Whenever the world experiences a period of economic and political uncertainty, people who work for themselves aren’t as worried about their options. In fact, historically, freelancers usually do quite well during these periods because they are more in control of the situation and can use their flexible business model to create opportunities for themselves.
I actually set up my own business during the 2008 financial crisis and didn’t even consider that it might be a problem. Consultants and small businesses needed a hand (as they always have done and always will) and so I helped them.
Why freelancers thrive in unstable economic climates
- Companies and small business owners still have money to spend – they’re just more careful where they spend it.
- Companies and business owners always need work doing (in fact, they will be looking to find more work themselves) so they’re far more likely to reduce their employees and outsource work to freelancers instead.
- Employees are costly. Their company has to pay into their pension and provide sick, holiday and maternity pay. They also have to find them a desk and provide equipment. None of that applies to freelancers.
- My best friend has been made redundant five times so far and had her public-sector pay frozen for seven years. Employees are made redundant and at the mercy of their bosses… freelancers are not.
- Freelancers are agile. They can turn direction on a dime and can act when employees only have the option to react.
- Freelancers can charge in any currency and work anywhere in the world. If you solve problems for your clients and they consider you a valuable resource, you will always have work.
- Poor exchange rates in one country will make some business owners in another even more likely to outsource.
- Freelancers work remotely so can continue to deliver work even if there are travel restrictions or closures due to extreme incidents such as natural disasters or epidemics such as Coronavirus.
Why Virtual Assistants will always do well
Virtual Assistance is a highly robust industry that withstands turbulent times. Here’s why:
- Virtual Assistants have numerous transferable skills and can work with any type of business, in any location, in any timezone and in any currency. This means they have more options than employees.
- Virtual Assistants sole purpose is to assist small businesses. It’s even in their job title! Their entire business model is helping other businesses thrive so they will have numerous solutions to help their clients adapt and pivot if they are struggling.
- Virtual Assistants possess a plethora of valuable skills from many years of office experience. They have also undertaken multiple types of tasks for clients within a wide range of industries. Even though they may have a specific niche, they will also have clients in other industries. So if one client is impacted, the rest won’t be.
- Virtual Assistants know how to communicate and collaborate virtually and they possess a wealth of tech knowledge that all types of businesses can benefit from.
- Virtual Assistants are in control of their futures and can act, employees can only react. Employees are at the mercy of their employer so if the company struggles they have to wait and see if they’re going to be made redundant.
- Virtual Assistants are resourceful, highly-organised and have excellent forward-planning abilities. They’re unflappable and excellent problem solvers.
And I’m not just saying this. I have solid evidence that VAs do well in crisis situations.
During the Covid-19 crisis, I asked the VAs in my DIY VA course training group as well as my VA Handbookers Facebook group how they were getting on and what they were doing to help their clients pivot and adapt.
The response was overwhelmingly positive and they were not only rising admirably to the challenge, many of them were busier than ever and also gaining new clients.
You can read what steps they were taking to help their clients (ie: doing their jobs) here in my post on why the Coronavirus is the ‘little ship’ moment for Virtual Assistants.
So my advice to you is, if you’re considering setting up your own Virtual Assistant business then don’t put your decision on hold. Now is the time to act so you have more choices later.
It’s far better to act rather than be a sitting duck whose only option is to react.
There has never been a better time to work for yourself, but you will always do better (at any time, in any place) if you step up, stay visible, use your knowledge and skills to help others and actively commit to investing in your future.