Yes, you can expand your business during a pandemic!
June 16th, 2020

This isn’t a post about taking advantage of this harrowing (hah, that’s a word that I prefer to “unprecedented”) situation or being cavalier to the crisis we’re going through…

Rather, it’s a post about strategy and proactive planning and how it can lead to favorable long-term results, and even some growth. This is the story about how I grew my freelance business during COVID-19!

***

You might not know this, but in addition to my full-time work with Fanshawe College, I have dabbled for the last 15 years now in freelance work ranging from strategic advising to design, video and website creation – my business is called impression1. If you’re a freelancer like me, you’ve surely received various email surveys asking how your business is faring in light of COVID-19, and almost everything I’ve read has been about the devastation that independent contractors have faced with reduced budgets from their clients.

*** Turning a crisis into a proactive opportunity ***

The test of proactive thinking is applying it in challenging times. If you have a sound foundation to what you do – whether it’s operating a freelance business or just living your life in any realm – then you can rely on this foundation when times get tough and even use this temporary slow-down or interruption to double-down, take time to refine what you do, and really lay a strategy for where you want to go next.

1) The first step is taking advantage of the slowdown

Rather than sitting in worry, a slowdown to what you do through external forces can be viewed as a necessary opportunity we don’t always get to evaluate and look critically at our operation and set the direction for where we want to go.

2) The next step is taking action behind the scenes

Once I knew that I had the time, believe it or not (not to say things haven’t been very busy with Fanshawe… but I also wanted to take advantage of having more idle time on my hands in off-work hours) I decided it was time to make impression1 a little more of a focus – to give it some of the attention it hadn’t had in the last few years to become a going concern.

The first thing I did was enhanced my website behind the scenes. I added all my portfolio works, enhanced the function of my andrewexplores blog so that I could position myself as a thought leader, and cleaned up the landing page. Have a look at the result: impression1.net

3) The final step is spreading the word that you’re ready to go

With a business operation ready to go and the time available to expand, my next strategy was a bold one… I activated my business and started some warm-calling (the opposite of cold-calling; I reached out directly to those people I’d worked with before to say that I’m here, I’m available with more time to devote to them than ever, and here is my updated website that showcases my capabilities).

With one client, I went a step further – I actually sent them a proposed project idea proactively. They didn’t ask or approach me; rather, I could see an obvious opportunity to enhance their website in a big way, and I showed them how I could do it for them. I drew up a project proposal and even sketched out a mock-up of the enhancements I had in mind. I submitted an estimate of the cost and said I’d be ready to begin immediately.

And guess what they said? In a time of crisis, I got a new major project!

I can’t wait, in an upcoming post, to show you the result of this recent collaboration.

***

The bottom line here is that, with a solid foundation, a pause to calibrate, and some proactive strategy you can grow in whatever element of your life you want to expand… even in a time of crisis.

p.s. does your website need a kick in the butt to get to the next level? Give me a shout! Websites are my specialty 🙂

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