My ability to generate revenue was slammed — I ran 19 live events in 2019 in Melbourne and a number of events overseas. Then the pandemic hit. And just like a huge number of people and businesses, Hamish (my husband and business partner) and I found ourselves in a really hard place.
We couldn’t run the live events that we had promised our members; they get access to six live events per year as a part of their membership. If we couldn’t even deliver to our existing customers, how could we possibly grow our community and impact more women?
To make matters worse, this was a time when our community needed us to step up more than ever. The pandemic hit and — boom, everyone’s lives were turned upside down.
Women were screaming out for reassurance, guidance and support. We, of course, felt terrible. We were unsure of how we would keep the clients and community connected, and also confused on how we could maintain our program and keep the culture of what we had built alive. And financially? We were petrified!
As it turns out, 2020 was one of the best years we’ve had (financially) to date. We expanded — big time. We employed more staff and contractors. I wrote my first book! And our revenue for this increased by 137 per cent on the previous year.
Here’s how we did it
1. We committed to serve, serve, serve
We decided the best thing we could do was to serve our community and create lots of free relevant content. We ran live (virtual) workshops on how to manage their mind and thoughts and deal with the uncertainty and anxiety this pandemic brought.
We served lots of people around the world for free in a time when the world needed it the most, and our audience responded by sharing everything we were creating.
The more we created and shared, the more people became aware of my work and started to look for what else we had to offer.
This built much more genuine awareness and interest in our community and encouraged people from all over the world to sign up for our paid programs.
2. We ramped up on our online programs
This is a pivot that almost all businesses were forced into in one way or another. But we decided to go all-in when marketing our online program.
We have a program that runs in-person in Australia, and we’ve created an online version of the exact same content for those who don’t live here. We decided to ramp up the marketing for this online offering.
We ran targeted social media marketing ads to let our ideal clients know that this program existed, in a time where the world needed this work more than ever — the whole program is about mindset, mental health and supporting women to let go of limiting beliefs so they can create the life they dream of.
We also offered a mini-course that was a bite-sized version of our larger offering, so those who couldn’t afford the full program could still get some support for their mental health and experience our work.
This was a really smart move, because most of them then joined the full program.
3. We offered payment relief
Right as the pandemic began, we emailed our clients before they contacted us and asked who needed financial relief?
Yep, we reached out to each of our clients and said if they were struggling financially, they could let us know so we could create a game plan or even pause payment for 60–90 days. I know this sounds crazy, but it actually strengthened our community even more.
By making contact first, it eliminated the failed payment percentage and it allowed us to discuss action plans on how we could support our clients moving forward, rather than them feeling ashamed or guilty about any aspect of it.
This contributed to our retention rate remaining at 100 per cent during the pandemic.
4. We implemented an extended 12-month payment plan
We knew that our clients were struggling not only with their mental health, but financially as well — one of the biggest worries during the pandemic was a fear of whether you would have a secure job or not. So, we knew that offering a payment plan option would support our customers.
I credit this move as the main reason we made six figures, as the cost of doing business with us was suddenly much more manageable.
5. We created a fundraiser for our community
Since so many needed financial relief, we raised $2,000 for the community, which we used to donate to women who genuinely needed help around the world because of the pandemic.
We also had two incredible clients within our program offer to pay the remaining balance of the program for three women who were unable to pay their way.
This really blew us away and it allowed us to create an even deeper connection within our community, which again led to retention and word of mouth for others to join our program.
6. Finally, as most businesses did — we pivoted
We identified that our success was being watched by other service-based businesses who wanted to grow their business the way we had. So, I decided to open up a new offering for women in service-based businesses — a mastermind program.
To be honest, I was nervous to ask for a five-figure investment when we were in the middle of a pandemic (June 2020). But I knew that these women in businesses needed help more than ever.
We launched this mastermind and sold out the available spots within a week. This helped us massively with cash flow, as it was the month before the end of financial year.
Some of the things I’ve shared maybe don’t seem like they would drive revenue, but what it came down to is that every single thing we did was about being of service. We were committed to creating community (which people were craving during COVID), and because of this, we came through when people the world over were having their darkest days.
Our program has been able to help thousands of women from all over the world — something that brings me far more pride and happiness than the financial gains.
Our business has grown more than ever because we have been committed to serving first. We put people and relationships over money every time, and therefore we make more money. The retention and loyalty and connected community we’ve created is what keeps us thriving, and we’re on track to smashing our financial goals again this year.
Erika Cramer is an award-winning international confidence coach and host of the Confidence Chronicles Podcast. She is also the author of the new book, Confidence Feels Like Sh!t.