There is no doubt that the crisis from which we are slowly emerging has been devastating – for the people who were tragically infected by it, and their loved ones, but also for many of the UK’s 5million self-employed people, including contractors. It goes without saying that independent workers are worried about losing clients and revenue, while also concerned about the long-term repercussions of COVID-19.
Many contractors are finding that clients can no longer afford their services. To cut costs, companies may resort to discontinuing all external contractors and consultants’ services – their responsibilities passed to internal staff. Belt-tightening may be the norm for a long time to come, especially when you consider that the economy is estimated to have shrunk by over 20% in the month of April alone.
However, it is not all doom and gloom. There are industries still thriving even in these difficult circumstances and work is there to be won. But as a contractor, how might you go about identifying a new client? And where do these opportunities I’m talking about exist? In this article, I will share my three top tips for landing the perfect contract in a pandemic…
Even now, there are sectors that are booming. We are all aware of Zoom and its success story. And for every Zoom, there are hundreds of other firms experiencing huge growth. Businesses offering virtual communication and connectivity services have been a big winner in recent years, and with companies like Twitter leading the way in the remote working revolution, this is not likely to be a flash in the pan either.
People will continue to find new ways to connect for both social and professional interaction, meaning opportunities are likely to arise. Even if it is a sector you have never worked in before, think about how your skills – whether IT, marketing or finance – could help these companies.
Other sectors tipped to grow are:
Think about the last company you worked with, whether as a contractor or as an employee. Think about the different people you came across, specifically department managers, or if in a smaller company, the person in charge of day to day operations. What was their day like? What was their intended role? What did their role in practice look like? What were their problems or their pains as they went about their work? List them out. When approaching businesses, it’s vital that you can offer a solution – in other words, solve a problem or fulfil a need that they haven’t yet or can’t seem to themselves.
If you’re comfortable financially and have dreamed of doing something else for a long time, whether that’s running your business (but different from your current services), furthering your qualifications or retraining in something completely new, this may be your best chance.
While things may seem bleak now, there are exciting developments brewing under the surface. Need more convincing? How about this – what do Groupon, WhatsApp, Instagram, Square, Uber, Slack and Pinterest have in common? They were all founded between 2008 and 2010. Is it a coincidence that all of these were created during the global financial crisis? It’s unlikely. Many of the founders of these companies were hoping to be recruited by the likes of Google and Facebook but couldn’t land jobs because of the financial climate. As a result, they started their own companies.
When considering your options, it is crucial that you are proactive, not reactive. Don’t wait for a client to come forward or for opportunities to land on your lap. Go out and seize them. Do this by making a compelling case for ways your skills, experience and talents can be used. While there is no avoiding the fact that the economy is struggling and is likely to for some time, below the surface something remarkable may be brewing – please make sure you are a part of it.
Reshma is a sales and marketing coach and the founder of Velocity Coaching Services. She is passionate about helping the self-employed, solopreneurs and microbusinesses create businesses that not only personally fulfilling but also financially rewarding. She uses her 15 years of entrepreneurial experience along with her formal qualifications to help clients accelerate their income.