We talk Covid, business

and what we’d do differently if we started over

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I’m sure one of these wires will get me into my Zoom call!

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I really enjoy be a part of a Mailchimp expert panel. I get to geek out and talk about some of my favourite subjects including marketing and mailchimp! Recently we got together and talked about how Covid had affected our business and also pondered if we were to start our business or career again right now, what would we focus on or do differently?

I can’t recognise the business I have now

For me I’ve had massive changes in Chimp Answers – in fact 12 months down the line, I can’t recognise the business I have now.
Before Covid, it was just me beavering away in a home office, but I’ve now got a team of people supporting the business, which has been a big change for me in terms of what I do and where my time is spent.

In my opinion the world becoming a much smaller place over the Covid period as people were much more comfortable doing business online. This has meant that Chimp Answers is not just a local business, but a global business! Remote working hasn’t been an issue as that was already in place, but it did mean that we were better able to react when things did change.

If I were to start again…

If I were to start again, I’d make sure that my business was hyper focused on a niche that I could quickly dominate and expand from. I wouldn’t jump onto the staff/team bandwagon until I needed to. I would focus on the market and delivery systems so when expansion came the business was ready for it.

Here’s what the other experts had to say.

More flexibility

Doug Dennison – CEO & Co-founder of  MailNinja 

MailNinja changed a lot throughout 2020. We moved to becoming 100% remote working, and gave our employees flexi-time working on top, meaning that they can work around their personal lives, and vice versa.

Internally we changed a lot too – we fully productised our services, selling our services more like software (fixed costs, fixed plan specs, subscriptions), and systemised our operations, allowing us to work more with remote freelancers from all over the world. Pre-COVID we were very regionalised with our team and ops, post-COVID we’re global, as are our customers.


Dealing with remote working

MaryAnn Pfeiffer – Digital Marketing Strategist 108 Degrees Digital Marketing

As a virtual agency, not much changed for us operationally in 2020. It was busier, for sure, because there were more communications to manage and client crises to solve during the first months of lockdown and the changes thereafter. However, overall, we found that we had very solid footing and were able to manage most of it in stride.

I think our biggest change was in the transformation of our clients dealing with remote work for the first time. They now understood, personally, what remote work was like, and they had to really embrace some of the tech we’ve been pushing on them for years to manage their online communications. It changed a bit of how they see us, gave an appreciation for the challenges in what we do, and it built their faith in our ability to do our jobs at a very high level, even though we don’t share an office space.

If we had a due over? We probably won’t do anything differently, but we will examine new potential clients under a different lens to confirm that they are able to work with an agency like ours and handle the demands of virtual workspaces.


Billable time went up

Adam Q. Holden-Bache – Director of Email Marketing Enventys Partners

The type of business we do at Enventys Partners didn’t change significantly in 2020, but how we did the business did.

Moving from being largely in-office to being 100% remote presented some shifts in our approach. We quickly realized that many of our tasks and meetings were easily managed digitally, and that being virtual didn’t diminish collaboration. Also, billable time went up likely due to workers being in front of their computers during times when they would normally be commuting. With this in mind, we will continue our virtual work but will likely begin gathering again in-person for events that require group participation. And we expect that making the best of both virtual and in-person opportunities will allow us to continue to provide successful marketing services to our clients.


Moved all our classes to Zoom

Alessandra Farabegoli – Digital Strategist, Co-Founder, Digital Update and Freelancecamp Italia Alessandra Farabegoli

As my company Digital Update sells courses and training on digital marketing, in 2020 we had to move all our classes to Zoom; this implied a redesign of many courses, both in terms of schedule (you can’t teach or learn all day long when doing it online) and of the way we teach. It has been an interesting challenge, and I think many courses have become even more effective and surely more accessible by people who couldn’t afford to travel in order to attend a class in presence. I believe this will last even when the pandemic will be over.

If I started my business again right now? I’d take remote working for granted, but with some great meetings every now and then!


It got a whole lot busier

Amy Hall – Email Marketing Strategist and Certified Mailchimp Partner and Consultant Amy Hall

My business didn’t really change at all because of Covid. It slowed down, and then it got a whole lot busier.

If I could give any advice to myself, it would be to create more checklists and processes. And hire a business manager, lol.


Many businesses have lost significant income

Emily Ryan – Co-Founder and Email Strategist Westfield Creative

I’ve worked from home for the last 6 years, so that didn’t changed much. However, the clients we work with have faced the biggest challenges. While many small businesses have pivoted their business online (ex: we had a coffee shop who hired us to implement online order on their website), many businesses have lost significant income due to COVID-19 and have had to cut back on certain marketing expenses.

On the flip side, this was a year when many businesses who had never had an online prescense or done any email marketing, turned to these new digital channels to hopefully recoup some of the lost income. It’s been an interesting year to say the least, but I think we’ve made it through the worst part.


How we support our customers

Sequoia Mulgrave – CEO & Founder, Daily Mode Studio

When COVID-19 hit nothing really changed in terms of how we did business. I’ve been running a remote team since 2014 so we’ve been accustomed to working together remotely. What did change was how we support our customers. We listened to all of our customers needs and assisted with shifting their business focus to align with the new way of doing business.

If I had to start my business again right now I’d probably position my business model a little different and only offer on-demand training.



There’s no doubt that the past year has been erm…different to say the least. However email marketing remains one of the best ways to reach the people you need to and Mailchimp is the leading all-in-one Marketing Platform for small business. If you don’t want to go it alone and want to do Mailchimp the right way, then do get take a look at our trainings or contact us to see how we can help.

Robin Adams

Robin Adams

Robin Adams is a business owner who is passionate about helping businesses build effective marketing systems that work and don't waste money. Having a lifetime of Marketing experience (he's got a degree in Marketing before there were degrees in Marketing!) and having worked for big and small businesses and both client and agency side, he understands not only the theory, but the systems that are required to underpin everything.
51% marketer and 49% Chimp, Robin is the main man behind chimpanswers.com and the Mailchimp Answers Facebook Group - the world's biggest Mailchimp User Group. Connect with him on Linkedin.


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