5 Ways I’ve Pivoted My Business to Adapt to COVID-19


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Blogger Stephanie Ziajka shares her top small business tips for surviving COVID with the help of the GoDaddy #OpenWeStand microsite on Diary of a Debutante

It’s no secret that small businesses are having to pivot left and right to stay afloat in the wake of COVID-19. I know that as a digital content creator, I’ve felt completely at a loss at times. Aside from getting to spend more time with my dogs, I really just couldn’t find any upside to it all. I joined GoDaddy’s #OpenWeStand chat on LinkedIn a few weeks back, though, and found one major benefit of being a part of the small business community… just that, community. I was amazed by everyone’s candor and willingness to share tips, tricks, and ideas for surviving COVID-19 together.

If you haven’t joined the conversation yet, GoDaddy actually just launched an entirely new #OpenWeStand microsite further dedicated to providing resources, inspiration, and creative solutions for adapting to COVID-19, and it’s inspired me to completely rethink my business model. I mean, if estheticians can adapt by launching online courses and fragrance brands can shift to producing hand sanitizer, I can figure something out, right?! I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I’m sharing five ways I’ve pivoted my business to adapt to COVID-19 in today’s post. Keep reading for all five!

1. I’ve started pitching.

I’ll be honest– I’ve never really needed to pitch to brands before. It’s completely new territory for me. Even though I’ve been blogging full-time for over five years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have opportunities continually fall into my lap. Since there’ve been crickets in my inbox over the past three months, I’ve been sending pitches left and right. Y’all, it turns out that creating sponsored content is a lot more enjoyable when you’re in the driver seat. I created a “dream brands” list and started brainstorming projects that I actually want to work on for a change. Even when I don’t hear back– or worse, when I get a flat-out no, I’m still being proactive, and I’m still getting my name out there. Also, when sponsored opportunities do arise, I’m hopefully all over their radar. 

2. I’ve focused on affiliate income.

Full disclosure– as a digital content creator, most of my income comes from brand deals, ie. sponsorships. Marketing budgets are being cut across the board in response to COVID-19, though, so even with fine-tuned pitching, sponsorships are hard to come by right now. Not only that, existing partnerships are being vaguely postponed, and payments are being delayed like clockwork. In order to stay afloat, I’ve switched my focus almost entirely to affiliate income, and it’s really paying off. Not only is affiliate income passive, it allows me to (again) focus on the products and brands I love and actually want to write about. 

I want to clarify that focusing on affiliate income also means that I’m branching out to new platforms. For example, I’m promoting more affiliate products on social media than ever before. I’m also going back and updating old posts with new affiliate links, since a terrifying number of my old ones no longer work. 

3. I’ve cut costs.

This feels like a no brainer, but as a digital content creator, it can be hard to reign in your budget when you already have low operating costs. So, I’ve had to get creative with cut-backs. I made a list of all my essential services (photo editing software, web hosting, etc) and have cut virtually everything else. 

4. I’ve shifted my content.

While attempting to stay as “on brand” as possible, I’ve catered my content to a different lifestyle. Everyone’s at home. Nobody’s been going out or getting dressed up. So, instead of voluminous hair tutorials and date night outfit ideas, I’ve been focusing on things that can bring readers joy at home. Here are a few examples that have already gotten tons of organic traffic–

  • What to Wear When You Work from Home– Okay, this one’s less about creating joy and more about adapting to work-from-home culture, but you get my point. 
  • How to Host a Virtual Game Night– When we can’t physically be together, we can still get together virtually, which is awesome and hopefully a trend that’ll continue long after COVID-19’s gone. 
  • How to Build a Summer Charcuterie Board– The living’s easy in the summertime, right? This post shares ideas for how to put together the perfect summer charcuterie board for an intimate backyard date or family night. 

Another way to shift content is to focus more heavily on video! YouTube’s been around forever, but TikTok has blown up thanks to COVID-19. If you’re looking for ways to reach new followers, give their platform a try!

5. I’ve made self-care a priority.

This one may raise some eyebrows, but it’s no secret that COVID-19’s taken a monumental toll on mental health and morale. To help keep myself motivated (and creating decent content), I’ve forced myself to focus on self-care. To clarify, I don’t mean giving myself facials and manicures every night, although that’d be awesome. I mean that I’m sticking to a schedule, prioritizing sleep, quitting work at a specific time, and actually taking days off for a change. It’s important for me, it’s important for the people I work (and live) with, and it’s important for visitors, too, who come to my site for colorful lifestyle inspiration, not commiseration. 

Another major silver lining is that I’ve gotten to spend more time at home with my doggos and fiance. I mean, working outside on our back patio could be worse.

Full time affordable fashion blogger Stephanie Ziajka shares 5 ways she's pivoted her small business on Diary of a DebutanteFull time blogger Stephanie Ziajka discusses how to cope with COVID as a small business owner with the help of the GoDaddy #OpenWeStand microsite on Diary of a Debutante

If you’re a small business owner, I highly recommend checking out GoDaddy’s #OpenWeStand microsite for more of the ways entrepreneurs all over the world are adapting to COVID-19. Even if they don’t pertain to your industry, it’s incredibly inspiring to see how small business are succeeding and, in some cases, thriving through innovation and honest-to-goodness ingenuity. Also, if you’re looking for more blogging-specific advice, you can also check out three small business tips for surviving COVID-19, all of which I was given in the GoDaddy #OpenWeStand community chat. You can also shoot me an email or leave me a comment with any comments/questions/concerns you have, too. I’m happy to help!

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