Landing Clients and Growing Your Business During COVID-19

Yes it can be done!

COVID-19 has threatened many people’s livelihoods, and it continues to do so, even as restrictions are lifted. Though many say finding new business at this time is next to impossible, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, there are ways to generate new leads at this time, as well as continue to nurture your present clients and customers. Let’s take a look at some tried and true methods.

Adapt to the New Normal

Overnight, COVID-19 changed the economic and business landscape, and it looks like these changes are here to stay.  Many businesses have moved online for the first time, while others are focusing heavily on e-commerce until their physical storefront reopens.

Land Business in New Markets

There are new opportunities opening up across markets, and they’re deserving of attention.  Just make sure you don’t pivot so hard that your current clients don’t recognize you.

Finding Support for an Online Pivot

Many entrepreneurs are finding themselves spending much more time attached to their computers for meetings and fulfillment that once took place in person.  Here are some of the lessons entrepreneurs learned from running an online business.

  • Understand the challenges of remote work so you’re better prepared to address them.
  • A dedicated home office space is a great investment to keep you focused and creative.
  • Add the right apps to your remote work toolkit to enhance your quality of work.
  • Don’t forget a killer morning routine helps you get things done throughout your day.

Ultimately, some creative thinking and leveraging of resources can open doors in this era of fast paced change. The new normal may demand adjustments from you, but it’s nothing you’re not already prepared to handle.

When Social Media Blocks You

Originally aired on my Podcast — Listen now >>

Social media has finally failed me.  And I know that it is said over and over, don’t depend on social media.  I even tell my clients this.

As a matter of fact, I had a client a couple of weeks ago working on marketing, and I asked what would you do if you didn’t have social media?  How do you think that people made money and made connections in the past, before social media (because obviously business has been around for a long time).

You’re not supposed to depend on social media, but a lot of us do because it’s free and the reach is wide. Or at least, potentially wide.  As a coach, I encourage my clients to not depend on social media.  Have your shit together there, but don’t depend on it because you don’t control it and it could go away in a moment.

Despite this, I haven’t actually had any problems with social media and continued to use it.  Here’s what I think happened.

I personally don’t love social media.  I’m an analog gal. I write books about technology at the intersection of anthropology.  I cook with cast iron.  I don’t own a Microwave, and I prefer records.  I’m kind of old school.  But I founded a tech company.  And I run an online business today as a coach.  So here I am sitting at this beautiful intersection between technology and analog.

Social media, in some ways, is so fun to me.  I’m able to stay in touch with loved ones abroad, build my network like a ninja, and learn about news fast.  But in other ways, it feels exhausting.  And that exhaustion is reflected by many people.

I tend to avoid it, and I know that may be hard to believe because my presence has been pretty solid.  That’s because I hired somebody.  One of my Three Pillars of Business Scaling™ is outsourcing, and I knew that I needed someone to do a better job than I was.

He did a really good job.  The thing is, I think that part of his work to post my website and what I have going on must have gotten flagged by Facebook, because it was during his tenure that my website stopped being allowed to be posted to Facebook.  I spent two hours fixing it — or so I thought.  It now seems that, once again, I cannot post my website links.

What’s really frustrating is that I have an upcoming webinar.  It’s my scaling webinar, “How to scale your business without losing your shit or your friends”.  It’s super fun, in depth, and helpful information that gets business people off the hamster wheel and into the success and freedom that they meant to have when they started a business. This isn’t spam. This is helpful, free information.

And Facebook’s like “no”.

Oh my god.  So frustrating.  I spent the first day of this just being mad and trying to figure out what the hell was going on.  I then resolved myself to get creative.

I recently published a really helpful blog that dovetails perfectly with the workshop.  I actually dispel some of the myths about scaling in the blog that I also dig deep on in the workshop.  I  reposted this to Medium where there’s a wider audience, and I also included the link to the webinar.  I know for sure that Facebook is not going to black list Medium, so I knew that I could post that Medium link to Facebook.

I then asked friends to share the Medium article, because everyone likes to try and beat Facebook in its own game.  So this is actually kind of fun, now, and I’m actually getting more traction, at least on the blog post.

I also created an Eventbrite listing, which automates with MailChimp, so everything that I need to send to people who sign up to the webinar will receive it when they sign up through Eventbrite.

I’ve told so many people don’t depend on social media, and now here I am.  Social media has blocked me or at least blocked some of the most important stuff that I do.  I mean, webinars are critical to the work that I do.  It’s all about sharing and I don’t get to share if I don’t get to do my webinars.

All that to say this week I am hosting my famous webinar on scaling you’re welcome to attend.  Don’t depend on social media.  And constantly think creatively, so before you get in trouble, you have a plan. Think about how you are not going to market your company without social media in order to diversify your promotions or whatever else you have going on.

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Devin DuMond

What got you interested in becoming a marketer?

I got interested in becoming a marketer because I honestly believe in people. I love learning about what they have to offer, their talents and ideas. And then I want everyone else to know about it too! I know a lot about design and branding. I also love making connections. So when I work with my clients, I am able to apply all of my knowledge and experience and use those as tools to get their message heard. If someone doesn’t know how to get noticed, I am able to do that for them, and that’s the most rewarding thing about marketing.

What do you love about what you do?

I really love everything about what I do! Like, completely and wholeheartedly. What I do in my business — design, illustration, social media, consulting, managing, teaching — these are the things that come quite naturally to me. Nothing about it is forced. So when I work with someone who is frustrated or doesn’t have the time to do all of the marketing for their business, its actually fun for me. I get excited about it. And when I hear the success stories, it completely validates what I do.

Tell me a story from your work.

My husband and I started Hatch together. He’s kind of my go-to problem solver and the one I bounce my ideas off of. So when I told him that I was going to be featured for my expertise in marketing, I said, “But I don’t know anything about marketing!” He responded by laughing and saying, quite frankly, “Honey, that’s all you do is marketing.”

This conversation has been a total game changer for how I perceive the work I do, myself, and marketing in general.  In my mind, marketing is where a boardroom of suits are sitting around a table with a nervous guy in the front showing bar charts, diagrams, and statistics. This is NOT what I do.

My version of marketing is meeting one-on-one with a client, listening to them describe the message they want to get out into the world, and then me figuring out how to make that happen. I pay attention to trends in design and social media. I look at what other people do and think about what grabs my attention. Everything I do is very much based on my own experiences. I think, “Well, if I like (fill in the blank) then I bet others do too.” And then I tell my clients to go do it!

How has marketing been important for your clients?

I’ve worked with a lot of startups so these are people who are taking a risk, trying something they’ve never done before, and are often investing their own money into a visual identity or social media campaign. Having actual evidence that what I do for people has helped them succeed has been crucial in building that trust. When you are starting from the ground up, having a solid marketing strategy is everything. I spend a lot of time researching for my clients and want to make sure that I’m giving them the best information and guidance.

What do you suggest for your clients who want to try to manage their own marketing?

Pay attention!! Pay attention to what other people are doing and to what catches your own eye. And then try it yourself. I have found that marketing can actually be pretty forgiving. If you try something — let’s say an ad campaign — and you don’t get results, use it as a learning experience. Analyze it and ask why didn’t it succeed? And then do it differently next time. Its all about moving forward and not giving up just because one idea didn’t pan out. My husband and I have tried tons of different marketing techniques for Hatch and I can tell you that many of them were complete duds. But, we just don’t give up.

Why your work week should be 10 hours or less

The 70-hour plus work week is a sham.  Pride in overwork is misdirection.  These cliche’s are completely false, and they are distracting thousands of Entrepreneurs from the truth:  something in your business is out of balance.

In fact, you could easily be working less than 10 hours a week on your business.   You should also be making more in those 10 hours than you did in the 70 hours you used to work.  Think I’m crazy?  Read on to learn more about the amazing effects of Scaling a business.

What’s out of whack?

If you are working more than 40 hours a week in order to earn a living, something is truly out of balance in your company.  Typically there are two possibilities – either you’re charging too little or your lead generation pipeline is broken.

Charging Too Little

It is all to common that women charge too little for their products and services.  Especially services.  Over and over I’ve seen my clients undervalue their time out of a place of giving.  I love that my clients have big hearts, but our time is valuable!  It is used to make sales, project manage, order inventory, and more.  If you give all your time for free, you will quickly find that you are hurting your company and its growth.

If you feel like you may be undercharging, look at your competitors — in all markets.  I happen to live in a city that has extremely low cost of living, so it would be easy to price myself lower than the true value of my work.  If I had done so and had a consultation with someone in New York City, they would have thought I was way underpriced (and probably not worth their time).  Your pricing matters, not only to ensure you make what you should, but so others believe in your worth.

Broken Pipes

Alternatively, you may be priced on par, but your lead pipeline is broken, so you’re spending way more time hustling for clients and customers than you should be.  I tend to see this in clients who equate sales with sleazy used car dealers (and the like).

First of all, sales and marketing are two different things.  Marketing is your pipeline.  Sales is what happens once someone reaches you through the pipeline.  You need both.

Look over your lead generation over the past few months.  How are you doing?  Did you get many leads but not convert them, or are you not getting many leads at all?

If you’re providing a service and either of these is broken for you, I highly suggest taking a look at the book “Book Yourself Solid“.  It walks you through creating your Target Market, how to talk about your business, and then how to create the pipeline for marketing your work.

But I’m the only one that can do this!

Wrong.  If you truly were the only person in the world that could do what you do, you would be making way more money, and probably for an institute or organization.  So let’s rework this mindset.

I used to think I was the only one who could create websites that went deep into my client’s target markets.  I certainly am the only website developer in my city that has a degree in Anthropology.  While that is unique, that didn’t make me the only person in the world who could do what I did — or even the only person in the city.

In fact, once I stopped being stubborn and started looking for someone who could do what I did, I found someone even better.  That’s right.   Instead of finding someone who was as good as I am, I found someone who is even better.  Not only does she have the ability to see into the minds of others, she is also certified in other tools that I am not, and dreams up way cooler design for our clients.

What about the techniques and systems I had created specifically for my company?  I trained her on those, and she rocks them out from her unique point of view.  Since hiring her, our portfolio has quadrupled, all because I now have more time to sell and market our services.

Hiring a VA

Perhaps you’re not ready for employees.  That’s alright.  You still are doing work you shouldn’t be, like scheduling your social media posts, writing up contracts or proposals, ordering supplies, and more.  Yes, you need to oversee some of this through daily, weekly, or monthly checkins, but you don’t need to be doing these things, yourself.

This is when an Intern, Virtual Assistant, or Personal Assistant is absolutely the right fit.  They can be available to you as little as one hour a week, and they free up the valuable time you use to bring home the bacon.  More time to sell and create partnerships equals more money!

I am a big fan of Shared Hands (my friend’s VA company) which is 100% based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The fabulous part of their service is if you do happen to grow to fill your Assistant’s time, you can buy out their contract and bring them on as an employee of your business.

Systems, systems, systems

Finally, it may be that you are spending too much time working simply because you need to systemize.  How much time do you spend scrambling when a new client comes on?  I once asked a new client how she would feel if she had ten new clients sign that day.  She said she’d probably run away — she didn’t know how she would manage onboarding that many clients.

The truth is ten new clients should make you jump for joy.  If it doesn’t, or if you feel like you’re spending extra time doing small tasks, it may be that you need better systems.  Take a look at your repetitive processes.  Is your contract standardized?  How do you onboard your clients?  Do you have standard milestones that can be a part of an automated system?

Some of these things must be created internally, but some of them can be outsourced to an app.  For example, I found I was spending a lot of time emailing back and forth to schedule meetings.  I now use an app called Calendly which does it for me.  Some CRMs come with automation that handles your entire sales process for you.  Make use of such services to ensure your time is free to do the work that matters — and to see your family once in a while.

Need help scaling your business to a ten hour (or less) work week?  Get on my calendar!

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Degrees of Separation Podcast | Sara DiVello

Degrees of Separation Podcast
Degrees of Separation Podcast | Sara DiVello

“I’ve started thinking about time as a currency, and none of us has unlimited time.”

Sara DiVello is the author of Where In The Om Am I?  She left a six figure job in order to study yoga and lead a healthier life.  Learn more about her path in this episode.

Find out more about Sara at