It’s no secret that the COVID-19 global pandemic in 2020 threw everyone for a loop. Most people were not only faced with a renewed responsibility of staying healthy but also with a new unknown financial burden of not knowing where their next paycheck would come from. How were we supposed to gain an income while dealing with social distancing? During this time, we had to find new, creative ways of making money, while also respecting social distancing guidelines (and for a while, completely quarantining away from others).
In one respect, we’re incredibly lucky to have had this happen during a time when we can stay so connected without needing to be in close proximity to one another. This has opened many innovative and creative doors for us to take advantage of.
Many of us who work hands-on with people felt this financial hit the hardest. Massage therapists, physical therapists, gym owners, yoga instructors, bartenders, and many others were at a loss for what to do next. But these are actually the people who have been able to utilize the internet in an effort to make a living while also trying to invoke a sense of community and connectivity in the midst of physical distance.
Below, we’ll talk through a feasible way to gain a sustainable income while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
Make a plan for offering your current products or services online
Many businesses highly rely on in-person interactions with customers. For example, how is a massage therapist going to help a customer if they can’t meet face-to-face? Or how will a personal trainer stay afloat when gyms close?
It seems that social distancing can pose a serious threat to these types of businesses. But while there are certainly various hurdles to overcome, there are just as many opportunities for maintaining and even growing a business amid physical distance restrictions.
For example, instead of holding an in-person yoga class, instructors can live-stream videos of their classes and later send out the recordings to their clients. Not only does this keep people moving while they are at home, but it also creates a sense of community for those participating in the virtual class together.
Massage and physical therapists can create videos and documentation explaining and showing how their clients can implement self-massage and self-care while they’re unable to be seen. They can even show these treatments through live video calls for a more personalized experience. As a part-time massage therapist, part of my income is derived from working on the elderly who were the most at-risk group during the 2020 pandemic. They are also some of the people who need hands-on touch the most. Social distancing completely halted my ability to work on them, but I could still help by sending videos and texts about how to continue to derive the benefits of massage without me needing to be there physically.
There are various ways you can offer your services or products digitally, and the best option will depend on your expertise. Here are a few popular ways to meet your customers’ needs virtually:
- Online course
- Private community
- Digital products
- Private podcast
- Content library
- Private zoom calls
Though nothing really beats in-person interaction, if you’re creative enough and work to think outside the box, it’s likely you’ll find a way to continue providing your customers with valuable services and information despite the physical distance.
Add your digital content to your website
Once you’ve decided exactly how you’d like to structure your digital content (e.g. content library, paid community, etc.), you’ll need to determine where you’re going to create and keep that content. A great option is to build out a section on your existing website. Instead of trying to find a new tool, simply add a few new pages to your current website, and build out all of your digital content on those pages. One reason using your website is a great idea is that you have complete control over every aspect — you own your content, and you can choose exactly how it looks!
Thinking back to the previous examples, a fitness instructor who is planning to host a live-stream workout class could build a new website page with all of the details (e.g. date, time, list of equipment attendees will need, etc.) and the link to join the live class. Massage and physical therapists could build out a few different sections/web pages with videos and instructions for various stretches and self-massage techniques that help different parts of the body.
Now there is one issue here… how are you supposed to generate an income if your content is directly on your website for all to see? Is this the part where you put out a digital tip jar hoping to collect a few extra dollars here and there? I’ll go ahead and put you at ease by saying no, that’s not the idea here. We’re working to continue your existing business by creating a digital version of it, and that includes generating a sustainable income.
So if you don’t want your digital content available to just anyone who visits your website, you’ll need a way to restrict access to specific people. A great way to do this is by building a membership option.
Start a membership for current and new customers to join
Put simply, adding a membership option to your existing website will allow you to decide who gets access to which pages and content. And using a tool like MemberSpace makes it easy to restrict any part of your website by turning it into members-only.
MemberSpace integrates with most website platforms including Squarespace, WordPress, Webflow, Wix, Duda, Carrd, Notion, Showit, Weebly, and even custom HTML websites. In just a few simple steps, you can install MemberSpace on your current website which gives you full membership capabilities.
At this point, we’ve already covered adding your digital content to your website. So now, let’s talk about locking down those members-only pages so they aren’t available to the public.
With MemberSpace, you can easily add any web page to your account so only people who sign up for a membership will be able to access that page.
You can protect an unlimited number of pages on your website which gives you the freedom to structure your content on as many different pages as you need. And when someone visits one of those pages without signing up for a membership, they’ll be asked to do so before continuing.
Learn more about protecting web pages with MemberSpace →
If you’ll be adding various files (e.g. images, videos, pdfs, etc.) to your website, MemberSpace’s Content Links feature allows you to add extra protection to those files before adding them to your website. This extra layer of security will keep your files hidden just in case anyone tries to sneak around the paywall.
Learn more about securing your files with Content Links →
Once you’ve protected your pages and/or files, you’ll need to create a way for people to sign up for your membership. This is possible by creating plans for people to join. You can create as many different plans as you need and determine exactly how much members will need to pay — grant access to protected pages and content for free or charge members a one-time payment, multiple installments, or an ongoing subscription.
Learn more about creating membership plans →
After you create plans for people to join and get access to the members-only content, you can invite members or add plan sign-up links to your website. And when members have joined a plan, they’ll be able to access your digital content!
Learn more about inviting members to join your membership →
MemberSpace’s robust software offers a ton of other tools for you to fully customize your membership so it looks and functions exactly how you’d like. It also empowers you to automate things like new member approval, the release of new content, and all membership communication so you have the time and space to take care of yourself — and let’s face it, we all need systems and processes that take the weight off of our shoulders and help us to stress less when the world seems to have been flipped upside down!
While social distancing (and even more so, a global pandemic) can certainly leave us in an unknown financial environment, we can still find ways to thrive and safely maintain a sense of community. Thankfully, technology hasn’t advanced to the point of being able to pass pathogens through the internet, but it is advanced enough to be able to stay connected and keep money flowing while we all enjoy some time at home.
Though starting a membership site may be a completely new and foreign concept for you, MemberSpace’s team of experts and flexible membership software have all the essential tools, know-how, and integrations you need to get going and keep growing. Learn more and sign up for our free 14-day trial today.
👋 To those of you who don’t know me, my name is Chelsea and I’m part of the awesome MemberSpace support team. I’m also a part-time massage therapist in Colorado, and my main client base is 70 and over. While I’m super lucky to have my job with MemberSpace, I financially took a hit in 2020, along with many others. But it was refreshing to see so many people come together to support each other in amazing ways. I hope that everyone can glean a little clarity and positivity from one another and continue moving forward during times like we have experienced. Stay safe and healthy out there, and get those creative juices flowing!