Time to get my act together, again! Having just been made redundant from my dream job due the events business spiralling downhill with Covid-19 taking over the world, I am, however well and happy. I needed to be clear about what next. What do I do next that will inform and influence my future prospects and the moment after that and after that and after that. I realised quickly that I needed to think in the here and now, and not get wrapped up in tomorrow, next week or when I have time.I know I am amongst thousands of event professionals all looking into the calendar abyss and wondering what happened for it to be this catastrophic. Over the last 20+yrs I have had the pleasure of working full time in some of the best and biggest event agencies, as well as freelance my way through many more so the ability to think laterally and realise that this is merely a big bump in the road is an easier concept to deal with.
My post today does not come with any authority, strategic insights or as a self-help guide. These are some key actions I have taken to manage my days, understand my priorities and give me some focus. Take what you want from it, discuss amongst like minded people, or simply park it somewhere in a folder in the back of your mind.
I need to use my time to prepare for the moment when the floodgates open, a time when I will not be able to read several articles a day, organise my photographs, a time when I cannot go through my LinkedIn connections and make contact simply for the pleasure of it, and believe me the busy days will come, and when they do every agency in town is going to be looking for someone with your skills and you are going to wonder what was 2020 all about. Here goes…
Get organised: Schedule your day, do daily or weekly to-do lists and get organised, find a space and set up shop, consider it your workplace in amongst the comfort of your home. You do not need to clear out the kids bedroom or take over the family dining table but simply make some dedicated space where you and everyone around you know that when you are in this place, you are at work.
It is time to get your administration, your back office, your finances in order. Make it a routine to go to your office, conduct a series of regular tasks that helps to shape the hours ahead. Work your way through those jobs and tasks you meant to do but never got round to doing, it is time to organise your hard drives of data you have collected over so many years and across so many projects, time to cull that LinkedIn connections list of people who you have never really known or need to know, and more importantly make a list of all those people you now have time to contact and revive that relationship. Connections matter and relationships matter even more, I have had a great time these last two weeks talking to people that I would otherwise not have had time for.
Consolidate your cloud and data storage: I discovered to my horror how much I have been paying for several online storage accounts, that is in addition to the G-suite and Apple accounts already give me. So I have spent many hours this week downloading everything, consolidating the data, editing it down to what I need and uploading to my G-suite Drive where I have been managing my business life for many years. It does feel good to have a good old clear out.
Audit your monthly costs: Get savvy with the financials, the numbers and reconcile of your life and work expenses. Most of you probably do do this but let’s be honest about how many subscriptions and online platforms do you have and never reviewed or deleted before the renewal date. I have also to my shame found several payments going out on my commercial credit card monthly that I have no real knowledge or memory off. Time to write to the bank and find out what they are. You could suggest looking at something like https://www.trackmysubs.com/
Raise your profile: We know just how amazing and varied our event lives can be and now is the time to share these stories and get your profiles polished and raised. Nobody else is going to do your PR for you. Over the years and even recent months I have seen many online industry specific websites and facebook pages, a place where you can join the debate and even to let off some steam about a topic that is close to you. What you rarely find are sites where you can develop your profile in line with your specific skills and to convey what you have to offer. Here are a few sites, amongst many, that I know that serve our industry well and will be the go-to source for agencies when business returns and even booms again;
Liveforce: perfect for the gig-economy, a great online service helping agencies to book and manage onsite event staff, very good at doing the end to end management of staff from searching, scheduling, timesheets, invoicing, payments all done through a user-friendly website and app. https://liveforce.co
Connektd: The community platform for experienced freelancers. For the seasoned managers that agencies need to design, develop, plan and deliver an event. Key benefits for freelancers include: safe space to promote your full profile including primary and secondary job titles, skills, countries worked in, brands and agencies worked for, ability to post blogs and communicate with the agencies you are connected to. The benefits for agencies are even more powerful with the ability to develop a community of freelancers specific to the needs of your sector services, powerful search tool to look for talent locally, regionally and globally, a whole suite of management tools to support business continuity, be GDPR compliant and most importantly keep your IP, your talent all within a safe space ready for when you need them. https://www.getconnektd.com
Upwork: connects businesses of all sizes to freelancers, independent professionals, and agencies for all their hiring needs. It expertly connects professionals and agencies to businesses seeking specialized talent. This looks and feels more like an extension of a recruitment service but offering another unique part of our sector a great service. https://www.upwork.com
And a final note of caution… a reminder that this is not the end nor the beginning. This is a blip, a bump, a gap in time, and this is not permanent, the situation we are all in will change. If you think back to where you were this time last year and think back through all of the amazing people, places, and situations you have been in through the year since you will realise that this time next year, or very soon in near future you will look back and wondering how you have moved on from today’s situation. Do not develop an aversion or add any more dismay to the plight that you are in. Get yourself organised, pick up the phone, fix a google hangout or zoom as it’s a great time to talk to people. Nobody can tell you they do not have time.