How to ethically pivot your business when everything is upside-down

Abbey Woodcock
3 min readMar 17, 2020


Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash

Does it feel like you were FINALLY making progress on your business, finally starting to get a handle on this freelancing thing?

And then someone changed all the rules.

Over the last several days, I’ve received nearly 100 messages from freelancers who have no idea what to do now.

All of sudden what we thought we knew about business has changed.

Or has it?

Despite what it feels like, people still want to learn, still want to sell, still want to be surrounded by beautiful things.

Yes, the mediums may have changed. The way we order food, or enjoy art, or take lessons are, at least for now, totally different.

I’m reminded of Ryan Holiday’s book, The Obstacle is The Way.

“The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.”

“Just because your mind tells you that something is awful or evil or unplanned or otherwise negative doesn’t mean you have to agree. Just because other people say that something is hopeless or crazy or broken to pieces doesn’t mean it is. We decide what story to tell ourselves.”

There are opportunities to be found among the chaos. And those that take them will lay a foundation for a stronger, leaner, more sustainable business.

I’m not talking about taking advantage of people by price gouging or withholding resources. I’m talking about pivoting.

Here’s some examples:

Local restaurant?

This is an opportunity to strengthen your online ordering process and redirect employees to work on delivery. (My local bagel shop, Bagel Grove is doing this).

Or, offer lunches for school children (My local coffee shop, HipStir is doing this).


Research ways to market online using YouTube (my friend Patrick Kenney is the master at this) or Instagram (Jasmine Star is amazing). Build a stronger connection to your clients by documenting your process and selling online.


Livestream classes online for parents who are struggling to homeschool their students. I would LOVE to have live instrumental instruction for my elementary school kids right now. Or physical education.

Marketer for small business?

Reach out to clients and offer to help them with any of the above! Run a live class for social media for small businesses.

All of these suggestions above won’t just shore up your business for the short term but make a stronger connection to your community long term.

I’ll be going live with Patrick Kenney Friday to talk through other ideas for finding opportunities in the obstacle.

While we may not have control over the environment, economy, or our customers’ reactions…we DO have control over how WE react and adapt.

In fact, Patrick asked several intelligent business pros to join him LIVE each day to offer strategy and tactics you can use TODAY to adapt and pivot your business for success in this new economy.

  1. Today at 4PM Eastern: Melanie Warren on Messaging
  2. Wednesday 4PM Eastern: Allison Carpio on Conversion Optimization
  3. Thursday 10AM Eastern: Chris Orzechowski on Email Marketing
  4. Friday 10AM Eastern: Abbey Woodcock on Mindset and Adapting Offers
  5. Saturday 12pm Eastern: Brian McCarthy on Case Studies that Convert
  6. Monday TBD: Angie Colee on Kick Ass Copy that Converts
  7. Tuesday TBD: Rachel Mazza on Using Advertorials to Super Charge Sales
  8. Wednesday 1pm Eastern: Mike Rinard on Story-Mapping Facebook Ads

If you’d like to be reminded prior to each live AND get replay access details, register your email address here.

Until then, please comment below and let’s brainstorm how YOUR business can adapt and make the obstacle the way.

P.S. I want to note here that it is not only ethical, it’s IMPORTANT to try to make money during this time. Not selling, not publishing, and not earning money doesn’t help anyone. In fact, it hurts the economy. The economy is built on businesses selling and providing jobs for others.

P.P.S. You may have heard about the Freelance Co-op Emergency Fund. Part of our mission of making creativity sustainable is supporting freelancers in uncertain and unprecedented times. (It’s what we do here.). Currently (as of March 17 at 10:30am Eastern), we have $8,430 in requests and we have raised $4,333.60. Please consider contributing and being listed as a partner. And if you need assistance, you can apply as well.



Abbey Woodcock

Been a direct response copywriter since 7th grade when I wrote a 30-page sales letter asking my crush to the dance.