As a freelancer or small business owner one of the hardest things to do is find time to look at and develop the core aspects of strategy that help you fulfil your overarching vision. So, one positive way to use this lockdown time is to work on your business because you can’t work in it.
In this blog post I’m going to share 7 top tips with you in how you can get into the headspace you need to be productive, giving you practical results and a clear focus on developing your strategy and game-plan in a post-pandemic world.
Leap into the future
Let’s look at the situation we find ourselves in now in a different way and for a second. Let’s take a visit to five years in the future. The level of resilience, commitment to your vision and your level of self-assurance that you can handle anything your business or the world throws at you will be through the roof if and when we sail outside the swirl of coronavirus – which we will we’ll be in a new world with new opportunities too.
So, now is the time to take some action.
Here’s what we can do whilst we’re on lockdown let’s take steps to look forward, to prepare our businesses and ourselves for the future by using the (albeit unwanted) free time now to do the strategy work we hardly ever give ourselves the time to do.
I’ve split the tips into two sections, first up is ‘managing your mind’ and the second is ‘getting down to business’.
Managing your mind:
1. Give yourself permission to stop – now this may sound counterintuitive but hear me out. Using all your energy on fear, stress, and worry is exhausting in every way, physically, mentally and emotionally. As business owners and freelancers, we’re used to being busy and juggling lots of different demands on our time and right now that’s all gone. So, give yourself permission to stop for a little while. Rest when you can, keep talking to friends and family via phone. Read, relax and restore yourself. Let your brain breathe. Don’t do work. Embrace the pause. Because as you little by little start to relax your brain will start to free up and get firing ideas again and your energy levels will rise.
2. Keep active – there’s lots of gentle and not-so gentle exercises you can do at home and online. Keeping moving is key for your physical and mental wellbeing. Since I began social distancing and now lockdown I’ve walked every day (even when I haven’t felt like it, on those days I just didn’t walk as far). I’m also practicing yoga every day and using the brilliance that is YouTube to teach me new exercises. By making sure I’m physically active I’m not only nurturing my physical self I’m also giving my brain a break from thinking and releasing endorphins which let’s face it we all need right now.
3. Commit to discipline – Creating discipline in a flexible world is what freelancers and business owners are skilled at – because we’ve got to be, so use this skill now. Create a schedule that allows you time each day to do something productive and positive. Personally, I’m sticking to my tactic of writing my to do list the night before, getting up at the same time every day and making sure I tick things off as I go through the day to help give me both a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
4. Balance your mind – for every hour of news I watch I balance it out with a reading a book, listening to a podcast or calling a friend. It’s not that it stops the fear of the unknown, but it helps manage my mind in terms of balancing out the negativity and uncertainty with positivity and stability.
Getting down to business:
5. Set your compass to your north star – use this time to reflect on your vision where you want your business to go. By taking the time now to reaffirm and redecide on what your ‘why’ is gives your vision clarity and focus that’ll help stabilize these shaky and uncertain days. Your ‘why’ is your north star, it’ll guide you on your journey. You don’t need to have a detailed plan of how you’re going to get from today to your vision. But you do need the ‘why’ to start and the north star will keep you on the straight and narrow regardless of what twists and turns the path ahead takes.
6. What problem are you solving? – there’s no easy way to say this but the post-pandemic world we’re all going to be living in isn’t going to be the same as our lives before coronavirus. It’s easy to think that what you’re offering, doing or providing is essential to everyone. It was before coronavirus and it will be afterwards. But, let’s be real, that’s not a guarantee. And that’s ok. Because you’ve got time to repackage, develop or even pivot your business to use your solution in a new way – that’s what the lockdown time can give you. Time to refocus on what the problem is you’re solving and how it’ll work in a new business world. Which leads me neatly onto…
7. Be like bamboo and flex - Have you ever seen bamboo forests facing a storm? When the wind picks up, they bend and flex. They’re not like oak trees that split and lose branches.
Nope bamboo just goes with the weather. And we need to do that too. Identifying your ‘new’ ideal customer or client is one of the ways you can do this.
By acknowledging now that the world for your former target audiences or customers has changed means you can plan for it. You can create a new strategy that enables you to find new ideal clients, find ways to appeal to your previous clients, but ultimately you need to be like bamboo and flex.
Yes the future is unknown and right now it’s quite unnerving, if not down-right scary out there but, by turning the huge negative of being under lockdown into at least a partial positive for your business can help take back a sense of control and optimism that will be invaluable in the days to come and your longer term future too.
For a free call or Zoom chat about how you can best work on your business whilst you can’t work in it drop Ellen an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow Alcea on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/alcea1/.