I’m not going to be pretend that the situation we find ourselves in is a massive opportunity. I know it’s important to focus on the positive, and I do, but let’s not pretend that the current situation bought on by the covid-19 pandemic isn’t pretty dire, because it is.
And so many people are doing so many good things – selflessly volunteering to serve communities and support the NHS.
So I felt pretty bad that I wasn’t closing my business, leaving my kids to fend for themselves (they are in high school) and getting out there too. I COULD have furloughed myself – the vast majority of my work has temporarily disappeared. Large corporates have (quite rightly) suspended all non-essential training.
BUT the thing about working for myself for 14 years means that I’ve been through tough times before. And those tough times taught me to adapt. The last time corporate work was thin of the ground, I started the Training Designer’s Club. The time before that I created some online courses about how to design training. The time before THAT I created ready-written Power Hour training materials to sell to other trainers.
So although my earnings may be very depleted, I’m full of ideas. A selection of my Power Hour sessions are being converted so they can be delivered virtually.
But perhaps more crucially, I’ve realised that by continuing to work, I’m helping others to continue to work – whether they are self-employed, or employed and suddenly finding themselves alone. Providing resources, coaching, general support and a sense of community is allowing people to keep going when otherwise, they may not. We’re tackling those important but not urgent projects that have been hanging around forever, we’re adapting our training services, we’re practising new skills on each other and we’re sharing helpful resources. We’re giving each other confidence and hope.
It’s the same reason why I’m proud to be supporting the Trainer Talk Community by still running Trainer Talk Local meetings – albeit remotely. The opportunity to connect, share, ask for help and provide advice to others may just be the difference between a small business keeping going thought these difficult times or not.
I know that in the grand scheme of things, keeping a small training business going isn’t important. But it IS important to my mental health and it means I’m NOT relying on the state, when the state has enough to worry about. In addition I like to think that I’m playing a VERY small part in preparing for a time when the world can return to business as usual – whatever the new “usual” will be.