Episode #33: How to Be a Leader During an Unknown Time

DRIVEN: A podcast for modern entrepreneurs. How to Be a Leader During an Unknown Time

In today’s episode we’re talking about showing leadership in an unknown time, as well as how to pivot, when possible, to keep a stream of income going for yourself in the absence of face-to-face business.


Cassy Joy: Make sure folks know that you’re open for business. And this is one of those things where it sounds like a; “well, of course”, kind of comment. But I would never have thought about doing it if it hadn’t been put so plainly. If you have a business, and you are able to operate virtually, or remotely, with your clients and with your team, it’s very important right now to declare that to your readers and to your community. “Hey, we are open for business.” Period.

Welcome to Driven; a show about business, life, and wellness from two confident, curious women who are pulling back the curtain on what it’s like being an entrepreneur. Each week, join hosts Diane Sanfilippo and Cassy Joy Garcia talk about being your best, showing up for your dreams, and kicking self-doubt to the curb.

Diane is a business whisperer, best-selling author, and plant-hobbyist based in San Francisco. Cassy Joy is the founder of www.FedandFit.com, best-selling author, and casserole enthusiast. She calls San Antonio, Texas, home.

Cassy Joy: In today’s episode, we’re talking about showing leadership in an unknown time, as well as how to pivot when possible to keep a stream of income going for yourself in the absence of face-to-face business.

Topics:

  1. What’s on my plate [1:21]
  2. Shop Talk: Being a leader in this season [18:22]
  3. Consumer temperature check [31:13]
  4. Tip of The Week: Brainstorm pivots [44:41]

1.  What’s on my plate [1:21]

Diane Sanfilippo: What’s on My Plate. In this segment, we talk about what’s happening in our businesses, and in our lives for the week. Cassy, what’s going with you?

Cassy Joy: Well, these are bizzaro times that we’re in right now. Diane and I are recording; what is this? I’m just going to tell them actual date {laughs}. Today is March 25th. And much of the country is under a shelter in place ordinance, or mandate. And I think you and I have been sheltering in place on our own for over a week now. And really just working and trying to figure out how to compassionately run our businesses in this season. Support our customers, our clients; both of our businesses are even more different in this season from each other. And then being there for the individuals. Our family members, our friends who are experiencing all of the differences going on right now. Very serious.

And we thought that, although there is so much that can be said around the viral climate right now, and the impact across health, wellness, business, and economy, we thought it might be a great opportunity to just get together today and talk through some actionable things. Something we can do, those of us of the entrepreneurial spirit. So, anyway. That’s just kind of the tone for today’s episode.

But on a personal note, the other day; so as many of y’all probably already know, I am muy pregnant. {laughs} And that actually; having the baby right now really doesn’t provide me any more anxiety or stress than normal. I have a bunch of contingency plans in general. But the other day I did wake up after kind of pushing myself a little too much in creating these pivoting resources that we’re going to talk about today. And I woke up one morning; Diane, I don’t think I told you this, but I genuinely thought I was in early labor. And if it had been under any other circumstance, I probably should have gone to the hospital. But, also because this is my second baby. Because my contractions; y’all. I am not offering this as official medical advice. Please know that. Do not do as I did. Call your doctors.

But I woke up; and I’ve had Braxton-Hicks contractions a lot throughout this pregnancy. They’re very frequent. I have several an hour. And I woke up, and they were very, very frequent. Very frequent. And started to also kind of hurt a little bit. Which is more of a cramp than a contraction. And talked to my doctor. And we just were like; try fluids, and put your feet up for two hours. Which I didn’t realize was such a tall order for me {laughs} to sit still for two hours. {laughing} Minus bathroom breaks.

So everything slowed down, but it really; I think I was given that experience because I needed to go ahead and put some of my contingency plans and orders. Like; what are we going to do next? Because this is going to be different. It’s going to be very different than what we had originally planned to have this baby. Or it could be very different; we don’t really know. So there’s that.

And of course, working triple time right now to stay on top of not only the book, which is still due. Not only the content that we’re going to be building out currently, that we had already planned on. And then also building a maternity leave for my team, so that they have really wonderful jobs for the next three months while I’m gone. But also figuring out; how can we support our community of readers through this season, more than ever. So that’s just what we’ve been doing.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. So, over here {laughs}. I had this talk with team Balanced Bites on our weekly team call that we do on Mondays about; first and foremost, giving people permission to feel whatever it is that they’re going to be feeling right now. I know apprehension, and nervousness, and fear, and all of that kind of sets in for a lot of people. But I also try to always impart; I don’t know, just a different perspective of being sure that people are experiencing or practicing gratitude whenever possible.

And I know it sounds so cliché and woo-woo, and everyone wants to roll their eyes at it. But one of the things I’m trying to point out to people is; a lot of us are spending more time at home with our family members. Whether it’s kids home from school. Whether it’s your spouse that you previously did not spend a lot of time at home with. And I think being aware of the energy and attitude that we are putting into the room and into the house is really important. And that doesn’t mean that there’s not space and time to feel the feelings. Cry if you need to. Be upset. But I also really want people to be aware of how their own attitude and energy are affecting everyone around them. And just how important that is.

So, I don’t have an answer of like; here’s what to do. I just want to give people that perspective of; I get it that you’re upset and stressed. We all are, and we all process it differently. But I mean, I even said this to my husband. He can’t be at work. He may be able to find a way, in who knows how much time, to do things differently with his patients. For those of you who don’t know, he’s a chiropractor, so obviously he’s touching people and there’s a lot of contact and all of that. Maybe he’ll have a time where he spaces people out a lot more, where he can be spending more time washing his hands than he already did; sanitizing, etc., in between. But being able to care for people, because that is still something that’s potentially needed.

But for the first few days, it was like; he was really not feeling happy about it. And I get it. I was like; you’re allowed to not be happy. Your work is important. Helping people be out of pain, it’s really important. And I’m not devaluing that whatsoever. And your contribution to society.  But I said to him; I also need you to know that if this is going to be the energy for however long we’re doing this, it’s not going to be good. Because as an extrovert, I’m a sponge to your energy. And I was like; if what you’re bringing and carrying around the house all the time is this, it’s not going to work. So it was just kind of like; I need you to be aware of that, and whatever I can do to help. Whatever you might think of, that would be helpful for you, please let me know. But we need to find a different way. {laughs} you know?

I just want to share that with people. If you’re upset; be upset. But, be considerate. Because we’re all in this together. And we do need to do our best to; I don’t know. Just; it’s not a Pollyanna thing. it’s not; ignore the world. But I think I read a Yung Pueblo post; it’s this sense of finding inner peace. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about what’s happening or you’re not concerned. It just means you’re not going to radiate that to everyone around you. So, anyway. I just want to share that because I think it’s really important. And I think it’s important to have; it’s a sensitivity to those around you that you might not expect me to be aware of. It sounds a certain way, but I really think it’s a heightened sensitivity we need to have for each other and how we affect each other.

Cassy Joy: I love that, Diane. It’s something that I’ve thought about a lot; our attitudes and feelings are infectious. And I think you’re bringing up a very good; I hate to, I’m sorry, this is an inappropriate word.

Diane Sanfilippo: I know; I was thinking, how do we even go forward using the word “viral” in the future? When we talk about viral content.

Cassy Joy: Oh, man!

Diane Sanfilippo: I know. It’s tricky, right?

Cassy Joy: Oh gosh. Y’all, I caught myself in real time. Don’t edit that, Ginny! {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Look, we’re imperfect. It’s ok. I don’t know a better way to say it, but I hear you. Yes.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. Right now, presently, I can’t think of a better way to say it, either. But it’s something I’ve thought about a lot. Is just to remember that you are not on an island with your feelings and your attitude. And it is ok to be there, and feel all the things. But to just hold yourself responsible, and don’t let it necessarily become a runaway train. Especially while we are; like you are saying, while we are in quarantine with our significant others. Outside of this circumstance, what could you do? You could go for a walk. They could go for a walk. Right? We have other outlets. But when our outlets have to be within the confines; you know, our own walls, I think that’s a really good thing to be aware of. I love that.

Diane Sanfilippo: So San Francisco is basically a ghost town right now. I’ve been taking some photos of our street, which normally at peak traffic hours is packed with cars. There’s like one car, if that. And it’s really eerie. And I think for the first few days, none of us were really considering the deep impact of everything. But that, to me; whoo. I can see it and I can feel it. The air is a little cleaner. And we’re taking more walks. And you know; I’m trying to stay positive because we just don’t know. We have no idea what’s happening. We don’t know how long this is going to be. And I don’t want us to all emotionally erupt, if we find out what we thought it was going to be it’s not. We just have no idea. We’re all going through something that’s happening in this country that’s literally once in a lifetime, if not less frequent. Right?

Cassy Joy: Let’s hope. Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m just saying; it’s not a thing that anybody really knows how to deal with. So anyway. On that note, I will say, as strange as this is. And I mentioned this; you and I did a live video. And I don’t know if we’ll be able to share it somewhere after the fact; we’ll see what happens. But Balanced Bites meals, as some of you might imagine, we’re having some of our biggest weeks ever. And I’m so grateful for that. I am not celebratory, because it sucks. It sucks that this is the reason for that massive uptick. I was really nervous about whether or not FedEx would be delivering the packages on time, because that first week we probably had, I would say close to triple our normal business in this one week. The very first week. And then it’s been maybe around two to three times typical business since that first week. And I was very, very nervous that they wouldn’t be able to deliver.

And then when I think about how many extra packages that is into the flow, I’m like; it’s really not that many, Diane. Calm yourself. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m not talking about 10,000 extra packages. You know; we’re talking in multiples of hundreds here. But I was really nervous, and I actually didn’t want to talk too much about Balanced Bites being open and operational, just in case we had this experience where; let’s say 10s of boxes were spoiling out because FedEx wouldn’t deliver them on time. And look; we don’t have any control of that. Once it leaves the kitchen, it’s in their hands, and we just have to hope that it’s going to get there.

And I do think there has been an uptick in just deliveries in general. But at the same time, most of those systems, and the infrastructure in place for those; I think it’s built to swell at times. Like, over the holidays, obviously, business doubles, triples, quadruples. And they have ways of managing that. And I think that’s hopefully what’s happening with deliveries.

That being said, we are fully operational. So if you’re somebody who is working from home, you can order meals. I mean, we’re ordering them pretty much every week because we’re leaning on them very significantly to make sure that we have protein. I know protein is something that people are not able to as easily get their hands on what they want. But one thing that has been on my heart for a really long time with all of my businesses is; how do I have a way to bring in revenue, but also find a way that feels good to me to give back. And especially at this time. I can’t just have a business that’s doing well and not find a way to say; we’re not just going to keep all this for us. That’s crazy. I’m not somebody who is like Scrooge McDuck; let’s pile up the coins and go swimming in them. {laughs} Do you guys know? Duck Tales?

Cassy Joy: Oh, yeah. Heck yeah. I’m with you.

Diane Sanfilippo: Are you with me? I’m tracking?

Cassy Joy: Oh yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m not a millennial, so I don’t know if our millennials remember Scrooge McDuck.

Cassy Joy: I’m an elder millennial. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. But you know, I had to find a way to say; what can I do? So what we’re doing, as a company. And you guys, I am not the best numbers person. I hope your husband doesn’t listen to these things, Cassy. I’m not the best numbers person. I don’t know where we’re at with; ok, what’s a comfortable number that we can donate? But I was like, here’s what feels right for me initially. We’re going to be donating $5,000 worth of meals to health care workers in affected areas. So I’m having folks submit requests. You know, I expect people to be honest in submitting, as they need.

And listen; if there’s anyone who is a martyr and not say they need help, it’s the healthcare work. They’re like, no., no. We’re inundated over here, but I don’t need the help. Send it to someone else. Right? Like the sweetest, most generous people in the world. But I know that many of you have said; your sister, your uncle, your cousin, your best friend, whoever. Because they’re probably not watching Instagram stories. Right? But we’re doing that. We’re getting meals out. So we’re collecting up names right now. And hopefully with orders next week, we’ll be able to start getting people in who we’re shipping out to. And I’ve set up a way for you guys to donate starting at $5. One meal is around $15, but I started it at $5 because I know that people want a tangible way to help.

And what I want you guys to hear is also that if you had been thinking of trying to donate, even a box of meals. Which is 10 meals. If you go through the donate avenue, versus buying a gift card or buying the box yourself, you’re going to get more for your money this way. It’s not a recognized charitable donation at this point. But I’m taking whatever that dollar amount is and applying at my cost. So it’s not this huge discrepancy between the cost and the retail price, but what I’m saying is your $100-150 that you would spend at retail is going to go further if you just click in as a donation than if you buy it. Does that make sense?

Cassy Joy: That makes sense.

Diane Sanfilippo: Because I’m just saying; whatever that dollar amount is, I’m directly paying it to the kitchens and what I have to pay at my price. So we’re going to be able to get more meals into more people’s hands. I want these healthcare workers to feel like there’s a hug for them. Somebody cares that they’re getting a really nutritious meal. And they’re all vacuum sealed, so if people need to spray it down with alcohol and like wipe it down, they can do that. It’s the best of every possibility that we could use. And I really like the idea of having a tangible thing that I can send somebody that is a resource that people want and need. I don’t have masks, but I do have food. So we can do that.

And this has definitely cracked open for me a way to think about; what can I do to consistently have a social mission. This is something we’ve learned working with Beautycounter. Having a social mission with your company is a really important thing. you do well by doing good; you do well while doing good. Whatever it is. Having a way to say; maybe it’s every purchase that somebody makes, a certain percentage is going to an organization. Or it’s going towards one meal. Whatever it’s going to be to give back to other people. Because I just feel very, very called to make that happen. and this has been, for me, a push to say; just find a way, Diane. Whatever it is.

The solution I found to putting this $5 thing on the site; it’s not perfect. There are weird things about the website that make it a little tricky. But if you go to the home page, you can put whatever amount, $5 and up, and just go right to checkout. Don’t put it in your cart, because if it’s less than $50 it’s going to give you a little glitch, because we have this whole thing on the site. But you know, it was like; I could either wait until it’s perfect or I can just get it out there and give people a way to give back. So anyway.

Cassy Joy: This is the season to go ugly early if there ever was one. For sure.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: I’m sorry.

Diane Sanfilippo: No, I’m just really glad that we have something. it is still operational. And I’m like; ok, let’s get in there and get this food into people’s hands. Because it’s happening.

Cassy Joy: That’s wonderful. I’m really, really glad you’re doing it. And we’ll talk about a few more pivots in a little bit; ideas of maybe some things that you can apply in your own business. Because odds are, you might be the only one with a food business right now {laughs}. But there are things that all of us can do within the same spirit of giving back right now and being really generous.

2.  Shop Talk: Being a leader in this season [18:22]

Diane Sanfilippo: Shop Talk. In this segment, we’ll talk about topics that are on both our minds and yours. We’ll cover all sides of the issue, and hopefully land somewhere concise, actionable, and helpful. This week we’re talking about the current business and economic climate with which we’re faced, given the Coronavirus pandemic, and how to proceed.

So, Cassy, why don’t you kick us off a little bit. We’re talking a bit about how to be a leader, and then we’re also going to get into some practical ideas and ways for you to move forward.

Cassy Joy: Ok. So how to be a leader right now. Yeah, we really; if you caught our Instagram live on Diane’s page, you heard a preview of this. But I think it’s as important as every right now, whether you feel like you have a leadership position in business or not, to realize that you actually do. You are a leader to your readers, to anybody watching you operate your business. You are a leader if you have a team of people that you work with, of course. Whether they’re contractors or employees. And you are a leader to, if you are working in a direct retail or direct sales business. You are a leader to the folks that are on your team there, as well.

So, that’s really the spirit with which we wanted to talk about. How to be a leader in this season when there is so much unknown. And I think something that so many folks; like I said earlier. Now is the time to go ugly early more than ever. I think it’s important to pause and try to be as polished and professional as possible. But realize that it’s ok that we don’t have all of the information and the information changes on the daily. And I think it’s important to first, number one, acknowledge the climate and say that’s opening. What’s going on right now? What’s going on in the world and address that with, let’s just say, your consumers at large and your team at large. I think that going blindly into business as if nothing is going on in the world, that there isn’t this pandemic and we don’t know where anything is headed right now. I think that to just turn a blind eye to that would be really; I think it would be a massive misstep. So acknowledge the climate. And that might help clear the air around any kind of misgivings or misfeelings you might have about it.

Diane, this is a great note. This is hers, I’ll go ahead and read it for you. But it’s; make sure folks know that you’re open for business. And this is one of those things where it sounds like a, “Well of course” kind of comment. But I would never have thought about doing it if it hadn’t been put so plainly. If you have a business, and you are able to operate virtually or remotely with your clients, and with your team, it’s very important right now to declare that to your readers and to your community. “Hey, we are open for business.” Period.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. And people might not know if you offer service; maybe you’re a health coach. People might not know if your kids are home from school, and maybe you’ve put your coaching business on the side for now. But if you haven’t, please let them know. I mean, I definitely have gone to websites for some services that we need for our business, and I can’t tell if they’re open for business. They might have a note about something, but I just wish that everyone would say; are they open and operational, or not?

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Now is the time to overcommunicate more than every with your community. Whether it’s; like I said, your collegial team. The people that you’re working with. Did I use that word correctly?

Diane Sanfilippo: I have no idea.

Cassy Joy: You gave me a funny look. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Because I was like; I don’t know.

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Your colleagues. Whether it’s with your colleagues or whether it’s with your consumers, I think it’s really important to overcommunicate in this season. Because folks just don’t know. And number one; we want to get that communication, and I think it’s a little therapeutic to just know where people are at. And I think that’s a very small thing you can offer right now; is just, hey. You know what? I’m home with my kids. I’m now a full-time homeschooling mom of four. Right? And I’m going to have to be closed for business until the foreseeable future that’s coming up. So I think that’s really important, that’s a really great one.

Diane Sanfilippo: So one thing I did with my team; just to give everybody a note. And I know this might apply to some people and not to others. But, I’ve done this with team Balanced Bites; as well as a bit loosely with my Beautycounter team. Who, you know, obviously I’m not the boss of them. But I am a leader for them. With team Balanced Bites, one of the things I’ve said. And I can’t remember if we talked about this on a previous episode, because I feel like we did talk about this. But I’m not sure; we might air this one before that.

But part of the conversation we had recently was; listen. I know that my team is being affected by what’s going on in the world. We just have two team members with young kids. One is still very, very young. Just an infant. So life is not really that different for her because of this. She recently had someone to come in and watch the kid, and then didn’t. So life is a little tricky. And then another team member, her kid was in preschool a couple of days a week and now obviously won’t be. And also some other folks who; their spouse is around now. Just, their life is different.

My point is; I’m acknowledging that the lives of everyone on my team are now different. It feels a little bit like someone has put a finger on the earth and said; stop spinning for a second. Does anyone else feel that way? That’s kind of how I feel. And I’ve actually, for me, I don’t like all the downsides. So please don’t get this twisted. But since the beginning of the year, it’s felt like everyone is sprinting. And I’m kind of like; ok everyone, slow it down. And I don’t just mean in my business. I just mean like the world has felt like everyone is trying to run so quickly into 2020.

So, I just kind of said to team Balanced Bites; I was like, listen. Whatever it is that you need to do to just keep doing your job to whatever degree. We’re not going to be introducing a ton of new projects and trying to hustle; pull things off the back burner and fill your time. I’m like; just do what you need to do. We’ll be ok. Invoice me for the time you normally work, even if you really didn’t work those hours this week. I don’t want you to suffer right now. Because we do have the ability to keep paying people what I’ve been paying them. And I really wanted to take that moment.

We were talking about this on our live video. To be generous and just say; because I really, ask me 5 years ago, I probably would not have said this. Wanted maximum productivity from everybody. And I’m just in this other place now where I’m like; listen. Let’s keep the lights on. Let’s do what we need to do. We’re really fortunate that our business is in such a healthy position with people needing meals right now. So let’s just do basically the bare minimum. And take care of your family and don’t stress out about work. I’m not going to put extra expectations on you.

And that’s a lot of personal growth for me to pump the brakes and say; hey, let’s recognize where we’re ok and where I can give a lot of grace. I’m not saying everyone has to do that, but I’m saying, if you’re in a position where financially you can do that, I think everyone would feel grateful for that vibe. So I’m just sharing that because that’s something that I have said to them.

I said the same thing to my Beautycounter team who, of course, if they’re not working a certain amount they won’t have their income. But I did want to say; it’s not my expectation that we’re all delivering to some preplanned numbers. If you need to step back and handle things with your family. If this is too overwhelming. If you just can’t think about face cream right now, it’s ok. I just want you guys to know I’m never going to be that person who is pushing you in a time when you feel that you need to just pump the brakes.

So I want to share that. Because I think that leadership comes in a lot of different forms. And I think part of it is, as I was saying before; like you said. Make sure people know you’re open for business. And yes, find new ways to be in business. Right? And don’t shy away from it. Because there are a lot of people who are looking to spend money and to support your business and all of that. And at the same time, we can find ways to be softer with the people that we work with, if we do have that position.

Cassy Joy: And if you do have that position, it’s definitely something to be grateful for. And if you’re listening, and if you have, let’s say whatever business that you’re looking to build and launch is definitely more in the side hustle category of things right now, and you are an employee. I think the coin goes the other way. It’s a good time to overcommunicate with your supervisors. As a mother and somebody who works from home, I understand the desire to want to “I got this”, essentially over and over again to the folks that you’re working with. because you might thing; now is the time not to let them down. And that’s true. I think that’s true. I want to acknowledge the women out there, especially; well, I identify with women. Sorry dudes, if you’re in this camp as well.

But, just thinking of the women out there that I know personally who have children at home are still working fulltime, and you’re waking up at 4 a.m. to get in half of your workday before the kids wake up so that you can homeschool. And then you get a little bit of work done while they’re doing their homework, and then you make everybody three meals a day. And then you might do a little bit more work when everybody goes to bed at night. I think it’s important; if that’s what’s right for you in this season, that’s ok. But it’s also ok to communicate as openly as possible with your team and the folks who are giving you orders. People will give you as much as you say you can handle. So communication definitely needs to go both ways in that regard.

And odds are, your employer or the people who you are working with will be empathetic. You just have to tell them. You have to give them kind of a heads up.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. It’s a good point. And I know and recognize that not everyone is in a position where their employer can be as empathetic. Or maybe it’s not a small business, so the decisions that are made are just bigger, and there’s a lot of red tape around it and all of that. So, hopefully everyone is doing the best they can.

Cassy Joy: I know. There’s no one-size fits all, which is the most irritating thing of all, right?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: OK. And then another thing I kind of want to chat about really briefly as far as being a leader right now is; we’ve talked about this already, but I just really want to underline it and highlight it. Try to communicate as honestly as you can with the people that you’re working with. Especially if it’s not good news. Or what could be perceived as good news for your business. Because I know that there’s this desire to, again, as employers or leaders of a business, there’s a desire to “I got this, we got this.” And if that’s not actually the full truth, you’re doing a disservice to the people that you work with and to; really the people you work with is who I’m thinking about. You don’t necessarily have to disclose all of this to your consumer base. But internally, I think it’s very, very important to be as honest as possible with your team. Whether that’s great news or it’s not great news.

And don’t mistake honest; don’t trade honesty for positivity. It’s possible to give an honest overview of the business while actually giving people more comfort. Because it’s more comforting to know the truth and to know your projections. And then maybe what a silver lining scenario could look like if you’re giving them all the facts, versus them wondering if you’re really sugar-coating the situation. So I think it’s important to be as honest as possible with the folks that you’re working with.

Direct retail is a good example of this. But if you’re seeing that businesses are down across the board; folks in your downline who you’re working with, I would just be honest with them about that. Instead of just saying; hey, we’re on track! We’re doing great! Because that may not necessarily be genuine right now. So as always, I think honesty is just going to be the best policy to move forward.

3. Consumer temperature check [31:13]

Diane Sanfilippo: Why don’t we do next a little consumer temperature check. Because I asked people recently on Instagram; what are you buying, besides food. Because I do think it’s important for us to be aware of the fact that while a lot of businesses are kind of on pause. Kind of in this, keep the lights on phase. A lot of us are still spending money, and this is not saying; how do you capitalize on people spending money. It’s saying; how do you make sure that your offerings are still there and visible and relevant and appropriate to what people are looking for and what they need.

So a lot of things that folks said; and I’m reading these directly from your responses. This was over on my Diane Sanfilippo account. People are buying exercise equipment for at home. Stuff to do their nails. {laughs} Amen to that one. I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to take this manicure off pretty soon here. A lot of people are saying they’re supporting local artists.

I want to just give you guys the caveat; if you’re in a position where you’re like; I am not spending anything. I don’t need to spend right now. That is ok. What I’m saying is, there’s a percentage of the population who says; I’m ok and I’m comfortable right now. I want to continue to stimulate the economy by spending money with people who need me to buy their thing. Right? And whichever camp you’re in, do your part. Do what feels right for you. Don’t feel like you can’t spend money just because other people aren’t. Because you stopping spending money is not really helping unless you really need to stop spending money. Does that make sense?

Obviously folks are buying cleaning products. Personal care is definitely on the list. Folks are buying things for their kids, activities, arts and crafts. Lots of books. We’re getting folks who are buying things to organize and clean up around the house.

The reason I’m sharing all of these things that people are still buying, is that many of you have a service or a product to offer that people are not only still interested in, but might want more of. How many people are now working out at home who did not work out at home before? So if what you can offer is a home workout, do it. And if you hadn’t before, then this is your opportunity to kind of get that fire lit under your butt to get that home workout program created.

I think the resources obviously that Cassy and her team create for people to make meals really easily to kind of approach this meal prep thing in a different way, to save money. Maybe folks at home are pivoting and using more of their pantry goods up, because maybe at most they’re going to the store once a week, if not maybe once every two weeks. What are you cooking at home? What’s a way that you can offer somebody a perspective, or a service that’s a little different than what you were doing before. Because we are still shopping. We are still buying. Especially consumables, but also services.

I have a friend, colleague/peer who created a program recently. She was going to launch it now. She had people who pre-bought, and then it felt weird to continue launching it. But she’s like; I actually have these people who are already signed up, and a lot of people want a community to come to for support around health and wellness.

So it’s not just for the sake of opportunity. It’s recognizing what can I offer the world right now. What do I have to offer the world? And yes, there will probably be a price tag on it. And that’s ok. Because you still need to feed your family too.

And I do think, as I said before, maybe there’s something you can offer, and you don’t need to put a price tag on it because you’re in a position right now where you don’t need that. Then do that. That’s ok. And I think we all need to be aware that if somebody is creating something and putting it out there, and it has a price tag on it, and that’s making you feel weird or icky; check yourself and your judgement. Because while some folks may be able to offer something for free, somebody else also needs to feed their family. Let that that happen. They probably also offer a lot of free resources. There is almost nobody I’ve ever seen who create an eBook or a program or any of that stuff that has a price tag, that doesn’t also have a hugely robust, significant website or Instagram with tons of recipes and all that other stuff.

So if you can’t spend the money, there’s probably lots for you that’s free. And if somebody is offering something for pay, let’s support it and not be judgement of it. People still need things. We’re still buying things.

Cassy Joy: They do. They do still need things. And you know what; I have found. Honestly, if I had been a solo team, I’ll be really honest. If it were just me creating all of the content that you see coming across www.FedandFit.com and on Fed and Fit on social media, I probably would not have kept certain wheels spinning through this season. Because I, for example right now, am hyper focused on providing recipe demos from the pantry on Instagram. That is consuming all of my time. And then writing a book. Everything else would have stopped.

And if it weren’t for my team that are still following the steps to put resources out there with regard to skincare, for example. Skincare resources, and offering links, and all of these things. Amazon links. Putting our recipes up in roundups and populating our newsletters. If my team weren’t doing that, it would not happen. but because they’re doing it, I’m witnessing what Diane is saying. Folks are still; consumers are still in business of consuming. And they want the information. Acknowledge the climate, like I said before, but still provide them with a service if you’re able to provide them with that service. You don’t have to press pause on your entire business.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right.

Cassy Joy: So think that’s just really interesting. And to your point, also, about creating resources for free or for a sale or for free. What we’re doing right now is I want to highlight that even though something you may not be putting a price tag on it; what you’re earing in trust with your audience is really, really precious. So if you’re able to provide folks with a meaningful resource in this season, that they can really use.

For example, we’re putting together an incredibly comprehensive freezer guide right now of all of the things. I didn’t really take a whole lot. I didn’t understand the amount of knowledge I had acquired over the years of how you can best freeze foods and what they’re best used for afterwards. I didn’t realize that when you learn something, you just assume you’re the last person on earth to learn that thing. How valuable that information could be across the board. So we’re putting that into a free resource on www.FedandFit.com. Sure, we’re not going to earn any money off of that.

But I also understand; now, this isn’t the reason why we’re doing it. We’re doing it because we want to serve our community right now. But I do also understand as a businesswoman, that if I’m able to provide folks with a resource now, that trust means more than anything I could have gotten from them in terms of a sale. So if putting a price tag on something is paralyzing you a little bit in terms of creating some sort of a product, I would take the go ugly early route a little bit. Maybe break it up into microcontent that you can’t publish for free.

We can get into a few more pivot ideas. And I really like this topic, and this concept. Because for folks who have this ability. Unless you’re in; I don’t know, your business really requires air travel and there’s no way to do it virtually. There’s no way to service your clients virtually. There are a bunch of businesses out there that fall into that category. And we just want to acknowledge those.

But if you do have a business, and you’ve put your creative thinking hat on, and you’re like; there’s got to be a way that I can still provide some sort of a service to my client base in this season, then I think that trying to be as solution oriented as possible and coming up with a pivot is a really great idea. Do you want to talk folks through the process of how to figure out how they can pivot?

Diane Sanfilippo: I think the example I gave earlier is one, right? We realize people are at home. So what of our services can we provide. I think especially if you were offering one on one; fitness is one example. One on one nutrition coaching. A lot of people do that virtually anyway. Something that I think even Scott, my husband, who is a chiropractor. Something that he might consider; I don’t know if I gave him this idea already. He could consider some virtual consultations with people where he’s just kind of walking them through some rehab exercises and some things that; while, of course, when there’s manual therapy involved and he’s doing something in the room to help that person feel better. There are also things they can be doing on their own. And giving your time in that way is something that we can all find a way to do.

Now, pivoting as well. Maybe you were doing one on one consultations. Maybe you were doing business coaching. Anything you were offering. Maybe you were working with clients selling a product one on one. Maybe you would go get coffee with people and talk about skincare. Maybe you find a way to do this as a small group setting. Maybe you use Zoom, or Facebook group, and find a way to get yourself in front of more people at one time.

I heard one idea from somebody’s hairdresser where she was creating these little drop-offs, where she would put whatever the mixture. You know I don’t know what it is. I’m not a hairdresser. But she would put whatever products necessary to drop off in a way; keeping distance and keeping things clean, so that her clients could do a root touchup at home. And she’s creating these little kits.

Cassy Joy: Cute.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m thinking; wow, you know. If my nail tech had created; I think she might be working on it. Created a little remove your gels, or whatever it is, little kit. Yeah, I could probably web search and figure out how to do it from home. And buy all these things myself. And then I’ll have too much of all those things. But maybe she can put together a little kit. And I can just Venmo her some money and buy it. You know what I mean? We’re providing a service, and we’re finding a different way. Maybe she could drop it in the mail. Maybe she does drop offs where it’s just left on the steps and she texts and says; hey, it’s there. Get it when you’re ready. All of these different ideas of just ways to be super creative.

What I think is really going to be interesting about this is; I think a lot of people can take a moment to step back and realize when their time; their hands-on time and attention were actually not necessary in every case. Because I think a lot of us overvalue our present time and attention. Not overvalue, but over consider that it’s necessary in that moment, if that makes sense. It’s like; there’s a lot more that we could do further away.

And that doesn’t mean we always want to, when we have the opportunity to be in the room with our personal trainer. There’s an energy exchange that’s really different than when you are maybe on a video call, or maybe you’re just doing a printed-out home workout. But I just think it’s going to force people to be pretty creative with new ideas.

Cassy Joy: I think so too. I mean, just to double down on your point here, an example would be a skincare event. Right? Diane and I are in the business of doing virtual skincare events. We have been for years and years and years. Our businesses are virtual. We might host the occasional in person one, in an effort to learn and support and coach and connect. But by and large, our efforts are virtual.

And I think that you’re right. The cost and the time required for an in-person event are so much greater than a virtual event. And you might be able to provide the same level of service. Maybe not the personal connection, but the same level of service and inspiration to a group virtually if you approach it strategically.

Diane Sanfilippo: And I think people right now really are looking for ways to connect online more than before. Because before, while a scheduled call might have felt heavy; or it might have felt like, oh I don’t know if I can make that. Now it’s like; I’m going to carve out that time, because I need some time for myself in all of this. Whatever is going on. So if you’re going to host a live mask party; you’re all going to paint a mask on your face, whatever it is, sit there and sip your kombucha and chat about whatever it is. Whether it’s something that people pay to be there. Whether you’re potentially selling a product on the call. Whether it’s just a little community time you’re going to offer. I just think there are a lot of creative ways to do that.

And I would love for people to comment on our Instagram about what their business is. And either ask for recommendations and advice on things they could pivot and offer, if they can’t think of it. Or if they’ve found a way to pivot in the moment, what are you doing. Let us know; how are you pivoting? Because I think it would be so interesting for everyone to see everyone else’s ideas. What you’re doing with your business, etc.

4. Tip of The Week: Brainstorm pivots [44:41]

Cassy Joy: Tip of The Week! In this segment, we give you one tip that you can take action on this week to move your business or life forward. What’s your tip this week, Diane?

Diane Sanfilippo: So I’m going to feed off of what we were closing the last segment with. And I want you guys to sit down and get really real about ways in which you can pivot with your business. I would actually love for you to jot down a list. Think outside the box. Even if you don’t know how to do it, you might have this crazy idea that you’re like; what if? That’s Cassy’s favorite way to start a sentence. What if? {laughs} What if we could do XYZ? Write it down. Write it all down. Don’t limit yourself just because you don’t know how to do it yet. You don’t know if it’s workable with different tools you might have at your fingertips. Just write down all the ideas. Maybe you snap a picture of that and tag us on Instagram so we can see all of these potential ideas.

But I would love for you guys to do this kind of brain dump brainstorm all of the possibilities. And then start to sift through it. And be like; what’s in here that I could actually tackle immediately as a way to pivot with my business. Because I think if you’re trying to only think; what’s practical today, it might be too overwhelming. But I do think a lot of you could come up with some great ideas. I would love to see them. I would love to be able to share them in the community, and share ideas. I really just want to encourage you to sit down and do this exercise. Because otherwise, you’re going to sit; look. We don’t know how long this is going to be. So I want you all to be armed with ideas. And inspiration for yourself. Of like; you know what I thought of two weeks ago? Maybe I could do this. Now’s the time. So let’s make those lists.

That’s it for Driven this week. If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe in Apple podcast, on Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @TheDrivenPodcast. Cassy is @FedandFit and I am @DianeSanfilippo.

Tune in next week, we’ll be talking a lot more about what to do when you’ve got a stall in your business. We’ll see you next week.

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