How to make the most of your unexpected downtime - Kathleen Celmins

How to make the most of your unexpected downtime

We are most certainly living in strange times. Never in our lifetimes have so many schools closed their doors. Not to mention other public places.

The market keeps falling. The pundits are talking about bears. The stock market halts sales more often than I can recall.

And if you’re off work right now, on the one hand, you’re thinking: vacation, yay!

But on the other hand, you can’t be around all this bad news (and the disease and the financial realities are inextricably linked of course) and not wonder… what’s going to happen to my job/life/family after the dust settles?

And further, what does the world look like once the dust does settle?

There are things you can do in these strange times that will improve your life.

We don’t know what the future looks like, but right now, while we’re in it, is an excellent time to figure out what you’re good at, position yourself as an expert, and build a marketing engine to prep yourself for the future we might not want, but the future we’re going to have.

The future is all about knowledge work.

Let me show you how you can use this downtime for good.

Don’t worry, I’m not coming for your Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. You can watch all the shows you want. There’ll still be time for you to figure out your next move once you get bored watching your shows. Plus, if you have multiple streaming subscriptions, you have everything you need to start building something for yourself.

First, let’s talk about you for a minute.

You are an expert. Everything you’ve learned, all the knowledge you’ve built, has not been in vain. You don’t need to learn one more thing to build your next offer.

Your expertise might be your job title — an accountant almost certainly is an expert in accounting — but it may not be.

At this point in your life, you’re an expert in three to five broad topics.

These are the things you know better than most.

What are they?

And of that list of three to five broad topics, which ones light you up? Which are the ones you could build something around?

I’m a parent of two small children. I’m the breadwinner. The entrepreneur. The working parent. My husband is the primary caregiver. Together, we have a lot of knowledge a lot of people don’t. But building a name for myself around the topics of parenting and business building is not a path I want to go down.

So I skip that for now. Marketing lights me up in a way positioning myself as a parenting expert never will.

Pay attention to the “for now” part of that sentence. Because, although you really can only focus on one thing at a time (humans can’t multitask, let’s be real), you can keep the other topics in your back pocket, or your Google drafts folder, whichever the case may be.

You have a word, now, for your expertise. Now it’s time to turn that into your body of work. Write 100 things you believe to be true about your topic. Yes, 100. Yes, you have time. You can’t leave the house anyway, so might as well, right?

These are the thoughts, opinions, ideas, that, taken individually, don’t seem like anything special. But next to their 99 friends, they represent your body of work. And seeing them all together will show you that your body of work is unique. It’s different than someone else who is also an expert in your topic. This will build your confidence and allow you to move to the next step.

Next is positioning.

For our purposes here, positioning is simply thinking about how you want to display your knowledge to the people who need it most.

Sometimes, when I talk about positioning, I talk about in-person workshops or keynote speeches on big stages.

But for now (again, for now!) keep your ideas virtual. What can you deliver to convey your knowledge in the shortest time possible?

Let’s think in terms of MVP, your minimum viable product. What is the easiest thing you can create? An how can you get it in the hands of people who need it most?

That’s where the last piece comes into play.

Building your “no-brainer offer”

Usually, now’s the time where I talk about building a marketing engine. Or rather, I talk about turning your existing website into a marketing engine.

But we’re going to skip through all that.

Because the point here is to get your offer ready to help the most people as fast as possible.

The things that will sell, most easily, are the things that will help your target audience the most.

Brainstorm a list of things you can create that are easy for you to create (because you’re operating in your zone of genius here) and solve an immediate and painful need for your audience.

Then price it low.

$39, $49, $99.

That kind of low.

The kind of low that your audience will see and think, “I can’t afford not to get this, not at that price.”

Elements of a no-brainer offer

Your no-brainer offer needs the following:

  1. A main offer, which we just discussed. Something reasonable to peel off, to consume in an afternoon, that will change things for them, for the better.
  2. A check-box offer that they think, “gee, while my wallet is open, I might as well add that too”
  3. And a great deal kind of offer that appears right after they’ve bought.

If you don’t want to put together an offer, you might consider adding Mediavine to your blog instead.

This video does a really great job explaining it:

This post was written as part of a round-up of related posts. For other takes on what to do during these strange times, check these out:

Case study:

How we earned $100,000 in a year on a digital product

Get the three things that made the most difference when we marketed a digital course and it earned $100,000 in just 12 months.

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