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“Forced” innovation in times of uncertainty

When I’m feeling especially tense and stressed (like in the beginning of shelter-in-place!) and my normal daily practices aren’t cutting it, one of my top self-care strategies is to book a relaxing massage. Of course with shelter-in-place measures and social distancing, that wasn’t an option.

Early on in my quarantine, I reached out to my friend Eugenia anyway and inquired if she’d be willing to do some virtual healing work with me in lieu of an in-person massage. And, low and behold she was already cooking up some online offers (they’re now up on her site)!

We met up on Zoom and she guided me through a very grounding personalized session that included some gentle yoga, breathing exercises and self-massage instructions. It was no surprise to me that her therapeutic gifts and supportive energy translated beautifully to a virtual experience. I left the session with the same kind of grounded feeling I’ve had after getting direct bodywork from her but I didn’t have to drive home under the (“blissed out”) influence and I learned some additional practices to add to my self-care routine. Cool to get some unexpected benefits of being forced to work with her in this new way.

Now, I don’t know if she would’ve created virtual offers if we weren’t under stay-at-home orders, but by golly, times of uncertainty, challenge and change certainly demand innovation from us, right?!

If you do mostly in-person work or you don’t do much business online yet, I’m wondering what this anecdote sparks for you?

Some in-person work adapts fairly easily to the virtual world (think therapy, coaching, or art instruction). But other folks like bodyworkers, hairstylists, portrait photographers, dog walkers, acupuncturists and doulas, just to name a few, may have to think outside the box to discover new ways to work within our current restrictions.

Here are some questions to help you think outside the box:

  • What are some related skills that might translate more easily online or to an info product? For example, perhaps a dog walker might be able to offer virtual private obedience training sessions with pet parents and their dogs. Or an acupuncturist can create resources that show clients some acupressure points that they can do themselves.
  • What are some tangential, adjacent or past skills that you can leverage now? Maybe you’re currently a yoga instructor but in your past life you were a bookkeeper and you can temporarily offer some bookkeeping or financial systems support to yoga studios that have had to move online classes and change their backend systems.
  • What are some fresh ways of looking at how you can deliver the same results, knowledge, or support through a different medium? And how can you trust in your own natural impact? If you focus on the benefits or how you want your client to feel, you might be surprised that there are other ways of getting to that same or close enough outcome. My session with Eugenia above is a great example of this. Eugenia just showed up as present and supportive as she always does and that is the core magic of her offerings. The delivery method almost doesn’t matter at that point. I’m just happy to have a way to work with her!
  • What’s something you’d love to do, but just haven’t had the chance to get to yet? When our normal routines get majorly disrupted like they are now, it can be a great opportunity to reset or try something new. Give yourself some space to experiment and play, even just for a bit. Allow yourself to be inspired and see where that takes you.
  • Who are some of your most creative, off-the-wall-thinking friends? Ask them to do a call with you to brainstorm or free associate some new ideas. Sometimes you’re so close to your work that it just takes an outside perspective to open up options.

If you’re like most people I’ve been hearing from during the pandemic, you’re wondering how to keep sharing your gifts and serving your peeps, while still tending to your needs as the ground continues to shift beneath us. I hope these examples and prompts have planted some seeds for some beautiful innovations to sprout and flourish.

If you need more support or guidance on how to package your know-how into digital products or virtual offerings, please check out my Product Development Playground. It includes a pandemic-response inspired Quick Start Guide with tips to get your Minimum Viable Product (read: quick and scrappy product) out there faster than you think with little to no cost.

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The Right-Brain Business Plan®