metaphor, I wish I did, but I think it’s the perfect way to describe this idea.
Keep in mind, too, that when you show up and you’re feeling good and ready, those feelings will transfer onto what you create and put out there, and you’ll have an easier time helping others. Therefore, in my opinion, you really do want to get to this feel-good place before you move toward helping others.
Creating Space For Creativity
One note before I move onto that part of things:
With this current pandemic, many people are now working from home for the first time. As a blogger maybe you’ve been working from home already — or maybe you were working out of a cafe or a co-working space, and now you’re forced to work from home.
Or, maybe you’re in my position, where you live in Manhattan’s Upper East Side in a tiny apartment, and now your partner is working from home and you have to figure that out.Always remember to fill up your own cup first. Then, you'll be better equipped to fill up the cups of others! #TPTBPodcast #SelfCare
A tip I have for you — and I would include this piece of the puzzle with the mental health and self-care section — but my advice is to create a neat, inspiring, organized work area for you and whoever you live with to be productive and feel like you have space to be creative; like you’re not bogged down and heavy.
I mean, I know personally when my workspace is messy, it can really have a negative impact on stress and anxiety levels. And in a stressful time like now, you really want to be doing everything possible to combat this.
Re-Listen To Your Blog Community
Once you’re feeling good and light and organized, I think it’s really important to listen to your community — again.
Yes, you still want to focus on how to map out your blogging goals; however, I recommend forgetting the original research you did on your audience to pinpoint their problems and pain points.
Their needs will be much different now than they were prior to this pandemic. Especially for those of us covering travel, those epic travel guides and things-to-do listicles are not what people need right now.
So instead of pushing forward with what you’ve been planning to publish and promote, press pause, and think about how you can support your audience to create a new travel blog business plan.
This may mean flat out asking them; for instance, I’ve been seeing on social media many creators asking “What would help you right now?”
You might go to niche Facebook groups and forums, plenty of people are talking about this difficult current event, and see what concerns people have. Can you meet those concerns?
I’ll give a personal example:
I was planning on promoting a brand new small-group coaching product just a few days after so many cities started shutting down and things got really bad.
Things were clearly not — and are still clearly not — business as usual. To me it felt strange to just jump straight into selling.Here is a strategy for pivoting in your #blogging biz when things are no longer business as usual. #TravelBlogger
At the same time, I do realize there are bloggers in my community who will take this time when many of us are in quarantine to learn and re-focus.
So I thought about how people might be feeling:
Overwhelmed, scared, maybe even bored from being stuck at home; they may be missing travel or disappointed over lost vacation plans.
And what I decided was it would be fun to send postcards to those who wanted them, just to add a little bit of joy during this trying time and help bring travel to them.
In that email I also shared my promotional plans for March and April and gave people the opportunity to opt-out if they didn’t want to hear about them.
Finally, in that email, I included a video. To me, this felt more personal and connective, in a time when I think people are going to start feeling pretty alone.
Creating Connection During Hard Times
Another thing I’ve personally done is I’ve decided to move some of my Facebook Live storytelling events up to take place during this coronavirus quarantine. Again, I knew that the epic travel guides weren’t what should be being published right now, so I decided to ramp up my Inspiring Travelers series, which shares stories that can be enjoyed even by those not planning a trip.
And the Facebook Live aspect added a touch of connection and being able to sort of hang out with other people. Here are a few examples:
- How To Quit Your Job & Start A New Life Abroad
- How We Can Make Travel (& Travel Blogging) More Inclusive
- Why You Shouldn’t Wait To Live Your Dreams & Travel
By the way, not being able to leave the house aside for groceries and medical items is a huge pain point for many people right now, and I’ve seen such creative ways that bloggers and businesses are meeting them.
I’ve noticed everything from virtual happy hours and travel souvenir show-and-tells to fitness studios, art studios, and show venues live-streaming classes and performances. One community I’m a part of is even doing daily Facebook live-streams and is allowing their Facebook fans to propose topics to host on their channel.
I’ve seen creators hostings free challenges via email and social media for their audiences. Honestly, if you’re wondering how to use social media, this is a great strategy.
Moreover, I’ve also seen them starting Patreon accounts offering exclusive community perks that also help them keep the creator’s income coming in.
The Key To Your Blog Surviving & Thriving
It’s been incredibly inspiring to see how people have been coming together to make this easier for people, as well as how businesses and bloggers have been adapting.
And, in my opinion, this is really the key during times like this; being adaptable.
It can be challenging not to just want to sort of crawl under the covers and try to sleep until this is over. And while self-care and taking time to rest is important, a healthy business is adaptable to change because change is inevitable.
I mean, what we’re dealing with now is a very unusual type of change, but if it weren’t this there would likely be something else that would eventually lead you to need to pivot, either temporarily or completely, because life is fluid.
There is a quote that I love from Maya Angelou:
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”“If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.” - #MayaAngelou. Here is how to pivot your #blogging strategy during times of unexpected change!
While we can — and should be — taking the necessary steps to stop the spread of COVID-19, it will take time to change the current reality.
So what can you do in the meantime?
If possible, change the way you look at things, and try to come up with a new solution for meeting the needs of your community and showing up for them. Along the way, you may discover a new skill or an opportunity may arise that you’ve never expected, such as getting to connect with others on a deeper level since so many people are online right now and not leaving.
Again, this is just my two cents. I am not a medical or mental health professional of any kind; however, I am someone who has seen incredible growth in my own blogging business from focusing on mindset and attitude shifts, and I am someone who believes in the power of being adaptable.
An Important Reminder
To end this episode, I’m going to leave you with another quote, actually a proverb, as a reminder that even it all seems impossible, there can be incredible things waiting up ahead.
The proverb goes:
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”
On that note, I hope you enjoyed this episode. I know it was quite different from the usual strategy-packed format, but I hope it gave you even a small dose of inspiration or empowerment.
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