Planning for success in times of uncertainty.
As a creative freelancer or solopreneur you are already well aware of the impact of the global pandemic on the self-employed. Each day that passes, it becomes more and more real and more and more uncertain.
Income uncertainty has always been part and parcel of working in the gig economy and entrepreneurs have been trading higher risks for greater rewards for….well, forever.
However, things in the market place are changing pretty drastically right now. Change creates more uncertainty. Uncertainty creates stress, fear, and overwhelm.
- How am I going to pay my rent and buy food?
- What can I do to say sane / positive / motivated / productive?
- How can I keep earning money?
- Will I still be able to run my business when this is over?
Over the last few weeks I’ve been working with my one on one clients, my group programs, and my networking groups (yes, virtually) to find answers: some real, practical things to do to maintain our physical, mental, emotional, and financial health as we navigate our way towards a new normal.
This is isn’t the first time…
I’ve been here before. I’ve seen the impact of digital cameras disrupting the photography industry in the early 2000’s.
I witnessed the fear of increased competition, clients moving towards DIYing, and the perception of value suddenly dropping as photographers panicked and starting slashing prices in a race to the bottom.
I chose to step back from the kind of willy-nilly approach to following my passion and went back to school to truly master my craft and learn about this new economy from a trusted, experienced source.
The Crash of 2008
In 2008, the North American economy crashed in one of worst recessions since the 90’s. My sales revenue dropped by over 60% and my investments dropped by 50%.
Many other photographers chose to pivot completely away and went back into the job market. Some diversified and created new ways to package and price their services.
And honestly, up until that point, I had been kind of winging it when it came to my business. I was a Reluctant Entrepreneur. I really loved making images and working with clients and felt like the rest of running a business wasn’t as much fun.
2008 was a wake up call. The willy-nilly approach to finding clients wasn’t going to work anymore. I needed to design my way through it with focus, direction, and clarity – I needed a plan.
This disruption of the economy and end to status quo was also an opportunity! To shift my business to focus MORE on what I loved doing. I chose to start designing ways to get paid to travel while continuing to contribute to the creative community. And it worked.
I know that for some, the idea of making plans for an unknown future may feel futile or impossible. But, we’ve done it before – as a community of creatives – and we can do it again!
And sometimes the wide open nature of a changing economy creates new opportunities for innovation, new ideas, and new ways of thriving as a creative entrepreneur.
Growth mindset, flexibility and innovation in business models, and commitment to providing real value to clients were what saw me through then and I believe, can help you now.