I’ve dreamed of working for myself as long as I can remember. I love working, but working as an employee has never really been my thing, or I just haven’t found the right job yet. When we moved to Åre I decided that I really wanted to try my luck as a business owner, and focus on finding freelance gigs and clients rather than have a full time job. Then the pandemic hit. Gigs were cancelled, freelance jobs were put on hold and I started getting nervous, having just purchased a house and used up most of my savings on the down payment.
This pandemic is freaking terrible and if you’re like me, currently without a steady income you probably have some anxiety about it, I sure do. Just ask my boyfriend if he’s tired of me grinding my teeth at night! So I put together a list of what I’ve done and am doing to keep myself busy until the jobs start flowing in again – or at least here’s to hoping!
Inventory your skill sets
We all have awesome skills! Maybe yours is project management, customer service, teaching or making beautiful crafts.
I suggest sitting down going through your resume and writing out every tiny thing you did at old jobs, you’ll probably surprise yourself with how many things you actually know how to do. We often don’t give ourselves enough credit for being as awesome as we actually are. Think of your hobbies and all the things you really like doing or are really good at outside of work too.
I think the most important thing with this exercise is that you feel some kind of passion for the skill or skills you end up pursuing, even if it’s a super tiny glimpse of passion that you can build on. If you don’t like what you do it will sooner or later shine through and you won’t have the energy you need to grow that skill or business.
Do whatever you want!
Another way to go is to finally do that project or start that business you’ve been dreaming of doing for so long! This is the time to try something new, something scary, something that will make you happy. 2020 will probably go down in history as the crappiest and weirdest year in modern history, so if it says on your resume that you started a blog about your log cabin home or a company that makes ceramic dog bowls, I bet your bottom dollar that any future employer won’t bat an eye about it, it might even end up speaking in your favor that you made something out of the crappiest year in history (here’s to hoping).
Learn something new
A few years ago I went to this fancy, expensive (bye savings) and kind of culty design school in Stockholm to study digital design (UX, UI, marketing and other stuff). It wasn’t for me and I felt like I wasn’t learning enough with what I was paying, but since I’d already paid my tuition I had no choice but to keep going until the end of the year. After every lesson I went home and watched two hours or YouTube about each subject and that’s basically the way I learned how to be a web designer and how I continue to learn and grow my skills.
What I want to say with that little anecdote is that today, with the internet at all of our fingers we can pretty much learn all the skills we ever need to start a new career or business. Having the actual skill is way more important than a fancy degree, at least in my opinion.
I love watching YouTube tutorials, watching different people way of doing something of take on a specific subject. There are also awesome companies like Skillshare where you pay a small subscription fee and you can basically learn anything from gardening to fingerpainting or productivity. I really like Udemy’s courses too, they almost always have a sale too so you can get 8 hours of training for $29 or less, which is great. I do recommend alway reading the reviews of the Udemy courses so you don’t end up spending money on a course that isn’t worth it or below your own level of knowledge.
Here are my do-s!
Keep a positive mindset
I know, I know! It’s hard, some days are impossible and all I want to do is crawl into a YouTube hole of other people’s perfect “a day in my life” videos. But doing your best to keep a positive mindset will keep you away from spiraling into that dark abyss of anxiety. When I feel like I’m spiraling I step away from whatever I’m doing and go for a walk, do some breathing exercises or best case scenario do a quick Yoga with Adrienne. Find the things that work for you and if you do spiral you’ll know how to get out of it.
Believe in yourself (Be your own Leslie Knope)
“You are a beautiful tropical fish- smart as a whip, and cool under pressure.” like Leslie Knope says to Ann. Create your own empowering mantra or steal one from Leslie and repeat it to yourself whenever you need it. It can be however empowering, quirky, cute or downright weird you want, just say it to yourself and believe it!
Take a break!
You deserve a break! Nothing is as stressful as being unemployed or without a steady income, and as much as you feel like you need to constantly job hunt or learn new things you also need to remember to make time for yourself and reload those job hunting or business building batteries.
It’s okay to be picky, even in a pandemic. It might seem like a luxury, but saying no to a job or a gig is okay if it doesn’t feel right or if you feel like you aren’t able to deliver a good service.
Here are my don’t-s!
Don’t join a cult
I understand it feels nice to have someone that tells you what to do and when, but hey, joining a cult is not the solution to your pandemic problems just listen to any podcast about any cult!
No pyramid schemes
This weekend I saw the first episode of the Netflix series Unwell which is all about essential oils and how a lot of oils are being sold in “multi-level-marketing companies” which is just a fancy word for pyramid scheme, I’m only sticking to olive oil from now on.
Jokes a side!
Don’t over invest
Don’t over invest in supplies, products or too many expensive courses. If you’re starting a product based company, start as small as you possibly can and don’t stock up on 1000 items just because “you save so much money”. I’ve totally been there myself and am the proud owner of many, many crafts and products that I never either got around to selling or that didn’t sell at all.
Don’t spread yourself too thin
I’m excellent at taking on too much and thinking that I’m able to work 16 hours a day to start yet another business while trying to successfully run two other businesses. That’s not going to happen. I suggest setting goals and to-do’s for yourself everyday or week, whatever works for you, and do your best to stick to them, not adding on something new just because you think it seems fun at the moment.
How’s your life during the pandemic? Are you a business owner or freelancer struggling too? Let me know in the comments what you are doing to get through these crazy times.