I’m not one to panic, for better or worse, and I don’t want to repeat what everyone else is saying about business and lost clients and an impending recession.
Panic, for someone in good health, is optional right now and so is rising and carrying on. And the best thing you can do for others is to show them that you’re surviving and when you’re past the line that you can help them do the same.
Do you wish you had the safety net of a big corporation behind you? I don’t. It’s the worst of both worlds. You’ve got no security as procurement and hr teams take over and cut their numbers, but neither do you have any say in the corporate strategy. As freelancers, we have the option to choose and implement our approach. These options are a particular source of power in uncertain times.
What’s your approach? I’m going to evoke my inner A-Team. Will it be competing with the big corporations who are donating money to help the pandemic? Netflix and Google? Probably not but I’m going to raise my standards anyway.
And because there’s no budget on my imagination, I can go as big and ambitious as I like.
The A-Team themes will include:
If you’re intent on staying active during the next couple of months, you’ll need a motivational coach inside you. They’ll pick you up when you’re feeling distracted, they’ll urge you on when you want to stop, and they’ll throw Confucius quotes such as this at you to keep you on track.
Strategy and Communications
Who doesn’t want a chief strategist and communications director at the best of times? Without a plan, you are just shouting into the wind, and without communication channels, you’re not reaching your audience.
Service Design and Innovation
Innovation; the ability to change your services and products according to the needs of the times is going to be vital to staying alive. Service design, the process of devising an end user-centric solution to your products and services will also be critical. When service design drives innovation, you’ll be dealing in real solutions.
Integrity and Values
Now is the time to live by your values. Take some time out to remember or articulate them and then ensure that every piece of content you create sticks to these values.
It will be interesting to see which brands come out of the pandemic stronger than they went in.
In my quest for collaborations, I’ll be looking for solution-focused people, have strong integrity and aren’t spending too much time spreading negative information amongst their networks. They’ll be positive, they’ll be active, and they’ll be on board with driving the change that drives our lives post-pandemic.
Remember the saying; you are who you hang with. Values apply to clients, suppliers and collaborators.
Research and Learning
Now is no time to get behind in learning and researching. Habitual learning is the activity I’ll be ensuring gets fed into my executive strategy. The future belongs to the curious, not those who accept information as it is.
No, A team should be without a chief storyteller. This role is a hunter and a gatherer. They find new forms of expression and chase away old tired ones that the world has heard hundreds of time.
They seek new stories and series and platforms for their work.
A chief storyteller would work alongside a creative director and head up my team.
Then there’s the delivery team who will be looking after your:
- Web Design
- Purchasing and Memberships
- Business Manager
Your delivery team keeps the other elements churning.
Wow, that’s quite a team I hear you say. Where am I going to evoke all of those skills? I’d love to give you my go-to list of learning and upskilling resources, but they are scattered across five different notebooks in 3 separate drawers but anyway the fun is in the chase.
You can learn skills in any of the departments I have listed above. It might take some time, but there’s no shortcutting the path to excellence.
I have a robust set of core skills at the top of my suite and then a whole list of other things that aren’t my speciality, but that are a necessary part of running a business. Keep an eye open for people with a similar outlook to you who you can collaborate with on some of your weaker points.
I’m talking skill swapping here, or just outsourcing. If you don’t want to work for free, you can’t expect others to do the same thing.
Make yourself a plan to research and investigate one new topic per week. There are videos, workshops, online courses, blogs, ebooks. There’s no excuse to be anything less than an executive person right now. Good luck and get on it, now.