Stuck Indoors? Take Your Offline Business Online

3 stages to finding your footing amid uncertainty

For many entrepreneurs, building a business was about breaking free from cubicle life. It was about going out in the world and doing what you love: speaking to audiences, performing on stage, training clients in the gym. 

But recently, due to a global health crisis, we’ve all found ourselves stuck indoors.

If live events and in-person services play a critical role in your business, this means you’re suddenly facing a new reality. Your mix of offline and online business is going to have to shift entirely to the online space—at least for now. 

The good news is: You can make it work. 

How do we know? Because at Kajabi, we talk to hundreds of entrepreneurs like you every day who are succeeding—even now.

In the last two weeks, our Heroes have followed similar journeys transitioning their offline business online: at first skeptical, then motivated to experiment. And now, they’re discovering new benefits. Of course, our Heroes are still brainstorming, experimenting, and asking more questions along the way. But as you’ll see, a lot can happen in two weeks. 

There’s no magic formula for all businesses, but by sharing these stories, we hope you’ll discover some actionable ideas for your business.

Let’s go through the journey together, shall we?

Stage 1: Accepting & embracing new constraints

Right now, entrepreneurs running offline businesses are asking themselves, “Will online be as effective as connecting with people in person?”

While these thoughts are normal, they can prevent us from taking action. You might start by focusing on all the things you’ll miss about interacting with people in person. As your thoughts keep coming, you might even think about all the reasons why transitioning online won’t work for a certain event or service. 

This means the first stage of taking your business online is coming to terms with your new constraints. Reframe your new constraints as opportunities. This way, instead of focusing on what you’re missing, you’ll see ways your business can adapt and thrive.

Johanna Walker coaches individuals and companies on public speaking and storytelling. Although she has coached clients virtually before, the majority of her business is hosting live events, conducting workshops, and training groups in person.

“I'm always pushing for people to get on the stage, get in a room with people,” she said. “That's where the real connection happens.”

Speakers feed off of the audience’s energy, which can be more difficult to feel in a virtual environment, she explained. After holding her first virtual session for her practice and training group Speakers Playground, she realized that mastering presentation skills are even more critical now in online interactions. 

“You're not getting that energy exchange from the audience, so you have to generate it yourself,” Johanna said. The energy, she explained, “comes from your breath, your body, and your voice and being embodied and being fully present.”

Kayla Davis, founder of KDAVIS Fitness and the Kōch App, had similar reservations. Up until recently, about half of Kayla’s business was training clients at the gym and half was online.

“It's one thing to give someone a workout program, and it's another thing to make sure that they're doing it properly,” Kayla said. “When I coach, I like to see people. I watch how they move, and I'm very specific about corrections and form.”

Kayla is brainstorming how to incorporate form corrections virtually, such as doing one-on-one sessions through Zoom where she can watch her clients closely. 

The first stage is all about assessment. Give yourself time to think deeply about your business and flesh out potential problems to resolve. The key is to move forward. 

Stage 2: Exploring and experimenting with new business ideas

“I’m having to be creative and play within this container.” —Johanna Walker

Once you’re willing to make your constraints work for you, your forward momentum picks up. New ideas are likely pouring in. You’re asking lots of questions—only in this stage, they’re no longer weighing you down. They’re energizing you and feeding your curiosity. 

You’re now in stage 2: exploring and experimenting with new business ideas.

You might even wonder, “Where have these ideas been hiding all these years?” We’re more creative when we have constraints. According to researchers, our natural instinct is to conserve mental energy and follow traditional ways of doing things. Constraints force our brains to think more resourcefully. In the current climate, constraints are multiplying every day, pushing our brains to come up with new ideas.

Here’s how some of our Heroes have been exploring and experimenting lately: 

  • Johanna Walker teaches you how to feel relaxed in your own skin so you can connect more effectively with your audiences any time you present. Now, she’s figuring out how to bring the same level of connection and energy through the screen. She’s also going deeper into helping her clients craft a compelling audience journey in online presentations compared to live presentations from the stage.
  • Matilda Lindell is a performing artist, singer, and vocal coach. After touring with an ABBA cover band and dealing with concert cancellations, she’s eager to start writing original music. The Swedish singer expects that more time at home at the piano will inspire creativity. Matilda is also exploring the possibility of livestreaming her music to build a bigger fan base.
  • Gina Aliotti is an online fitness coach. Although she already shifted her business entirely online eight years ago, she’s thinking about adding more to recorded video programs: live training sessions with upbeat music.

Stage 3: Discovering what works for your business 

“You need the world, so online is the right place to be right now.” —Matilda Lindell

Congratulations! You’ve ventured into unknown territory. Maybe you’ve held your first online webinar, online training, or opened up your online membership. You might feel like Bambi taking his first shaky steps. It may be too early to gauge ROI or make long-term decisions. 

You’re now in stage 3: discovering benefits that you might have never considered before.

“We've always had access to online, but it's kind of like this portal opened,” Johanna said. “That's how everybody's connecting now. It felt like this kind of door blew open the possibility of new connections.”

Here are some of the latest discoveries from our Heroes as they’ve gone deeper into strengthening their online services, courses, and events: 

  • Online events can expand your reach beyond your local area and raise funds. 

Johanna organizes a story slam every other month in Boulder, Colorado in partnership with The Dairy Arts Center. The event typically attracts 250 attendees. With the next story slam scheduled for April 5, Johanna decided to hold a virtual event. Instead of charging the usual ticket fee, she decided to make the event a fundraiser and invite her friends from the East coast and Midwest.

“It’s going to be really different, but we’re going to see what happens. We’re going to play with it,” she said.

  • Video chats can build more familiarity than an in-person group setting.

 Gina’s fitness coaching business—which serves clients from all over the world including the Netherlands and Greece—is a prime example.

“I’ve made the most incredible connections with people,” she said. “I feel like they’re a lot more intimate because you're not in public training. You’re actually in your house.”

  • Even client communications can be repurposed into useful content.

Connie Cleveland, a dog training expert, launched her online membership site in January. As the founder of The Obedience Road, she typically answers her students’ questions one-on-one through personalized videos. In the last couple of weeks, as Connie made a strong push to create more free content, she discovered how to maximize those videos. She plans to repurpose them by moving those video files into an online library for all her members. 

Most likely, you’re already going through these stages nonstop: analyzing, experimenting, and discovering. During these challenging times, paralysis is your worst enemy. Keep connecting with your fellow Kajabi Heroes, learning from each other, and moving forward, full steam ahead.

Tomorrow, we’ll dive into pivoting your products and services by sharing more stories from Kajabi Heroes.

Where are you in your journey to taking your business entirely online? 

Comment below and let us know!