My Covid Story – Olivia Ambani
Over the years I’ve come to discover that my true purpose in this world is to show up as my most authentic self and focus on being happy. In pursuit of this life vision I focused my energy on things I love: music and building brands! I am a singer, songwriter, marketing consultant and brand strategist. I released my debut album – THE AWAKENING – in April 2020, the album consists of 14 songs all written and performed by me. In my marketing & brand strategist career I have worked with various brands/companies to help them communicate their vision and engage their target audience, which ultimately led to an increase in sales, brand recognition and awareness. I have created marketing and communication strategies, set up and run social media pages, carried out marketing evaluations and recommended effective actionable solutions.
Over the last few years my business has grown from strength to strength. I have worked with clients such as: HEVA Fund, Agnes Pure & Regal, Coffee Casa, Annly’s Nails and Beyond, Kiko Romeo and many more.
Early on in 2020 business had begun to reach a great place where my new hourly marketing consultation package was being well received with my monthly clients having increased by 30% from last year. In my music things were set to be great as well, with my debut album scheduled for release in March.
And then COVID happened.
This took some adjusting and I had to take time to regroup and rethink the way I was approaching things. At first I felt overwhelmed as everything seemed to stand still. A lot of potential clients that were set to confirm business in March were no longer able to and my income was now down to a quarter of what I was expecting. I went from having a fully booked month to just taking it one day at a time day. As I slowly started to come to terms with the new normal I started to implement changes that have helped me grow even in this period:
- Virtual communication: A lot of my consultation sessions used to happen face to face, that all changed and now was moved to virtual via Zoom or Whatsapp call/video. I feel this is something I plan to stick to going forward as it has been very cost and time effective.
- Customer Reassurance: I reached out to my clients and found out how they were doing, for some I offered a 50% reduction in fees. This helped me retain a key client who was hit very hard financially. I found that when I initiated the conversation of fee reduction the client was more willing to stay than if they had to bring it up.
- Free Support: For about 2 weeks I offered free 1 hour marketing consultation services. I also reached out to a number of previous clients and offered a free 1 hour session. This really helped me evaluate the needs of my clients in this season and also increased my brand loyalty. A lot of clients also sent me referrals and they turned into paying clients. I definitely plan to explore more free hourly consultation sessions for businesses, I’ve seen the potential in this form of marketing.
- Increased engagement: as people were at home and active online I decided to still go ahead with my album release and I found that a lot of people connected with my music and I got a number of new fans. I also made a point of increasing my engagement online (Increased posts especially on Instagram stories/Live) – sharing my routines (Fitness, skin care, hair). I found that people started to engage with me more and this eventually led to more business both for my music and marketing consultancy.
- Portfolio update: one of the greatest gifts I feel this season has brought me is the time to evaluate and update my portfolio. I took the time to revamp my social media pages and I invested more time in updating my LinkedIn profile, connecting with people and also getting recommendations. This has helped me attract new clients, with many people having been active on LinkedIn in search of work or networks.
Overall I feel that the adjustments I made to help me keep my business going in this season are things I want to consider implementing on a more long term basis. There are many things I have learnt in this season but I will share 3:
- It pays to invest in yourself: I took this time to grow personally not just in terms of my career knowledge but self. I took time to replace some limiting beliefs I had of myself and this in turn has positively impacted my business and the way I approach life.
- You can make money in any season: when COVID started I found myself affirming the fact that there was no money and that no one would be taking my services. Once I stopped focusing on what wasn’t working and started to look at the opportunities, and invest time in growing my finance/wealth knowledge I found that business started to grow.
- Be patient and focus on your own journey: A lot of the anxiety I experienced when COVID started was as a result of me comparing my life to others, why I wasn’t further along, why I didn’t have enough in my savings, why I wasn’t adjusting like other people were. But I soon realized I was only making myself miserable and I decided to focus on my own journey, celebrate how far I have come, stay present, be happy and do what I can where I am with what I have.
This season has totally changed my life and I am grateful that I have experienced so much growth and abundance at a time when things seemed so heavy. There is always light and hope in each season, we just have to be open to seeing it and allowing it to guide our story.