By Annie Calvaneso

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit last year, all entrepreneurs had a choice: we could let this be the reason we failed, or we could use it as fuel to succeed.

I decided early on that I sure as hell was not going to let everything I built die.

But it was going to be a huge challenge.
Like most other business owners, I worried about how I could have a sustainable business in a market that was unpredictable.

I built my business as a health and fitness coach working with renowned opera singers all over the world.
When the pandemic hit, the majority of my target market lost their jobs.

With most of my clients out of work, so was I.

Within 2 days I lost almost my entire company revenue.
I had to act FAST.

I gave myself a weekend to sulk, then got right down to business.

I asked myself two questions:
How do I make money quickly so I can pay my bills?
What are the problems my industry is facing right now, and how can I help?
To make money quickly, I reached out to people I knew personally outside my industry who needed support; people whose jobs weren’t affected. I knew they were struggling with health and fitness being stuck inside all day, and I knew they’d be able to invest in a coach.

And then, I pivoted to help my audience.

The biggest problem my audience of performers faced was the same one I did- they had to pivot their careers in order to make money.

Since performances were shut down for the foreseeable future, people who relied on performing for a living had no secure income.

Because my audience and I had similar problems, I understood exactly how they felt.
Throughout my career I’ve learned that often the only thing people need to find their own strength is to see someone else succeed first. I knew that if I addressed my own challenges head on, it would show my audience what’s possible. They too could pivot careers and be successful.

What’s one thing performers could do?
All performers could teach lessons to students who want to be where they are.

I decided to teach performers how to start their own businesses.

I hosted a webinar teaching them how to start online private voice studios.

While there was some basic marketing and sales strategy, I realized my clients needed to feel inspired. They needed to believe that they could do this on their own. And I was the one to show them that.

As a business coach, I focus on messy action and quick sales. For beginning online business owners, a website, the perfect marketing strategy, a logo, and great branding colors are not as important as a genuine connection to your audience so that they know, like, and trust you.

I found a love for business coaching and inspiring others to take action and keep moving forward despite challenges.

My webinars helped over 60 singers and performers start online businesses during the pandemic. Many of them made enough to come off unemployment.
All of them started businesses that they could sustain and grow.

A year later, my company is working with singers on health and fitness again, but I also have a client roster for business coaching.

My company has doubled in revenue as a result of this change, and I am serving more people and feeling more fulfilled than ever.

The biggest lesson I learned from this experience is that successful people don’t have less challenges; they adapt and overcome the challenges quicker.

This experience, although difficult, helped shape me into a more resilient, hard-working person who can overcome any obstacle.