You Might Get Fired, Prepare Yourself For The New Normal.

Short term contracts, consultancy, and retainer agreements will be the next big thing are you prepared?

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Photo Courtesy| Tobias Kwatei Unsplash

A month ago I was catching up with my mentor reflecting on the COVID19 crisis and its impact on employment. He shared a very interesting insight into one of the companies he closely relates to. The company hired an expert to help them with business process re-engineering. The company was planning to do mass retrenchment and they were looking at how they can do it without affecting their business processes. COVID19 is pushing companies to cut down waste and reducing their operational costs. Human Resouces cost is one of the biggest headaches facing organizations during this crisis. In a quick survey, we did online as part of the #GrowthInTheCrisis campaign, 57 percent of respondents vote for “employee wages” as their main challenge out of four other options.

Being Needed Versus Wanted

One thing which is very clear, when people are working from home organizations easily realize whom they need and whom they don’t. And this goes to the different levels of operations; senior directors, line managers, officers, and even office attendants. With organizations starting to push for business process re-engineering potentially a lot of experts and line officials will be left without jobs including you. Are you prepared?

Jobs Searching For People

The new normal will be very interesting. We might witness a sharp rise in the Gig-Economy in both developing and developed countries. Many organizations will run away from employing people permanently. Organizations will be avoiding recurring monthly costs and other benefits that they need to pay for full-time employees. Short term contracts, consultancy, and retainer agreements will be the thing. Jobs will be searching for people instead of people searching for jobs. People with certain rare skills and a good portfolio of previous gig-works will have a better chance compared to those with years of experience in traditional work setups.

Gig and Professional Platforms

Knowing how to capitalize on professional platforms such as LinkedIn and gig-economy platforms such as Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr, Worknasi Plus and others can be a game-changer for you. You need to learn how to search for gigs that relate to your skills or learn new skills that are relevant to the gigs. You only have two options. You might also want to spend more time on newspapers and the listing sites to look for opportunities to consult on a part-time basis. They will be a lot of them after the crisis and they will be looking for a specific type of people within your field.

Personal Branding

Maybe at some point in time, you thought to have a personal website johndoe.com wasn’t for you and it is too much of a show-off. Believe me, you might need that now more than ever. Only those who will be able to sell their skills in the most professional way will have a better chance to get more gigs and hence more opportunity to make cash to survive. Search for templates online, there is a lot of free CV-like websites where you can list your skills and share your portfolio in the most professional way. Don’t underestimate things like good professional deck of your previous work, nice looking business card, and few articles you have written online about the work you are asking to do.

Check the article I wrote about VCP, Visibility, Credibility, and Profitability.

Staying Compliant

Job owners will want to make sure you pay your dues and stay compliant. Start to do research and understand how the consultant works, things like withholding tax and sole-proprietor company type should be very clear to you on how they work. The time might come where a job owner might want to work with an entity and not a person. The more professional and prepared you are the better chance you have to attain the gig.

How Much Do You Worth With Respect to Time

Every good expert knows the importance of knowing your Time Value For Money. You can a comprehensive article was written by James Clear on this. How much your one-hour real worth? If you say 50 dollars, how did you come up with the number? Does the number make sense to your clients? Does it resonate with the market prices? Are you a Mercedes Benz or a Toyota Rav4? Do you want to focus on a few high profile clients and charge a high price or you want to focus on many clients and charge a normal price? It is very important to define this before you jump into gig works.

The Gig Mindset

You have to transform your mindset from a traditional employer to a gig worker. You need to stop being slow and move a bit fast. You need to develop an obsession with quality and learn to deliver quality without being supervised. Don’t treat your clients as you line managers or bosses who will clear your mess before sending it to the next person up in the ladder. You are you, you mess up, you lose the client. You do well, you retain them. People won’t care about what you have, their focus will be on your ability to deliver. You don’t have a budget for marketing, make sure your customers recommend you for more jobs and link you to more opportunities.

Learn, Unlearn and Relearn

It's going to be tough, you have to learn new approaches and tools every day. Some will be directly related to your work and some will be necessary for you to get paid e.g preparation of invoices, Gantt charts, frameworks, etc. What you already know might be outdated. In order for you to remain relevant, you need to unlearn and learn something new. For example, for years in your office, you might have been using a certain tool but your new client in the Gig world wants you to do the same work with another tool. It is up to you to learn the new tool to stay relevant and close the deal.

Invest in New Skills

It is tough to outsource your skills. The fact that people are looking for your skills, it means somehow they are rare or you are too damn good on what you do. Start to explore on-demand skills in the market. LinkedIn published an article about on-demand skills for 2020. The good news is, you can learn these skills for free in platforms such as Coursera, Skillshare, Udemy, Udacity, etc. Get certified in these skills and do projects for free or at a bargain price to build your portfolio.

Be careful With Free Services

Don’t entertain free services. If you are good at what you do never do it for free unless it is a CSR or a strategic pipeline to your next paid work.

Adapt or die, Best of luck.

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” — Bruce Lee.

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