29: Unexpected Life Events: How to Prepare to Keep Your Business GoingJan 27, 2023
Unexpected life events can put you and your business to the test. Planning ahead is key when it comes to getting through these tough times with minimal disruption. In this episode, you'll learn how to proactively guard against potential risks to your businesses - from loss of income due to illness or injury, to taking time off for family emergencies – so that when life throws an unexpected event in your path, your business is prepared for it!
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Have you ever laid out a perfect plan in your business? Either a new launch that you're excited about, or you're getting ready to do something new in your business and you get everything laid out the way you think it will go. You set your dates, you create your to-do list, and you are so excited and then life happens. Something derails your plan, and if you're like me, it can feel very frustrating, overwhelming when those situations happen. And today's episode is all about how to prepare for those unexpected life events so that you can keep your business going.
Life doesn't always turn out the way we planned it. And you not only need to have some flexibility in the things you're scheduling in your business, but you really do need to plan ahead if you don't want it to affect the momentum in your business, the revenue in your business. And I'm going to share a quick story about why I felt compelled to share this episode. Back in 2020, I launched my business that March and we really had just an amazing launch. If you have been listening to the podcast for a while, you know that I launched with zero people on my list and held a five-day challenge that brought in my first 95 students into a course that I had not yet built.
And it was an amazing experience because it taught me so much about the importance of taking massive imperfect action. And it validated this dream that I had had for so long. And so because of what I had learned in listening to different mentors and coaches, I knew that momentum grew in your business by launching again and again. And so my plan was to schedule a significant launch of some kind every quarter in my business. So, I launched in March, did that first challenge, launched again in July, and launched again in October. And those three launches really were setting up my business in wonderful ways, but I had one more plan.
I was going to do a webinar-style launch the beginning of December and life happened. Right before Thanksgiving of that year I had traveled to Pennsylvania to be with my mom for a surgery. And all of us at her house came down with Covid, my parents, myself. In fact, my husband and children had driven from North Carolina to Pennsylvania to join us right after the surgery. And we found out we all had Covid like the day after they arrived.
So, by the end of that week, almost everyone in the family had Covid, but I definitely struggled with it the most. And long story short, that impacted my business for two months. There was about two months of having to recover from that event, having to get past the brain fog, the fatigue, the coughing. And so much of what I do in my business is speaking, and going live, and sharing, and teaching. And I was literally unable to speak a complete sentence without having a coughing attack.
So, this is an example of one of those unexpected life events that can really derail your momentum. And here I was in my first full year of business being so excited with the momentum we had been building. And now here I am with two months pretty much being unable to work. And because I didn't have things in place at that time, it impacted our revenue greatly.
Now, the blessing of that time is that my husband was still working his full-time job. He was in his 30th year of his IT career. So, it did impact us for sure, but it wasn't where we were like now, you know, unable to pay our bills or anything like that. And I was so grateful. But I had also invested in a number of things, obviously in launching my business. And I didn't want to, you know, have to get into debt by having to pay for things with no revenue coming in.
So, the whole experience just really made me more aware of the importance of having systems in my business that would run without me. Because no matter who you are, there are going to be times where you're going to need to stay away or step back from your business, either through an illness or an injury of you or a team member. Maybe you have a family emergency. Maybe there's something going on in the world like a pandemic that takes us away from our business. There's a lot of different things, a lot of different unexpected events that could happen. And we're not going to live in fear, but we want to prepare for these times.
And so after that experience, I really determined that that was not going to happen again. I knew unexpected things would happen, but I wanted to be much more prepared, especially knowing that one day my husband would not be our fallback. In fact, in October of 2021, we decided that it was the perfect time for him to retire from his career to start working with me. At our stage of life here in our early fifties, it's not just about making money for us, it's about creating the life we want to live. And we so desire the flexibility and freedom to be there for our family when they need it, to be there for each other, to get to spend time with each other.
And so bringing him home has been such a blessing in so many ways. My husband took over homeschooling our son so that I could work our business even more and that has helped us scale. He also became my podcast manager, so there's lots of benefits of him being home. But one of the things that's so important for us is that we a hundred percent have a plan for unexpected events. Our income is no longer just a side hustle. And for some of you, you understand, right? Like this is your income, this is your revenue. If my revenue disappears for two months, there's nothing else coming in. Right? I can't fall back on my husband's salary anymore. So, for those reasons I especially prepare so that we can count on our business revenue supporting our family, and supporting our goals even when the unexpected happens.
So, let me share my tips for you. And these tips actually will work even for planned events that take you away from your business. Last February, our oldest daughter got married and it was a wonderful time for our family. Thanks to my business, I was able to not only give her her dream wedding, but I was able to give her time. She lives out of state, so being able to travel to her when she got engaged, being able to shop for her wedding dress, being able to have a bridal shower for her. All of these experiences that I was able to create and have is really why I launched my own business three years ago and I'm so grateful for that time.
But the benefit of a wedding is that I knew the date, right? I was able to prepare in my business because I knew it was coming. Other events in life that you can prepare for would be like a special anniversary trip that you have planned. Or maybe you're selling your home and moving to a new area, so you know there's going to be two to four weeks that you are going to probably have to walk away from your everyday to-do list in order to get settled in that new home. Or maybe you're expecting a baby or maybe your first grandchild is on their way and you want to have time for that special occasion.
So, the tips I'm sharing today are going to help you plan even for those types of events. it will really benefit you for those unexpected life events. I would hate for anyone to lose revenue and momentum in their business when they don't have to. And remember, this is even when someone on your team has an unexpected life event. And think about that for a moment. Those of you that have a team, you know, what would it be like if that one particular person for whatever reason couldn't work for the next two to four weeks? Do you have a system in place that would protect you from losing weeks or months of momentum if that person cannot work for you in that moment?
So, these are the sort of things that I just want to chat about today because I realize that for some of you, you're just getting your business off the ground and maybe you feel like, you know, your revenue is just a side hobby. But we want to work our business like a business because that is what's going to create business results. So, let's go ahead and jump into these tips, and I'm going to show you in a practical sense how we've applied them in our business.
So, tip number one is to have systems in place that run without you. Automations are key to preparing your business for those unexpected life events. If you have automations in place, that means things are happening without you having to make them happen. And sometimes automations seem simple.
So, for example, we use Kajabi to run our business. Kajabi is our payment processor. It is our marketing tool. It is also what we use to deliver our courses and programs. So, if someone clicks on one of our links, goes to our websites and they purchase something, all of the automations happen. They get sent the right email, they get access to the correct course. They are given everything that they need to purchase and absorb that content without me having to do anything. That's the sort of systems that I'm talking about.
And it's not just systems related to offers, but do you have a system in place for communication, for checking your personal messages, for responding to people, the most common questions that you have? Any automations that you have in place that allows things to run without you, the easier it's going to be if you have to step away from an unexpected event.
Tip number two is to have evergreen funnels that sell without you. All right. So, having systems in place that deliver the right content and get people to what they need is one thing, but in order to generate revenue during those unexpected life events, it is so important to have funnels in place that will generate revenue. And I did not have this in my business at all in the first year. So, I want you to know this is a process. This may not be something that you implement tomorrow if you're new in your business.
Others of you are like me, you live-launched mostly in your first year of business, and now you're thinking, what can I sell on Evergreen, which means it's always available. There's always traffic going to that funnel that gets people learning about what you do in order to sell a program, a product, a coaching system, whatever it is that you sell. And it's key that these things can sell without you.
Now, we do not have this down a hundred percent. This has definitely been a learning process, but one thing that has helped me is throughout the last three years is we have created what I like to call kind of a mini course, or a starter course, a spotlight course, related to the things that our audience wants to learn about. So if you go to our programs page, which is banishbusinessclutter.com/store, you will see a variety of lower ticket items and even signature programs that we sell so that people can purchase them at any time.
Now, we do have certain things that we only open during live-launch periods. But now that we have so many Evergreen offers. Many of them are mini courses, some are boot camps, some are digital downloads, like our business profitability tracker. We also have a 12-week sprint planner. You know, these are all things that if we created content and have systems in place, for example, for scheduling on social media, it drives traffic to these offers. So, you need to have things in place that will generate revenue even if you are not able to work your business at that time.
So, how do you create an evergreen funnel that sells without you? There's a lot of ways to do this, but an example might be, do you have posts or ads that you run that lead people into a funnel. The funnel might be to a free offer that then sells them a paid offer. It might be a funnel that sends them to a low ticket offer that then leads them to a higher ticket offer. We use Facebook ads in our business that lead to free lead magnets, and then those lead magnets lead to offers. So, just by having a funnel where we're consistently bringing traffic to our list and then putting them in a sequence that promotes an offer. That's an evergreen funnel and those run at all times.
So, how do you create an evergreen funnel that sells without you? There's a lot of ways to do this, but an example might be, do you have posts or ads that you run that lead people into a funnel. The funnel might be to a free offer that then sells them a paid offer. It might be a funnel that sends them to a low ticket offer that then leads them to a higher ticket offer. We use Facebook ads in our business that lead to free lead magnets, and then those lead magnets lead to offers. So, just by having a funnel where we're consistently bringing traffic to our list and then putting them in a sequence that promotes an offer. That's an evergreen funnel and those run at all times. And so, we've implemented more of these throughout the years. Like I said, we're still learning, we're still figuring out the best way to maximize our funnels.
But it's more than just selling an offer. It's also pre-planning. One of the great things about the technology we have today is that so much can be created ahead of time and scheduled. So, when you're looking at your calendar, especially when you know the dates of your life events and you can kind of plan ahead. It gives you the opportunity to create things ahead of time and then schedule that content, whether it's social posts, emails, videos, all of these different things, you plan ahead.
Step number three is to hire a team member or a contractor who can work when you can't. Now, depending on where you are in your business, you may think I am too new, or I can't afford to hire a team member. I'm here to encourage you, if you are serious about building your business, you can't afford not to have a team member. So the good news is, is that you can grow your team as your business grows. This is exactly what I did. I worked my business on my own for five months and after two live-launches, I decided I could not continue doing this on my own. So, I called a friend and asked her what she was up to. I had worked with her in a previous job, found out that she was wanting to transition out of a real estate job that she was working in. And I said, "what do you think about working with me just 10 hours a week?"
And in this case, I knew I would be training her alongside my business. So, she wasn't coming into my business with a ton of experience. I just needed a secondhand person. I needed somebody who I could say, will you do this for me? Will you help me put this together? And somebody to bat ideas around when I was creating new content and ideas. So, that is what my first VA did for me. She only worked 10 hours a week to start, but now works 20 hours a week. And since then I've hired a full-time person and my husband works with me as well. So we're currently a team of four, including myself, and I'm sure we will add more full-time and part-time team members in the future.
But here's the thing that is so valuable. By having another person on your team, you have someone who can help in those moments where you have to step away, whether it's for a day, a week, a month. But if you don't have a team member, another option is to hire a freelancer or a contractor who can just help with a specific project. So, you can hire someone to help you with social media management, copywriting, branding, automations, customer service. There's a lot of different roles and things that you can delegate, and that will probably be a topic of a future broadcast. But the point is, is that when you're not working alone, it does give you more freedom and flexibility.
And I feel like it's best to hire someone when you're not in the mode of an unexpected life event. If you are dealing with an illness or an injury or a family emergency, the last thing you're going to want to be thinking about is who can I hire to help me continue working the business. It's better to find that person when things are going great, because now you're working together, you're connecting, you're getting everything that they need in place so that if for whatever reason you need to step away they know their roles, they know the plan.
That brings me to tip number four. Have onboarding systems in place in case your team member has an emergency. So, for this tip I wanted to share this because it's so important to have systems for everything from the documents you're using, the digital assets you're using in your business, your records. You need everything to be up to date, safely stored.
And one of the ways we do this with our team is we use tools like LastPass for passwords. So, when I'm using LastPass, I can share passwords with specific team members. And I have all of those passwords in a folder for our team. So, it's a shared folder. And then if for whatever reason an emergency happens, and one of my team members, let's say, even needs to leave our business, I already have all of their passwords in one place that I can revoke access. And then I have all of that in a list for the next team member. So if I ever needed to hire a new person to take over that role it would be very, very easy for me to revoke access to all of our different tools that we use and give access to the new team member. So, just that one little tip is an example of how systems really make a transition like this very smooth.
Another thing I recommend is using a project management tool with your team. And this is where everyone can see those to-dos. They can see what's in progress. They can get access to any of the links of where things are completed. So in our project management tool that I use, which is Basecamp. Basecamp used to have a free version and unfortunately it's now $99 a month. So, I know it may not be a tool for everyone, but I love it. Our team loves it. But you can use any project management tool of your choice. There's ClickUp, there's Asana, Slack, Trello.
But whatever project management tool you use, make sure there's very clear communication between you and your team. And anytime someone creates something in Canva, they will click copy link and they will paste that link into our project management tool so that whenever somebody needs something, all we have to do is click the link and it takes us right to that image, video, gif, whatever the case may be inside of Canva.
We do the same thing with our Google Docs, our Google Sheets. So, we're really good about taking everything we're creating and adding those quick links as the projects are completed. Sometimes we're linking to a specific page in Kajabi or a specific email campaign. This is crucial, if for some reason one person on the team would need to step away anybody else on the team would be able to jump into their to-do list, see what's been done, what's been completed, and jump right into where they left off. And we would not lose momentum.
Tip number five is to plan ahead financially as best you can. What can you be doing now to set aside some funds for those emergencies? I know how it feels in the beginning of your business. Every dollar feels like it's being spent, but it's so important to set aside funds for an emergency. Because if you have an emergency fund or you have a savings account that you know you could rely on in the case of an emergency, it does reduce that stress level. And so Brian and I have worked hard to make sure we don't have any debt other than our home. We've worked hard to make sure we have some money set aside because we just don't know what the future holds. And it's important to have that emergency fund, as small as it starts in the beginning, so that you can have something to pull from in case for whatever reason you're unable to work.
And then my last tip is to stay calm and focused during those unexpected crisis moments. We tend to go more extreme rather than just taking a deep breath and thinking through ways that we can still make it work or ways that we can pivot so that it will work alongside our life. I know for me, I do what I can to prepare. I do my part and I also just pray and trust that the Lord's going to work out the rest. My favorite verse is Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, submit to him and he will make your paths straight."
I'm so thankful for this because right now our family is experiencing an unexpected life event. Our son was diagnosed in August with severe scoliosis. He's 14 years old, and tomorrow he will actually be having spine fusion surgery where they will fuse his spine with two titanium rods and screws so that his curve will be corrected. And it's going to prevent some future issues and pain of course. Getting a diagnosis like that, it will derail you. You know, you have the emotions, you have the stress. In fact, when we were navigating and researching all of our options for a while, we thought he was going to need surgery in October. So, I was shifting and changing some things around in my business thinking that's what we would do. Then I found out we could wait till January, so then I switched and pivoted again.
So, I just share this because I know firsthand what it's like to have one of these unexpected things. One of the ways we pivoted was in our membership that we are planning to launch in March. And this is actually a membership I thought I was going to be launching in November or December. So, I want you to know that, you know, often we do have to make some arrangements or changes, but by pivoting the date and the launch of our membership, it actually opened up the doors for other opportunities that were maybe not quite so intensive. So, it was easier to generate revenue from them without generating revenue from something brand new.
So, that's the sort of thing I want to encourage you to do. If you have to pivot from something brand new or a big thing that you have planned in your business, remember it doesn't mean all is lost. There's probably something else you can do instead, or there's something else you can do to still make it work in the dates you set or maybe you can bump something back a week. I know I had a launch one time where I had something unexpected happen and I was like I just need one more week to really deliver this challenge the way it needs to be delivered. So, we did what we had to do. We bumped the dates back a week and it all worked out fine. I love 1st Peter 5:7: "Give all your worries to God because He cares about you."
And that's what we've done in this whole journey. I'm trusting the Lord with my son and his surgery and I'm trusting the Lord with my business because when it all comes down to it what is important? We're not creating a business just to have a successful business. We're creating a business so that we can spend time with the people that are important in our life. So, it's just a good priority check, but it doesn't mean that I'm also not able to have my business working while I'm able to spend time with my son. And it's all because we have taken the last two years and we've really set up the systems that will help things move forward even when we are not here.
So, I know sometimes life can be hard, and if that is where you are right now, I want you to know I see you. I know what it's like to feel overwhelmed or frustrated or scared or worried. And in all the times in my life where I've had those moments, God makes a way. And sometimes it doesn't work out as I expected, but I trust that He is faithful and going to give me everything I need in those hard situations.
So, my prayer for you is that if you've been struggling with building your business because life's been a rollercoaster, I want this to encourage you. I want the steps that I'm sharing today to encourage you to know that you can take one step forward that makes a difference, and everything that you're doing to plan and prepare is going to make you more prepared for when these things happen. Action and implementation in your business is key. It's always motion that leads to momentum. So, resist that temptation to cancel your launch or throw in the towel with your business when that unexpected happens.
You know, we all have to make certain things in life a priority over our business at various times. So, give yourself grace. And if you're not in the middle of an unexpected event right now, take advantage of this time. Start putting things in place that will sustain and grow your business because that preparation is going to make such a difference.
Why is it so important to prepare your business for these unexpected events? Because I'm guessing your business is much more to you than just a job. It's something you feel you've been called to do to impact the life of your family and the life of others. So, be diligent. Put those systems in place that allow you to impact the world, but also give you the ability to create a life with freedom and flexibility.
And for anyone who's been struggling to balance life and business, I get it. I know the emotional and physical toll it can take. But remember, most situations are not forever. And one day I prayerfully believe your current struggle will be behind you and you'll be able to look back and say, wow, look how far I've come.
So, I'm going to run because I need to pack for the hospital. But I so appreciate the prayers and support we've received from all of our listeners for our son. Thank you so much for listening and being a part of our community. You are so appreciated.
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