For well over a year, we self-employed professionals have largely been wrapped in a home-based cocoon. Yes, many of us have continued to serve clients, sometimes even in person. But we’ve also spent a whole lot of time on Zoom. An entire category of business marketing has been absent – no in-person conferences, workshops, networking meetings, lunches, or coffee dates.
A year of pandemic life has taken its toll on all of us. At February’s Pandemic Office Hours, our virtual room full of self-employed professionals described feeling stressed, or even immobilized, about marketing their businesses. Since then, I’ve been noticing reports everywhere about how much this past year of stress, uncertainty, and grief has sapped our collective focus and motivation.
In 2020, many of us self-employed folks were just trying to survive. Some of us couldn’t work at all due to pandemic restrictions or home schooling needs. Others – serving industries like travel, food service, or personal care – lost our entire market overnight.
We humans are endlessly creative at finding paths to get in our own way. Even the most well-adjusted, self-aware people struggle with internal obstacles that keep them from being as effective or productive as they would like.
As I write this, 2020 is almost over. Hooray! And… it’s very likely that you didn’t accomplish all you set out to do this year. If you did meet your goals or even surpass them, you deserve extra credit. But if you didn’t, read on. (And join the club.)
I can’t count the number of self-employed professionals recently who have told me they are working on a program, product, or membership service to package their talents in a more tangible way. Professionals as diverse as life coaches, magicians, management consultants, and travel consultants are all seeking new avenues to bring in revenue during our current twin challenges of pandemic and recession.