There’s not one business person I know that isn’t currently affected by the Covid-19 virus, whether it’s from losing clients, having to close your doors or due to staff illness, we are all feeling the hits.
I’m afraid I have no solutions to this, having spent a week helping clients close their businesses and listen to them in tears, I really wish I had more answers.
Instead, I wanted to discuss the new way we’re working as freelancers, and maybe offer some tips I’ve found helpful.
I’m under no illusions that for many of us the magical abundance of free time everyone keeps discussing is not a reality for everyone. I normally do my work during school hours and switch to evenings in the holidays, it was a nice and well-worked routine. I’m now down to the stolen time when my children are engrossed in a film or craft project, but I feel the loss of productivity from constant interruptions for snacks and whereabouts of paints and Pritstick. We’ve all seen the people saying they’ve become a skilled woodworker, started a Degree and begun learning German in this new “free time” but they are not you.
Don’t compare yourself to others online.
Each person has their own unique challenges which are only heightened at this time, I have 2 isolating parents living in separate households one of which has severe mental health issues. As well as 2 young children and my own recurring health issues, I was overwhelmed by the depth of things of my to-do list in the beginning. When I see my peers launching amazing products and offers to capture business at this time, I am understandably concerned that I’m not achieving enough, but wearing yourself to the bone will not help you own mental and physical health. If it takes time for you to adjust, then take it. If you need to concentrate on your family first, do that. If you need to step away from social media for your mental health, do it now.
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Create a space of peace around you. Now is a great time to get that cleaning done but you don’t have to achieve it all in a day, sorting out clothes and garden may seem great but with all the charity shops and tips closed it’ll all just be piles in a corner still. Instead work on clearing a space that you can relax in or work from in peace, organise your desk the way you’ve always wanted it, put your bookshelf in alphabetical order or set out an exercise space. It doesn’t have to be a major change just a small job each day.
A clear space help clear your mind.
I’ve found it really hard to focus efficiently in the last couple of weeks, my mind jumping back and forward plus constant interruptions equals zero productivity. I know there’s no point in beginning online training courses or committing to groups as it would be a waste of time. I’ve found some great ways to help which I’ll set out in a different blog but when you feel this way don’t feel bad and do nothing at all; find a way around. Listening to podcasts while driving to drop shopping off, watching YouTube videos while in the bath or webinars while making tea have all been a good way of learning new things in short bite-sized ways. At the time it was as much as I could manage but I still managed to learn new things, and steadily it helped my focus grow.
Where focus goes energy flows.
Now is a great time to evaluate and take stock. I was shocked when a client told me that they were glad this happened, but it gave her the chance to start her business again in a new way that would have been difficult to arrange had she been up and running. She now has the time to learn and implement what she needs to be ready to start when the time comes. This really inspired me to look at my own business, could I do things differently in the future. How can I be more resilient to change in the future? Although my business hasn’t closed it’s taken a knock, however when people are back in their business am I ready to seize every opportunity to work with them?
I’m going to use this time to develop my skills and connections. More people are taking online, in groups and through Zoom chats. Collaborations are happening between businesses that would have never thought to work together, and although is a tough time for all businesses I’m positive great new things will come from it.
Necessity is the mother of invention.