The hot topic here in the U.S. this spring of 2021 is getting back to “normal.” But in my view, the more relevant topic is finding a new normal. All across the country, I’m hearing of people whose post-pandemic life includes moving to a new city, changing jobs or careers, retiring, or making remote work a permanent choice. The McKinsey Global Institute predicts that more than 100 million workers may need to find a different occupation post-COVID.
For self-employed professionals, a shift this dramatic in the world of work could be viewed as a looming catastrophe. Or, you could see it as a compelling opportunity. The unsettled period of time we’re entering could be your chance to reinvent your business the way you want it to be now, instead of simply returning to the business you had before.
You can choose to work differently than you ever have in the past. What was an emergency solution during the pandemic could become a permanent new direction for your business. Or, you could begin now to glide on the winds of change to a landing in fresh business territory.
Here are some of the business shifts you might consider during this unprecedented time of adjustment.
Your place of work could change. If you typically worked at your client’s place of business before, maybe you’ll work at home most of the time now. As a result, you might expand your target market beyond your local area. Or, move to a city with a lower cost of living.
Or, if you worked at home before, maybe now you’ll move to an office, studio, or salon of your own to have more space and fewer distractions. Some homeowners built office sheds or converted their garages to studios during the pandemic, and love the new freedom of working there.
Your clients could change. Perhaps your clients want you to come back to working on their site, and you’re not so enthusiastic. Or, you didn’t like how they treated their workers during the crisis, and you’d prefer to find more compassionate employers. Or, maybe you discovered that an industry you thought was stable turned out to be unreliable.
This could be the perfect opportunity to carve out an entirely new market niche. Look around for the sectors that are growing and those you feel an affinity for. If you’ve worried in the past about changing your market because of how that might look to potential clients, consider that this period of fluidity might give you just the cover you need to move into new areas.
The nature of your work could change. Business owners in the travel industry had their typical work completely derailed by the worldwide inability to travel. Many of them found new ways to use their contacts and expertise, like setting up private summer camps for kids, providing gift boxes to share the flavor of another place, or offering tours from home of foreign locations. Other industries showed similar creativity in designing pandemic pivots.
In many cases, these innovations proved to be more enjoyable and sustainable for the business owners than their original business. They’re making their pivots permanent.
The way you offer your work could change. I found during the pandemic that lapses in business income and the strain on family finances caused many of my individual clients to take breaks from coaching. At the same time, my usual webinar students were seeking lower cost options. So, I switched my focus to ongoing memberships (I extended one and launched a new one), and home-study courses (I completed one and am working on a second).
This global period of transition can become exactly the opening you need to create your business anew. Economists are predicting a booming global economy ahead. This could just be the perfect time to build the business of your dreams — or to invent a whole new business dream that you can make real.