If you’re sick and tired of worrying about how long you keep your job, this is for you. If you’re unemployed or underemployed right now, this is for you.
The last three months have been pretty tough on employees. Some have had hours cut. Some have been furloughed, laid off, let go, or whatever someone called it. Some might know when you’re coming back. Many people don’t. COVID didn’t start the worrying for some. It just made it worse.
It’s not only the employees. Some of you have lost your business.
Then there are the “lucky” ones. You’ve kept your job or your business, even if you’re not as busy, the tips aren’t as good and/or the hours are no longer full-time. On top of all that, some of you have been screamed at, spat on, or worse.
Many of you are trying to figure out what happens next. You have questions like these: What happens when unemployment changes in a few weeks? What happens when other COVID response benefits go away? What happens when the tourists go home?
It’s time to think
When I say it’s time to think, I mean that it’s time to think about what your next step is.
What are you gonna do next month? What are you going to do next week? What are you going to do tomorrow?
Most importantly, “What are you going to do for the rest of today?”
First, go for a walk or a hike or paddle, or something. Get outside. Turn your phone off. Go for a walk. Take a hike, a bike or a paddle and think really hard about a few things…
What could I be doing would provide the biggest bang for the buck.. that will deliver the most important solution, the best value for other people?
What’s the biggest problem that I know how to solve?
And last but certainly not least… these three:
What work, what product, creation, service, labor, effort, etc am I willing to do on my worst days, and on the days when I’m not sure where the next bag of groceries is coming from?
What work will I stick to on the days when everybody around me who usually believes in me is starting to wonder?
What would you do under those conditions that’s worth something to someone else?
What does “biggest” mean?
What does biggest even mean? Biggest seems kind of vague. What’s biggest in context with your current skills? What allows you to produce the most value by solving an important problem in TODAY’S world?
Think about the people you’ve worked with/for. If they came to you for something you’re really skilled at – what would it be? What else would they have you do?
It doesn’t matter if the problems you solve are ugly, dirty, or difficult. The dirty and/or difficult ones might be easier to find a market for – as many people will gladly pay to solve them. Choose what you’re good at. You can ponder whether you want to do this for the rest of your life at some other time. Right now, it’s time to choose something, find people who need it & get paid.
These problems might be financial, involve physical danger (or reduce it), or take the friction / hassle / waste out of a process.
What makes you say “Gimme that” when someone else is doing it? Doesn’t matter if “that” is a nail gun, trowel, chainsaw, laptop, a spreadsheet or the wheel of a truck. All that matters is that you’re the expert when that tool is in your hands. One warning: Don’t start with something that requires a licensing process unless you already have one. Choose something you can do now.
Start with that.
Next year, you might have to adjust. It’ll be more than clear how your newfound business should change as the COVID-influenced world changes to whatever’s next.
Who has that problem?
Now that you’ve settled on a problem, drill down.
Who has those problems? What are the different ways that you can help them?
Next question: “Is this problem important enough that they’ll pay someone to fix it AND can they pay the bill?”
If no one (or very few) can afford for you to fix the problem or the problem isn’t terribly important, find another problem.
It’s time to get started.
Mark Riffey is an investor and advisor to small business owners. Want to learn more about Mark or ask him to write about a strategic, operations or marketing problem? See Mark’s site, contact him on LinkedIn or Twitter, or email him at email@example.com.