Tens of thousands of businesses around the world have been forced to shut their doors due to recent events. Many of those will not be able to remain open after everything is said and done. There are already many that have closed shop and moved on to other ventures.
Brick and mortar is definitely currently losing the battle that it has fought so hard for years to keep up. Digital data streams and virtual shopping assistants have replaced the outside world, at least temporarily. But perhaps we might just be looking at a super quick glimpse of what our ongoing future is going to be like.
You might think that freelancers currently are spared any injury from these events, particularly those in the programming and web development fields, because they are used to working remotely and as such this should be an easy transition for them.
While that may be true, the current instabiliy and global financial hits have made web development somewhat of a luxury item for many businesses. Setting up a newsletter signup or updating a homepage just doesnt seem as important right now.
Many of my past clients have been in fact small businesses looking to expand their physical presence on to the web. And now we find ourselves going in the opposite direction as many of them won't be needing their domains anymore.
Client acquisition is also something that is very personal in nature. Normally one to two coffee shop meetings to get acquainted and to discuss the nature of projects was required to close a deal. And suddenly, that is no longer possible. When you entrust someone with your finances in order to have them provide some form of value back, you are normally paying for the person just as much if not more than the work.
And currently we find ourselves standing some distance apart with our face hidden away under bandanas and scarves. So if you are a freelancer right now, believe me, I understand the challenges that come with it.
So should we give up on freelancing in 2020 and jump on board the food delivery and truck driving service sector? Those markets are currently thriving looking at the numbers.
If you choose to, but I would say let's hold off just a little bit on that thought. Markets always recover folks. At different timeframess, but always.
We have survived wars, famines, climate troubles and much much more and we bounce back and invent new things to counteract the side effects. We are a resilient species indeed. And every question has an answer. Every challenge a solution.
Many businesses will hold off just long enough to survive this in the end, and with that survival will come the realization that just maybe they were not as prepared as they would have liked.
I personally know plenty of businesses that shut their doors initially, only to bounce back within a week with a new online ordering system and delivery route system that ensured they were financially stable during this time. At least more so than with the doors closed.
The truth is, a large number of food establishments just were not prepared to pivot and shift over to an online model. They have been brick and mortar for years and they didn't think they needed any form of digital presence. You definitely can't blame them. Before this sudden shift, we didn't really need them to be on any digital platform. We might have peeked at a review or two before we walked in, sure, but for the most part we still walked in, stared at the same menu for half an hour and ordered the same thing that we always got. This is how the majority of us did our outdoor feasting. It was inefficient, but it had a personal touch to it.
That model is invalid right now in most of the world. The new model involves us taking out our phones and locating the nearest (or cheapest) food establishment and with a few clicks and clacks, having that data travel through a system of nodes until it loops back around towards us. It isn't complex. But it is digital and relatively new.
But the reality is, that it is 2020. And while we might not have flying cars or transportation tubes spitting us out across town, we are constantly connected to each other through this massive network of nodes.
And so freelancing might look different when this is over. It might not be creating a clean looking homepage with a contact form and menu anymore. It more than likely will mean ensuring that every small business that does remain is a part of this network in some shape way or form.
It might include setting up POS systems or leveraging delivery services, or even implementing custom delivery services to reduce overhead costs. It could also mean setting up social media accounts for these busineses, opening them up to a market that they have never had before.
Essentially, we are going to need to work on our underlying infrastructure in order to ensure that our economic system is more robust moving forward. This might take years to pan out fully, due to the seemingly undecisive nature of it all. But we don't have to wait for the official bell to ring signifying peace once again to begin. We can definitely start now, maybe even saving a few shops from having to make that difficult choice to abandon the ship.
Non essential businesses might be required to not open their doors. But there is no law against having a digital door spring up in its wake.
So if you are a freelancer or web developer currently going through the ups and downs, this could still be a good time to pivot your own skills and put them to good use. To help a business rethink their digital strategies and to maybe save your favorite burger joint from going under in the process. Reach out to your local businesses (remotely) and check in on their current needs.
So stay safe. Keep pivoting. There is still plenty of work to be done. And if you are interested in starting your own freelance career, sign up for my soon to be released course right over here.
With the right tools, we can definitely get through anything thrown at us.