Down But Not Out: Seeing Opportunities in these Covid-19 Times

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Photo By Emmanuel Via Iwaria

I know that we are in challenging times. Never in the history of the world has the world of work been so disrupted and with so many people having lost their jobs and some having also lost incomes due to pay cuts and the loss of other allowances. These are tough times indeed. I may not know you personally but as an HR Consultant and Career Coach, who interacts with many professionals, both workers and job seekers, I know how it feels like to lose your job or live with the fear of losing your job. Not surprisingly, the future seems bleak and uncertain for a lot of people. The above situation has led to psychological and mental stress for many workers and professionals.

If you have lost your job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; or have had your income reduced and wondering how you would survive, I am here to encourage you and let you know that all is not lost. You may be down but you are definitely not out. There are many opportunities you can take advantage of if you look hard and deep enough. I hear stories of people who were able to feed themselves and their families but have now resorted to “begging” from family and friends in order to feed themselves and their families. My heart really goes out to you if you are facing such a situation; and I would like you to know that everything will be alright. God is with you; and He will surely come through for you. You may down but you are not out.

The good news is that, in every situation, no matter how difficult it is, if you look deep and hard enough, you will find an opportunity. This is not the time to cry or pity yourself.

Rather, this is the time to stay calm, take a critical look at yourself; make the journey within, and discover the special abilities God has given you that you can leverage to economically empower yourself during these times. To paraphrase Rev. Albert Ocran, in these difficult and challenging times, where the support systems we have been used to can no longer support us, the only thing that can help us keep afloat is our talents. Thus, this is the time to identify your talent, develop it and deploy it for your economic empowerment.

For example, I know a professional accountant who through participation in our career coaching and mentoring programme realised that she could do much more beyond her accounting profession. She realised that she was gifted artistically and could design and produce beads, necklaces, bags, slippers, etc. She devoted part of her time in developing this talent, polishing it; and she subsequently, began to design and produce beads, necklaces, bags, slippers to sell to colleagues and friends. As a result, she added to her stream of income. Yours may not be the making of beads and other accessories. Yours may be cooking, painting, writing, proof-reading, teaching, encouraging people, social media marketing, e-commerce, decoration, organising, public speaking, etc. Whatever your talent, if you can identify it and develop it, it could be an additional source of income for you.

Are you a marketing person who has lost his/her job? If you are good at selling and are conversant with social media, why don’t you try social media marketing of the essential goods that are relevant in these COVID-19 times? Take a picture of the goods, upload them on social media, get people who are interested to buy and deliver to them personally if you can or via dispatch or public transport. It will amaze you how much you could make from that. If you are good at content creation, you can consider offering to create for organisations who are forced to go online due to the pandemic. Today, most businesses often need content for their videos, websites, articles, social media pages, etc. Develop your content creation skills and you could earn some income from that. You can also develop skills in social media management so you can help companies to manage their social media platforms. This could also earn you some income.

Are you an IT person who has lost your job or have had your salary slashed? Indeed, one of the greatest opportunities in these COVID-19 times is the use of technology and online platforms. Why don’t you offer to teach people how to use these various online platforms for a fee? You can also help businesses put their products and services online at a charge. If you are IT savvy, can you develop a Ghanaian video conferencing app that could be more affordable than the ones on the market? If you are good at Microsoft Office Suite, can you create a YouTube channel where you teach how to use Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc? The more people watch and download your videos, the higher your chances of earning some income.

If you are good at writing, this may be the time to write that book you have been meaning to write but have not had time to do so. Well, now you have the time. Commit to writing articles for publication. You can also write and publish an e-book which could give you a stream of income. There are some people too who are very good at proof-reading and editing. Your friends and colleagues bring their reports and documents to you to proofread or edit before they send it. You have the eye to spot errors and grammatical mistakes effortlessly. Perhaps, this is the time to build a business around that and earn some income. Do you know that you can earn some income through a YouTube video channel? If you are good at cooking and have a number of unique recipes you can share with others, why don’t you consider a YouTube channel? All you need is your smart phone and you are good to go.

If you are good at speaking or persuading people, you can speak on some topical issues and put them on YouTube; and it will amaze you how much you can earn. I know of someone who has made it his business to teach people how to do PowerPoint presentation via YouTube. He teaches so well and so drives a lot of traffic to his channel. And now, something he started alone in his room, has grown into a company where he employs others to support him. This was made possible with the support of sponsors who had watched his video and decided to invest in it. So apart from the income he earns based on the number of views and downloads, he has also attracted sponsors who support him financially and technically. What do you know how to do well? Can you teach it? Then create a YouTube channel and teach it to earn some income.

If you are an HR professional and you have lost your job, you can go into freelancing. If you have expertise in training for instance, you can organise online training on topical issues and charge a fee for your services. You can also talk to some pertinent issues in HR and create a YouTube channel where you can earn some income based on the number of views and downloads. There are so many things you can do even at home. Take time to think through it and know what you can do on a freelance basis to earn some income. If you are an accounting professional, you can offer to assist micro and small businesses to prepare their books of account, and properly file their taxes for a token. Assuming you get ten businesses to prepare their books and charge each business GH¢50, that is GH¢500 you are earning. You can also help businesses to put their documents together to successfully access the Government of Ghana’s stimulus package for micro, small and medium scale businesses for a token.

So, you see, there is a lot you can do with your talent to earn some income. You only have to stop lamenting or pitying yourself and start looking at what you can do to develop some income streams in these COVID-19 times and beyond. Truly, there are so many opportunities you can take advantage of and earn some income. Who knows? You may even decide to focus on the businesses you have created for yourself even after COVID-19. So, make time to discover, develop, and commercialise that special ability or talent you have been endowed with to expand your streams of income. It could mean you taking an online course to hone that talent. It could also mean going on YouTube to see what others are doing, how they are doing it, then take cues from them and begin to do your own thing. This is possible. So, stop fretting and take the first step. You can do it. God will surely help you.

The writer, Mrs Patricia Abena Kissi, is an HR and business consultant, and the CEO of SEDAT Consult Limited. SEDAT Consult provides business support in the areas of recruitment, staff and HR outsourcing, training and development, compensation and benefits management, HR advisory, and business development to meet the business, staffing and training needs of start-ups and SMEs, as well as well-established companies in the country. Our mission is to ease the business burdens of organisations through the provision of innovative, practical training, research, and human resources solutions using proven techniques to address the business needs of our clients.

You may contact us on: +233 (0) 24 4629245; [email protected]

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