With the COVID-19 pandemic, the global economy has tanked. In the U.S., unemployment is at a record high and could reach 20 percent. If you have been laid-off or are seeking to supplement your income during these tumultuous times, it might be the moment to consider selling your own products or services online. The online course industry is estimated to reach $325 billion by 2025. Kajabi is a software platform that enables people to develop, market, and sell online courses and to build premium membership communities. Their most successful sellers are known as “Kajabi Heroes.” Here, four female Heroes share their inspirational stories – and their tips for how to navigate the current economic recession and coronavirus upheaval.
· Kayse Morris
Kayse Morris is a self-described “small-town Southern girl,” former English teacher, and mother to four who has earned over a million dollars last year teaching online. She has a top-ranking podcast, The CEO Teacher, and over 40K followers on Instagram.
“I can’t find the words to tell you how drastically my life has changed in the last year or so,” says Morris. “It’s no surprise that teachers don’t usually appear in Forbes, but since I shifted my mindset and realized I – and every other teacher in the world – has the ability to succeed with the online education system, my life has transformed.” Most Popular In: ForbesWomen
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Morris teaches teachers how to jump headfirst into the online space by taking whatever they are passionate about in the classroom and making it a sustainable online business. While still in the classroom herself in 2013, she started selling teaching resources on Teachers Pay Teachers, an online marketplace where teachers buy and sell lesson plans. This gave her both financial freedom and a wake-up call: Helping other teachers was her life purpose. She pulled herself out of “extreme postpartum depression” and built an online business dedicated to helping other teachers succeed as she had.
“Welcome to a world where there is no ceiling and where you get to make an impact on your terms,” says Morris. “Immerse yourself in knowledge, follow it with definiteness of purpose, and take massive action. That is the secret to success. There’s room for everyone on the playground, and the world needs you to come and play along.”
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As for responding to COVID-19, Morris says that there is more opportunity now than ever for teachers to move their courses online. “The entire world is focused right now on taking its education efforts online. Teachers are morphing their skills to captivate young learners behind the screens of computers. This new education movement begins with you. Your impact, your new ideas, your new innovations. Buckle up teachers, the online space is about to see what we’ve known all along: Teachers make the world go round.”
· Stephanie Gilbert
Stephanie Gilbert is the founder of The Social Media CEO and CEO Yeah!, where she teaches women how to create scalable social media management businesses from the safety of their own homes. In 2019, she made over $100k on Kajabi. The Social Media CEO has 40K Instagram followers a private Facebook group with 300 members.
Before starting her own business, Gilbert spent almost 15 years in management and merchandising roles for multimillion-dollar fashion retail chains. In 2004, she dabbled in social media marketing, creating a MySpace page for a boutique she managed. At her last 9-5 job in 2015, she managed an Instagram account for the San Diego area of a major retail chain. That was when she realized that what she was doing for national brands could be replicated to help other businesses market themselves on social media.
Gilbert quit her job and started offering freelance social media marketing services to anyone. In less than a year, she went from doing everything herself with local clients to working with a small remote team on national brand accounts. She began to lead retreats. And then she figured out that she wanted to teach other people how to do what she was doing, making The Social Media CEO her full-time gig. Through her signature course, digital products, and online community, Gilbert helps social media managers create scalable, profitable businesses providing their services to other business owners.
Although when she started her business five years ago, Gilbert obviously didn’t know that she would be selling in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and economic recession, she feels she made the right choice. “Over the past few months, I’ve felt an even deeper sense of gratitude for the not-so-obvious-path I chose to take,” she says. “I have a stronger sense of purpose than ever and feel a responsibility to share everything I’ve learned about being successful online with others. My business continues to make money, despite the current circumstances.”
Here are some of the ways Gilbert has maneuvered around these strange times:
● Offering an extra-extended payment plan on her signature course so new students can get started immediately without the financial burden of big payments upfront.
● Hosting a flash sale for The SMCEO Clubhouse membership to encourage joining the engaged community, so new business owners don’t have to navigate their journeys alone.
● Tweaking a popular, low-cost offer to include updated and additional resources that help social media managers pivot easily and continue support their clients during this time.
“I haven’t continued with ‘business as usual,’ but instead have created additional ‘of the moment’ resources and updated my messaging to ensure it is self-aware and empathetic,” says Gilbert. “I genuinely want to help people get through this economic crisis.”
· Bonnie Frank
Bonnie Frank is a former teacher and college professor who pivoted to entrepreneur thanks to Kajabi. She has tens of thousands of followers across several social media platforms as an online business coach.
Frank quit teaching because she found the rigidity of Common Core unbearable for her and ill-suited for her students. She opened her own business the very next day, creating courses and online coaching programs to help female entrepreneurs start and grow online businesses. With no formal business training, no start-up money, and zero online followers, not to mention significant discouragement from friends and family, Frank quickly succeeded. She worked hard, reading as much as she could, watching hours of free videos, and doing online webinars to teach herself.
“Success is a choice,” says Frank. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. You can! Someone else’s failure or fear of trying has nothing to do with you or your future. Choose success. It’ll be the best choice you can make.”
In terms of surviving the pandemic and economic recession, Frank says it’s important to come from a place of service. Some of the specific steps she has taken have been to:
1. Create a free pdf download (available on her website) of free, sanity-saving activities to do at home. This list is for adults with and without children at home.
2. Broadcast live numerous times a day on a variety of social media platforms and in other people’s online groups, detailing ways that folks can pivot their businesses to virtual and add additional streams of revenue with courses, membership sites and more.
3. Conduct interviews on several podcasts about increasing streams of revenue.
4. Produce additional episodes of her own Business Fabulous podcast on the topic of self-care.
· Emily Hawkins
Emily Hawkins is a career and life coach with 22K followers on Instagram, 4.5K connections on LinkedIn, and over 300 clients. She is earning over $200K per year doing what she loves.
After 15 years working in supply chain for businesses of all sizes from Fortune 500 companies all the way down to a small startup, and having two children, Hawkins began to feel like “nothing was working anymore.” Her career started crumbling and she regretted having little time to spend with her kids. She spent one Thanksgiving weekend unshowered on her couch in a deep depression. This motivated Hawkins to make a change. She spent the next year reading personal development books to evaluate what truly mattered to her and figure out next steps.
Eventually, Hawkins realized that her life purpose is to “empower the unemployed, unfulfilled and unrecognized to find what they love in their life and put it in their work.” She built a course on shifting mindsets called LeaderSHIFT, and then created her flagship course, Market Me. This course gives clients the tools, hands-on guidance, and confidence to find and land a job they love.
“You don’t need money to start,” advises Hawkins. “Honestly, if you have an idea, you don’t need to spend a fortune to see it to fruition. You simply need a way to share it with the world. Kajabi solved this problem cheaply for me at a time when my bank account was about to run dry.”
In terms of coping with the Coronavirus crisis, Hawkins says the first step is to pause and listen. What is worrying your customers most and how can you shift your business to meet their needs? “Fear has the ability to stop people in their tracks,” says Hawkins. “It’s your job as a business owner to be the coach on the sidelines cheering them on. During a market shift, my message is always one of possibility because all change creates new possibilities. If you show up for people with no agenda, they will remember that.”
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