Vanessa Michelle talks business

Coffee Talk with Vanessa Michelle | No money, no business — now what?

Thoughts on adjusting your business during COVID-19

by Vanessa Michelle

Well, here we are in the midst of a pandemic (strong exhale). How? Why? Thoughts and feelings are all a blur. There are really no words to describe how strange everything feels. Oddly enough, there’s a part of me that feels a sense of peace and calmness. Yet another part of me feels lost in all the uncertainty. Do you feel the same way? 

By now I’m sure there’s some anxiousness about how to move forward in your business and I’ve got a list of gems for you to utilize. However, before even considering the next steps to take, I really want you to be aware of how you feel and your mental stability. I know it sucks to have to adjust so quickly. We are all adjusting to uncertainty, and how in the world do we do that, right? I don’t know how serious your situation is, but it’s important to stay in control of how you’re feeling and to keep yourself stimulated in a positive way. Don’t give in to those negative emotions — they do more harm than good. You and I will get through this, and we are going to be better for it. 

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What do I mean by better? Better creators, better problem-solvers, better friends, better community advocates, and so much more. This pandemic has made us more aware of our surroundings as a whole. I love that! Even though we were forced into this, we have an opportunity to do good things and keep each other uplifted, so lets stay on that vibe. Fair enough?

So your business is flat. You’ve applied for loans, unemployment and whatever else you can find. How can you make money while you’re waiting for approvals or adjusting to social distancing? You have to be okay with pivoting your business. 

Pivoting is the process of changing your business’s structure so that you meet the current market needs. It’s up to you how long you stay within that pivot. Don’t resist adjusting; flow with it.

 As a business owner, adjustment is extremely important for growth, especially within the next few months. It’s time to be uncomfortable. 

Here are five ideas to help conquer discomfort for your business. As you’re reviewing the options below, consider: What is still important for people right now? People want to feel safe, happy, and comfortable. How can you leverage that based on your business? People want to buy online, and online ordering has been at an all-time high! 

Five Tips For Adjusting Your Business During COVID 19:

  1. Leverage Facebook: Use your personal page or create a business page to show off your work, provide tutorials, perform for tips with a payment link, or join a Facebook group to help you stay afloat. 
  2. Offer group or one-on-one coaching to adults and kids. 
  3. Provide paid tutorials. 
  4. Look for an online job and focus on the task you’ve been ignoring for your business. 
  5. Reinvent your products to be a solution NOW!

How? The Breakdown:

Leverage Facebook:

Using an online tool is necessary for your business. Facebook still ranks as the giant of all social media outlets. If you currently have a personal Facebook, I’d recommend using it more as a tool and a self-promotional platform. Visibility is seriously underrated, but right now is the best moment to get noticed. It is not pompous or insensitive for you to do this, I promise. 

My friend Nikki Rodhe is a yoga instructor. Every week, she picks two days to do a group yoga session on her Facebook. Each session is “Live,” which is a video option on Facebook that allows you to film in real time. I took a few classes and loved it! I’ve even considered paying her for one on one sessions.

Musicians Roger Riddle and Jul Huntley have been using Facebook and Instagram to publish live performances. Within their captions, they ask for donations. I think this is a genius idea to leverage the online space during this time. 


If you have a skill that you know people would pay for, I would recommend coaching one-on-one or in groups. You have to remember that not everyone is out of work, and some people are looking for educational training and even  entertainment for their kids or themselves. Why not help to fill that gap? For paid tutorials in groups, I would recommend using Zoom or Stream Yard. Both are online platforms that allow more privacy and group engagement. You have the option of making the lessons or coaching session private or public. I suggest asking for payment, whether by donation or payment-only sessions. 

Online Job & Business Development:

I know this isn’t the most creative option, but it’s an option nevertheless. There are more than 6,050 jobs available right now on If you don’t have access to the internet, I totally understand. But if you do, try getting an online job for the time being,, and as you’re working, devote your attention to some of the tasks that you were delaying before the pandemic. Taking photos for your products, understanding Facebook better, making a website, starting a newsletter — whatever it is, just start on it.

Reinventing Your Products: 

Right now Facebook is the new CNN. Everyone is logging in and checking it all the time. With that being said, everyone is constantly scrolling their timelines for different reasons. We all want to feel inspired or informed. That’s why I think every business owner should start providing fun ways to inspire or inform people about what they do — especially if it directly relates to the pandemic. Unfortunately, reinventing your products means changing. Once again, don’t resist this. For now, adjust to the new normal. 

If you’re wondering how to do this, take for example one of my entrepreneurial friends, Da’Shika Street. Before the pandemic, Da’Shika was selling handmade dresses, purses, and hair accessories. She uses a lot of afrocentric fabrics and her designs are amazing. You can tell by her posts that business was pretty steady a few months ago. Once the quarantine kicked in and wearing masks became a huge topic, Da’Shika pivoted her business and posts. She started only posting announcements about making masks. So for the past two months, she has been updating her fans about when she is selling, her process, her favorite fabrics, and more. I love seeing her posts about her workspace and current fabrics. 

Imagine this being you. What part of your business can you transfer online? This is prime time for you to show off what kind of work you do. 

I hope that one of these five are helpful for you or people you know to stay afloat as we endure this quarantine. For more resources, look around on The Devil Strip’s website. Cheers! 

Vanessa Michelle is a full-time YouTuber who has created a platform for creatives everywhere!  Her journey to journalism started at the University of Akron, where she was an on-air personality and TV host for WZIP-FM and ZTV Akron. Vanessa has been featured in local publications as “The Oprah of YouTube” and one of Akron’s most unique entrepreneurs.

Photo: Used with permission from Vanessa Michelle