MAKING MONEY IN 2020, THE YEAR OF COVID19.
Have you lost your job, or half your clients? Do you have too much time and too little money? Are you despondent and wasting time? It’s time to accept the disasters we’ve had thrown at us and turn them into fresh opportunities.
Here’s what I did. Maybe you could do something similar.
THE DAY THE BUSINESS DIED.
I was running a thriving boutique villa management business in Bali when the corona virus hit. Our 25 villas averaged an annual occupancy of 75%, but in late February 2020, the cancellations flooded in, and by mid-March every villa was empty, the tourists having fled to their home countries. Disaster and bankruptcy loomed. I had thirty staff to pay and no income, so I calculated the amount needed to cover costs for each villa, and at super cheap rates, I advertised each villa for long-term rental to expats living here. Within a week, I had tenants for all villas. I now had enough income to cover staff wages and basic operating costs, but there would be little left over for me to live on. If this story is sounding familiar, read on.
WHAT WILL I DO NOW?
For the last twelve years, I’ve been writing in my spare time and bemoaning the fact there were not enough hours in the day for me to write and promote my work. I’d self-published two books of short stories Through My Eyes–Adventures in Bali and A Taste of Bali–stories and poems, but they languished, forgotten, for lack of promotion. I also had two manuscripts, completed and fully edited, that sat in computer files, going nowhere. I had another four manuscripts partially written. For years, I’d dreamed of becoming a full-time, successful writer, and now I had the time. I decided to use it and see how much I could achieve before tourism once again kicked in. I estimated I had six to nine months.
DO A SELF ASSESSMENT.
I started with a self-assessment, looking at my talents and my areas of need. I made lists under the headings of WRITE, EDIT, PUBLISH, PROMOTE and LEARN.
Writing was not an issue. I was prolific, my writers’ group assisted me with early editing, and I paid a professional editor to ensure my manuscripts were without errors. This is where my competencies ended and my list of needs was extensive.
- My author email list was light on.
- My website needed updating.
- I was erratic in sending out blogs and newsletters.
- My presence on social media needed extending.
- I had little experience with self-publishing.
- I had no success at getting an agent to represent me.
Looking at my list of needs, I time framed what I had to do in the months ahead. I also worked out some goals were above my abilities and outsourced these. I outsourced the redevelopment of my website, www.privateubudvillas.com and I also sought help to develop promotional videos and advertising for my books.
This became my list of tasks I needed to do every day to grow as a professional writer. I estimated these tasks would take one to two hours a day.
- Expand my social media presence and post on each one daily.
- Read blogs and other tutorials related to social media and learn how to use each one effectively.
- Read blogs on promoting and marketing self-published books.
- Study how to write effective and interesting blogs and social media posts.
- Undertake tutorials on self-publishing and work towards publishing one of my completed manuscripts.
- Continue writing every day.
Just Publishing Advice was one of the many useful blogs that I frequently referred to and learnt from.
These tasks were likely to take about 4 hours a day if I was to achieve each task every week.
- Write and publish a blog every week. Promote this not just to subscribers, but also on all my social media. This would build my author email list.
- Write an article to either publish of Medium or to send to a magazine. I wanted to build a following.
- Write a new chapter (4 pages) for my new book No More Dogs. This is a follow-up book to Rescued–The poodle’s story.
- Attend the ZOOM meeting of the Ubud Writers Group every Thursday. They would help me edit my latest chapter for No More Dogs.
MONTH BY MONTH TARGETS.
With manuscripts completed and partially written, I set monthly targets.
- Run a Publishizer campaign for Abandoned, Rescued, Loved–The dog’s story. I later renamed this book Rescued–The poodle’s story.
- Query agents to represent my manuscript, “The Maiden Aunts.”
May and June.
- Self-publish, Rescued–The poodle’s story, and start promoting it.
- Continue querying agents to represent The Maiden Aunts.
July and August.
- Finish writing Under Drought Skies, the sequel to The Maiden Aunts.
- Remove my two books of short stories from Amazon, Combine, edit and update them, add additional stories and republish them as a new collection titled, Island Addiction–Bali.
SO I HAD A PLAN. NOW I HAD TO DO IT.
My goals were ambitious, but I set to work achieving them. I achieved my targets in April, May and June. I was hitting six forms of social media daily, keeping my interactions light and funny, but also plugging my books.
I published Rescued–The poodle’s story, on Amazon and sales trickled in.
I regularly published blogs and newsletters, and I sent off a series of articles to dog magazines, hoping they would accept and publish my submission.
Rejection letters arrived from agents I’d queried to represent The Maiden Aunts, but then one agent offered to help me find an agent or publisher for this book.
My skill levels and talents were growing daily thanks to on-line tutorials, blogs and google searches.
NOTHING’S SET IN STONE.
In May, I received a phone call from an acquaintance who’d written a 20,000-word draft about his experience during the Global Financial Crisis, titled How I lost Millions and Got It Back. He’d been following my blogs and had read my books, liked my writing style and wanted me to co-write or ghost write his story. I had him send me his draft, read it, and was keen to get involved. My June, July and August targets got shelved and writing this book replaced my previous goal to complete writing, Under Drought Skies, and to combine my two books of short stories into a new publication. They are now scheduled forSeptember and October.
SO HOW’S IT GOING?
I’m writing and promoting my books for twelve to sixteen hours a day. I’m not making any significant money so far, but I never meant this to be ‘get rich quick’ scheme. Daily I build my credentials and talents as a writer. I’m working on becoming a productive and successful writer, and this is gradually happening.Tags: #Covid19 #, #Money, #writing, #writinginspiration
4 thoughts on “MAKING MONEY IN 2020, THE YEAR OF COVID19.”
Your plan is excellent, Steve. Daily, weekly and monthly targets are the way to go. I have ideas and lists but I don’t follow them rigorously. I need to actually have it all mapped out so I can see the trajectory. Thankyou for showing the clarity of your thought process as it’s something I need to foster more. Good luck with it all. I’m sure, like everything you put your mind to, whatever success you seek, you’ll find.
Cheers, from Fi.
Thanks Fiona, I appreciate your comments and love the praise. All we can do is keep plodding along and hope for more good days than bad. Regards, Steve.
Well done Steve. You are certainly making lemonade with this crop of lemons we have been handed. Identifying goals and Implementing plans can be daunting. Your approach is brilliant. Identifying needs is really a deep dive. Well done. I agree with Fiona, daily weekly and monthly targets are key.
Steve, how did I miss this post????
You know how baffled I am at how you accomplish all you do. This spells out your approach, but I’m still in awe that you actually ‘work your plan’ – diligently! I wish you all the success possible because if anyone’s earned it, you have.