Entrepreneurs and COVID-19 - Interview with Melody Owen of Nutritious Truth, YVR Authors and Vancouver Story Tellers (Vancouver)

Please share a bit about yourself as an entrepreneur and what your business entails - brick and mortar store, online, product, etc.

I have three interrelated businesses. I work with entrepreneurs on their content strategy and content marketing through Nutritious Truth. I run events for authors and edit nonfiction books through YVR Authors. Thirdly, I teach storytelling and coach storytellers under my own name. Everything I do is based around story and communication of story to create positive change in the world.

Before the COVID-19 crisis, how did you work with your regular clients and reach out to new ones. What type of marketing worked best for you?

Before COVOD-19, I hosted monthly events for authors so obviously, I can’t do that anymore. I worked online and in person with clients throughout North America for the content strategy and editing. For the storytelling, I worked both in person and online, depending on where my clients lived. Once or twice a month I would also do free live story coaching circles here in Vancouver.

How has the social isolation required to combat the spread of COVID-19 affected your business? What about this has been hardest for you personally?

I have had to cancel or postpone all of my live events. I did bring one event online because tickets had already been sold and that worked but decided it was not the best way to move forward. Even though I can do much of my work online, all but one client backed out of their contracts or postponed their contracts when COVID-19 hit because they didn’t have the money anymore to pay for the work. I understood but it did hit me hard. I suddenly had no income and couldn’t get financial support because I was self employed. I had to re-evaluate how I work and think of ways to stay connected even if I can’t earn income right now. 

Interview With Melody on Stories that Heal

The hardest part personally was figuring out how to support both of my kids while dealing with all my own stress and hardship. My eldest daughter works so hard to be a full time student with a job and her own apartment in Vancouver. When COVID-19 first hit, she became ill and had to quarantine herself. That broke my heart. She was alone and ill and had no means of income. I was powerless to help her get through it. I did drop off food but I couldn’t give her the motherly care I wanted to give her.

When she got better and was cleared to go back to work, her store was robbed. I won’t go into the details but she was not harmed physically but it was traumatic. That day, she also received her lay off notice. Now she was behind on her school work and without a job to pay her bills. I was faced with leaving my youngest to spend time with my eldest to try to help her get back on her feet financially and emotionally. And I still had all my stressors to deal with such as how to shift my business to this new reality. I left my youngest with her father and spent two and a half weeks with my eldest daughter. It was challenging to work at her dining room table, not in my office with all the things I needed, but it was necessary. 

If you are wondering why she didn’t just move back with me… the point was to help her settle back into the most normal life possible and that includes being in her own home. Plus, she has two males cats and so do we so while we did briefly considered her coming back, we decided that puling (pulling) her and her cats out of their home and trying to make space for everyone here and dealing with the fights and disruptions to both sets of cats was not what we all wanted. The best scenario was for her to settle back into her routine at her home so she could finished her courses and sign up for the next term.

Have you found new ways to interact with your customer? Have you developed any new products or services as a way to help your clients through this time, or to fill a new need you see?

While all this other stress is happening in my life, I have also been thinking about a number of things related to my business. How to support my community of authors and entrepreneurs? How to stay in touch with clients while they don’t have the income to pay for my service? How to generate revenue? 

For the storytelling, I have been running a free workshop every month and weekly story coaching circles. I did free events before and now I am offering more. People feel isolated and stories can bring them together. Anyone with a story can join me weekly to listen to others and tell their own story. Everyone receives feedback. If people don’t know how to craft a story, I have a monthly workshop to teach them.

For Nutritious Truth, the company I help entrepreneurs with their content strategy, I hope to do some content building myself while I cannot support clients. I often spend so much time helping others that I don’t create enough content myself. Ironic, I know. I am working on a webinar and other content for when we are back in full swing. I have a workshop that I run quarterly. If I can run it next quarter I will, but I am not sure if I will find enough clients who can afford the fee.

On stage in her self-written play!
 YVR Authors will undergo the largest transformation. I will be starting a YouTube channel with interviews with experts. Any author anywhere will be able to receive support for the journey from planning, producing, publishing and promoting their book. I believe I have much to offer the author community not just in Vancouver but internationally so I will be taking this time to shift the business to an online format so I can reach more and more authors.

What type of marketing seems to be working best for you in this time of social isolation?
Much of my work is done by referral and that hasn’t changed much. I build community and people see value in it, I hope, and then tell their friends and colleagues. I also give talks, use social media and build personal relationships as well.

Anything you'd like readers to know about you and your business? Any last words of encouragement you'd like to share with everyone?

Things will change. Change is inevitable. We choose whether we fight it, go with it, or embrace it. If we embrace change, we can construct the new world that will emerge. I want to be part of constructing a better world than the one we have left behind. I am very sorry that so many people will suffer, many people have had far more stress and loss than I have had so far. For that I am deeply sorry. I can’t control everything but I can control my decisions and my actions and through that I can be part of emerging in a better world.

If you would like to learn how to tell stories, join me for a workshop. If you are an entrepreneur and would like to conquer your content stay tuned for the next workshop. And if you are an author, be on the lookout for my new YouTube channel that will support your author journey. The best way for storytellers and authors to learn of my events and the new YouTube channel is to sign up for my email list at http://www.melodyannowen.com/ For entrepreneurs and small business, sign up at https://nutritioustruth.com/

And no matter where you are in your journey through this pandemic, stay safe and take care.

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