- Liz McVoy’s day job is web designer and multimedia producer at Virginia Tech, but, eager to earn a little extra income on the side, she recently launched a consulting and coaching business while pregnant.
- Her online course and coaching clients helped her earn over $40,000 in 2020.
- She shared how she built her business while balancing motherhood, a full-time job, pregnancy, and a pandemic.
- Her strategies for success included homing in on her audience, time blocking and knowing when to delegate, and leaning on video marketing and mentors.
- McVoy also keeps a gratitude journal to keep her bigger vision top of mind and writes down her biggest fears to help move past them.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
She told Insider her schedule usually involves checking in with clients in the morning before her day job, where she’s a web designer and multimedia producer at Virginia Tech. She then utilizes lunch breaks and evenings to tackle projects as needed, and plans and automates her marketing content at the start of the week so she can be present with her kids when they’re home and awake.
McVoy launched a multimedia production and consulting business, working largely with corporate clients, in January 2019, right after her daughter turned one year old.
“My goal was to take on a few projects a year to earn a little extra income,” she said.
The start was slow — tapping her network, attending events, and making cold calls to local businesses. When she found out she was pregnant, she decided 2020 was going to be the year she put her head down and started building and scaling. But then COVID-19 hit.
“Business halted,” McVoy said. “My corporate clients’ budgets were frozen and everyone was scrambling to get online.”
So she transitioned in April 2020 from mostly done-for-you services to promoting her online course and providing one-on-one coaching for women entrepreneurs on brand strategy, video, and storytelling.
Not only did McVoy manage to launch her new side gig while working full time and parenting her child during a pandemic, but she was also 37 weeks pregnant with her second child.
“I knew my life was about to get a whole lot busier, but I said to myself, ‘If you don’t do it now, you’ll never do it,'” she said. “So I set out to create all the course content, film, edit, market, and sell the course three weeks before my son arrived.”
The decision seems to be paying off. In 2019, her side business made $10,000. But in 2020, McVoy booked over $40,000 in revenue.
“I sold out my one-on-one coaching spots for 2020, and have begun launching my new three-month group program, the Attraction Marketing Accelerator (AMA), which could generate over $40,000 [in] revenue alone,” she said. She began promoting AMA in December and will continue to fill the program for an early February start date. So far, she’s generated $10,000 in sales from the program.
McVoy worked with a business coach to help her map out a launch plan for the AMA, and the coach also helped her think about what it would look like to hire a small team.
“That would allow me to have a full-time business without having to work 40 hours per week, a big priority of mine, so that I can maintain flexibility with my family,” she said. With that in mind, McVoy is now actively searching for a part-time marketing assistant and building a network of contract video editors. Her plan is to shift to full-time in early 2021.
In addition to more income coming in, McVoy noted that stepping into the role of consultant and coach has been fulfilling in its own right.
“I really love the intentional, deep relationships that come from working one-on-one with other women entrepreneurs,” McVoy said. “It’s so rewarding to know that my actions directly move the needle in my business and make a positive impact on someone else.”
McVoy shared with Insider how she pulled all this off, along with the strategies that help her successfully blend entrepreneurship, full-time work, and parenting.
The mastermind program that lead to pivoting online
When most of the US went into lockdown, McVoy was taking an online program that ultimately led to taking her own business in a new, more virtual direction.
“The program was largely about taking your knowledge and sharing it with others through masterminds and online courses — I was in a group with other women and found myself coaching them on their marketing strategies, video content, and business endeavors,” McVoy said. “That gave me the confidence to teach on a broader scale.”
After that, she decided to create, market, and launch The Media Maker Lab — an online course to teach business owners how to create great video content.
“While creating the course, there were nights I’d work from 8 p.m. to midnight,” she said. “Then I’d wake up at 4 a.m. (because there was a baby pressing on my bladder) and not be able to go back to sleep because my mind would be spinning with all the things I needed to do. The weeks leading up to the course launch were so exhilarating but also exhausting to an already tired, pregnant mom.”
Her online course is now a primary way that she monetizes her business, alongside coaching and continuing to run her agency, where she provides consulting and video, branding, and web-design services.
Creating the course, she said, ignited a fire within her to keep going and use her maternity leave to think, plan, and execute on a new vision for her business.
“As time allowed with a newborn, of course,” she said. “It’s basically an efficiency competition with yourself of how much can you get done with X window of time. You figure out ways to work more strategically, you get creative with what you do when, and pray that your second cup of coffee kicks in.”
Begin with your audience
One of the biggest challenges McVoy faced during the launch of her online business was that she’d completely changed who her ideal client was.
“I went from targeting local businesses to marketing to women-owned online businesses,” she said. “I overcame this challenge by showing up consistently on Instagram and in Facebook groups, where I’d give away knowledge through mini-trainings to help this new audience know, like, and trust me.”
McVoy prioritizes conducting casual market research on social media through polls, quizzes, and question boxes to learn more about her customers’ needs, wants, and pain points, which she said has been pivotal in building relationships and informing the types of products and services she offers.
“When it comes to visibility and establishing authority in their industry, many entrepreneurs feel they are lacking confidence or clarity around how they position themselves and their products/services,” she said, adding that this realization led her to develop the AMA program.
Time block and delegate
McVoy creates a time-blocked schedule of what she works on and when. This allows her to focus her energy solely on one task rather than ping-ponging from one thing to another.
“Identify the tasks you do at home or in your business that you could streamline, hand off, or get rid of,” McVoy added. “For instance, I use a social media planner to push out my marketing content so I don’t need to be tied to my phone during the day. This will help you organize and free up your time to work on needle-moving tasks.”
McVoy pointed out that video can be one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal.
“It’s one of the fastest ways people can get to know, like, and trust your business,” McVoy said. “I show up on video daily through Instagram stories, send videos out to my email list, and utilize video storytelling on my website as well.”
Find mentors and programs that hold you accountable
“The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) did a study on accountability and found that if you have a specific accountability appointment with a person you’ve committed, you will increase your chance of success by up to 95%,” McVoy said. “This could be a business coach or a fellow business owner, but having that accountability and support is a game changer.”
The consultant said she invested more than $13,000 last year on coaches and furthering her education through online programs and courses, including “Knowledge Broker Blueprint” with Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi, the Brand Authority Accelerator program and Thrive Collective mastermind with Hannah Nieves, and “Five Figure Lunch Break” with Cara Barone.
“I actually joined the Brand Authority Accelerator three hours before my water broke with my son,” McVoy said. “The program began when I was only a month postpartum, but I knew I’d regret it if I waited until a ‘better time’ to invest in myself and my business.”
This ended up being a huge catalyst in growing her business the second half of the year.
“Learning from these experts has helped me focus on and excel in my area of expertise,” McVoy said. “I’ve gained confidence, clarity, direction, and it’s ultimately led me to grow my business much faster than if I tried to do it alone.”
In addition to learning from several mentors, McVoy has also sowed what she describes as “deep relationships” with 10 women entrepreneurs.
“They hold me accountable, encourage me, and provide helpful insights from their own journey as a business owner,” McVoy said. “Having these women in my corner has made a huge difference in my business and personal life. I don’t know how I would’ve made it through 2020 without them.”
Push away negative thoughts and fears by writing them down
McVoy often works in the evenings after her kids go to bed. She admitted, though, that sometimes this affords her the bandwidth she needs, and sometimes it doesn’t.
“Of course, there are times I feel discouraged and overwhelmed with all the things to do and the little time to do them,” McVoy said. “Or I struggle with imposter syndrome — the question of, ‘Am I good enough?'”
For those times when things aren’t flowing or she’s feeling discouraged, she said she likes to write down what she’s telling herself and her fears.
“Then I write down what’s actually true and what I can do to work through those things,” she said. “Breaking down the problem on paper really helps move past the problem to the solution.”
Keep the bigger picture in sight
“I’ve found that as a mom and business owner, I have to keep that greater vision in mind,” McVoy said. “For me, that’s loving my kids, nurturing them to become unique, strong, dedicated, and kind. And I don’t have to sacrifice that just because I want to run a wildly successful business.”
To make sure these points stay top of mind, McVoy keeps a daily gratitude journal, where she pens three to five things that she’s thankful for, as well as a personal journal where she writes down prayers for her children and memories and milestones with her family.
“This practice helps me stay centered and rooted in my values, reminds me to be present with my kids, and it’s a great reminder that success and joy is found in so much more than a dollar amount,” McVoy said.