Going Live, Day 28 and This Pause Button

UPDATE: See this for the FB Live replay and the 10 things I learnt while doing this FB Live.

I’m writing this on Day 28 of the Movement Restricted Order (MCO). It’s been 28 days since I stepped out of the apartment. I have not gone anywhere. I’ve been at home. And my hair has been growing longer and it irritates me as I like to keep my hair about two inches below my ears. I can’t wait for a trip to the hair salon.

When I was in Saigon, I was already telling myself that I should self-impose the 2-week isolation. I even messaged some clients to ask them if they were sure they wanted to meet face-to-face. One client told me, “No worries. We will have our thermal detectors and protection in place.”

I never managed to even step into her factory.

Because I got back on 15 March and then our Malaysian MCO started on 18 March. So the whole country was self-isolating anyway.

But I found the first phase of MCO rather refreshing in that it was a pause button. I could finally sit down to really look at the projects on my list. And by that I mean my own projects such as my podcast, my videos (which I had sent off to my video editing guy and never quite harangued him for them), my other books that I plan to write and my online courses.

Of course, I still had a website to deliver. Working on clients’ websites can be a lot easier than my own projects. Not that I’m a perfectionist. It’s just that I have a whole lot going on besides my own projects and clients’ websites.

There were WomenBizSENSE meetings to sit in and provide input – and this year we had grand plans. We wanted to organise our women entrepreneurship expo in September and had even had our first committee meeting. We had lined up monthly events and potential speakers.

And just like that, the coronavirus pandemic put all the plans asunder.

We cancelled the entrepreneurship expo and postponed the monthly events.

But that’s only one part. There was IABC, another organisation that I was part of. We had planned for a mix-and-mingle for business communicators at Olive Tree Hotel (I even got the hotel to sponsor the venue) and that fell apart too. Hmm.

Lots of events have been cancelled. And this is where suddenly digital becomes the most exciting platform ever.

For years, I’ve been telling friends – get online. Get yourself a website. Start marketing online because that’s where it is all going to be.

And what did friends do? Sit and twiddle their thumbs. They couldn’t be bothered as they were so focused on their daily meetings, sales appointments etc.

Now I should probably have the last laugh if I were that mean. I’m not but I can’t help but feel vindicated and a lot smug. Now they’re helpless and hapless especially those who thought going online was a lovely but not-so-important option.

A friend sighed and said that she didn’t have much confidence with the online world as she had only amassed three miserly sales since she started her website a year ago. How do you tell people that their website sucks? Of course it could only garner three sales. It was built by a millennial who used Shopify but didn’t know how to create credibility in a website.

Nic and I did an experiment once. We took an unknown tea seller from oblivion to RM4,000 per day in ecommerce sales. When we first started to build the ecommerce website for the tea seller, his brother smirked and said that we wouldn’t succeed. What did we know about tea? And Chinese tea at that.

I don’t have to know about tea or shoes or bags or tyres. But I certainly know marketing. I know how to build credibility and marketing into websites. That’s what Nic and I know a lot about.

I know how to craft compelling, descriptive and authentic website content. I know how the buyer thinks, what he wants to see and know before he puts the product into the cart for checkout. I know what inspires trust and how to build that into a website to sell your most niche products, tea included.

And this friend of mine explained that she only got three sales because she “didn’t know how to drive traffic to her website”.

I almost rolled my eyes.

That’s why I don’t like Internet/digital marketers who keep spouting rubbish like the need to drive traffic to a website. All the traffic in the world will do you no good if your website cannot convert.

But of course the digital marketers won’t say that. They’re in the business of selling their campaigns and traffic.

That’s why I am actually happy in a way about the MCO. People are pushed to use technology now, like it or not. They can’t say they don’t need it; their sales are dropping like flies.

I’ve also used this MCO to push myself to do the things I normally wouldn’t. Like doing FB Live sessions (and I’m doing one this Thursday).

I’ve done FB Live in the past when we used to run our Marketing Mojo events at China House Cafe. That was fun and for all of 3 to 5 minutes.

Now I decided to raise my game by committing to doing this more consistently. Of course there’s so many people doing FB Live every day. Some people do it on LinkedIn too.

I’m doing it because I bring my own unique perspective and personality to the whole FB Live thingy. I want my FB Live to be fun, informal, less pretentious, less about telling you what to do and more about sharing and commiserating and crowd-sourcing answers. I don’t want to pretend to know what’s going to happen after this pandemic is over. I don’t care about predicting the future. I’m only interested in my present.

I heard Dan Sullivan of Inside Strategic Coach say (and his podcast is one of the best if you’re looking for a podcast to listen to) say in one episode: In these strange times, you can’t plan for more than 24 hours.

Yet the uncertainty of everything in the future also means we have the full pleasure of living one hundred per cent right here, today.

That’s where I got my gumption to embark on FB Live but to speed up all the things I’ve planned but put on the back burner in the past.

I once saw this on a t-shirt and it said: I am smart. I am blessed. I can do anything.

And I take it seriously so there’s nothing I cannot learn right? Including how to do a proper live streaming to FB Live using a software called Streamyard.

I told a friend of this software and suggested she use it for the next round she intends to do her FB Live and she asked me, “Who’s your tech support? Can I ask my tech guy to call him and find out more?”

I chuckled.

“Babe, I’m my own tech support. If you haven’t realised it yet, the world is a-changing. Who needs tech support when I can easily find how-to vids on Youtube to learn all I need to learn?” (Speaking of which, check out this list of resources I collected.)

So you see, the new world isn’t about the old ways of doing things. It’s about taking charge of your life, seeing the world like you’ve never seen it before, taking action on what you seriously want to do. If jobs are no longer guaranteed, we’re all our own ninjas. We’re all in this mess together but to get out of it alive, the old ways of thinking have to go. (And instead of having physical meetings, we’re having Zoom meetings and actually having fun!)

In the corporate world, people banter about agility, resilience and more as well as disruption. Today, all these are no longer pure concepts. All of us have to embrace being agile and resilient (and in the words of Nassim Taleb, to be anti-fragile) and to find ourselves amidst the disruption of our work life and business life.

I love the peace and quiet that MCO gives me. I don’t have anywhere to go, no meetings to attend, no events to be at. I love it that MCO gives me more time to return to my old loves – cooking, pottering in the garden, crochet and yoga.

I love it that MCO gives me that big old push to do the very things I’m self-conscious about such as FB Live. I am thrilled that I have this extra time to ruminate and yes, even come back to blogging, a love that never dimmed.

I am also excited that we may finally have serious rethink how we’ve done business for the past 21 years. I am ready for a different phase of business; I know what I’m good at and I want to use my strengths to reach even more people through podcasting and FB and live-streaming. These days, I am my own media company. And that sums up the gratitude I feel for the Internet and technology.

I also want to teach more through online or virtual classes and courses. I’m not too shabby a teacher truth be told. And funnily, things have come full circle – I am a teacher’s daughter who refused to be a teacher and now I am going to teach.

Oh and happy birthday to Nic who turns 48 today. I’m always telling him he is so lucky to have me haha! During this MCO, I’m cooking a whole lot more and feeding him Cantonese dishes that I can recall my mum or grandma cooking. Each day, we ponder about what we’re having for lunch and he goes off to tar-pau the lunch we decided upon. I will cook dinner since I do have a well-stocked fridge. But sometimes I miss that freedom of going out to eat a bowl of Hokkien mee.

And I just watched Sam Hui hold his livestreaming concert two days ago on Youtube. We live in such interesting times.

I have nothing to complain honestly as I have all that I want and we’ve always lived within our means. I can’t thank Robert Kiyosaki enough the book he wrote; the book I read when I was fresh out of university but then again, I’ve never been a fan of material goods. I like them but I get bored with them easily. I prefer experiences and travel over the latest branded bag or jeans.

And you? What do you miss most? Or grateful for? Or what have you realised after 28 days of being at home?