6 Tips To Creating Opportunities For Yourself During The Pandemic
I took a leap of faith and chose to put myself out there over a year ago. I understood I wouldn’t be able to return to the corporate world any time soon during the pandemic. Okay, perhaps it is contingent on how your country is run. However, because of the rising number of patients and the scarcity of hospitals, it was extremely difficult for me to take a chance. If you’re wondering why I didn’t apply from home last year, it was because my working environment wasn’t exactly ideal yet.
There I thought, the pandemic has no end in sight. How can I utilize this time to boost my skills and make use of my “gap year” while waiting for the situation to get better? I created an Instagram account. It wasn’t the first attempt, but we’ll get into that. In over a year, the said account has amassed 4,800+ followers and over 160,000 unique reach — all organically, and here are six things I’ve learned.
Focus on things that you can control
It was one of the first things I did, so I think it's important to highlight. As I previously stated, my working environment was not great at the time. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't commit to corporate jobs because my laptop was damaged and I didn't have my own space. I couldn’t control those things, so I did what I could, which included creating an Instagram account on my phone because I couldn’t create a blog on my non-existent laptop back then. Thanks to my dad, I had a laptop a month after building the page and I had a better new one last week. Patience, I guess.
I used to have this mindset of just waiting for things to get better at the start of the pandemic, and there are still times when I do (hello, delta variant and scarcity of vaccine), so I’m not saying you’re making excuses. I despise people who think that way. What I’m suggesting is that you should let go of things you can’t control and look for opportunities based on what’s in front of you or the resources you have. No money to enroll for online courses but you want to upskill? There are hundreds of online courses with free certifications. Build and join a community. Follow, connect, and learn from thought-leaders.
Find all the opportunities you can to boost your portfolio and CV
When you have free time, you can enroll in online courses with certifications, internships, or volunteer for small enterprises, as the number of entrepreneurs has increased during the lockdown. I am against unpaid internships, but this is where you need to know where to draw the line and define your limits:
- Make sure that the tasks wouldn’t take too much of your time. 3–5 hours a week is okay depending on the nature of work.
- Be clear with the deliverables you can offer. If they’re not paying you, don’t accept tasks that you’re not really familiar with and would disregard #1.
- Assure that you’ll get a solid recommendation and they allow you to include their business in your portfolio and CV. If not, find others. I know that experience is important, but you need to gain more than that on your end, too. And that is actual proof of your experience, which comes in the form of your portfolio.
While some organizations still believe in your potential, others, particularly large and established companies, want experience. Make your own.
Don’t say yes to every opportunity
In contrast to the second, this is likewise significant. Is it perplexing? Let’s put it like this. You are the one who is hunting for all feasible prospects for yourself. It means you assess firms, their owners, the industry, probable duties, if they are out of your grasp or if you can execute the work well despite a lack of knowledge, and so on. You are the one making decisions for yourself because you have a vision of the type of work you want to accomplish and how it will help you achieve your goals in the future.
However, if you do a good job of putting yourself out there, you’ll be presented with a number of opportunities. As you establish yourself as an expert in a specific field, such as digital marketing, writing, or design, you will attract folks, including directors, managers, and even CEOs, who will offer you a job or invite you to apply for one. But why not say ‘yes’ all of the time? It’s because, once again, you assess situations. Is it in line with your objectives and values? Also, I believe in pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, but not at the expense of squandering other people’s resources, time, effort, or money.
You don’t have to over qualify, though. Just be knowledgeable enough and make sure you are in the position to commit to work.
Run with your ideas
Have passion projects in mind? A digital magazine, Instagram food blog, personal or lifestyle website, a vlog, or even a Tiktok account? Run with it. Don’t run from it because you think it’s stupid.
For what it’s worth, I was quite humiliated to start an Instagram marketing blog because I’d already tried and failed to promote a marketing Twitter account and a website. Why would I promote something if it’s going to flop again? I reasoned. I made one and kept it hidden from everyone, even my partner (it doesn’t represent him as a boyfriend, I was just shy because of the 3rd attempt). But I told myself, “F*ck it, I’ve got to make this work.”
Your ideas should not just be ideas. It should turn into reality. Plan ahead. Make big swings. Invest in yourself if you can. Buy things that might help you excel in that project. You would never know unless you try.
What if it fails? Try again. But this time, smarter.
Network, network, and network!
I’ve gotten the majority of my opportunities by networking. In exchange for comments, I was given first dibs on a number of paid digital products, systems, and apps. By putting yourself out there, you become a member of a community. You can lead the community if you’re smarter, have good communication skills, and are always active. This is where networking comes into play.
How to network?
- Engage with thought-leaders on social media, such as Instagram, Twitter, or Linkedin. It depends on what platform you’re trying to dominate.
- Connect with a like-minded community. There you won’t just have another connection but you can actually help and learn from each other.
- Create captivating content. One time, I connected with a CEO, then created content based on their Linkedin activity and they noticed it. Next thing I knew they were in my inbox saying they need someone to work with them in my industry.
Don’t be afraid of self-promotion. Everybody’s doing it, why can’t you? networking can get you jobs that won’t even be posted on the job boards.
Remove the thought that other people are thinking negatively of you
Putting yourself out there means you won’t receive positive comments and support all the time. It would also involve some of them side-eyeing you from afar and waiting for your next moves. But trust me, everyone’s life is so vivid that they wouldn’t have the time to dwell on what you’re doing online, especially if it’s harmless or trivial.
Their personal troubles are the last thing on their minds as they sleep. When they wake up, they’ll have to deal with their own nonsense. They are obsessed with you if they still do despite the international political upheaval, the pandemic, the ever-increasing unemployment rate, and other nonsense going on in the world. Aside from that, unless you’re straight-up problematic and insensitive, they don’t give a damn.
We’ve been told to stop thinking of what other people would think when for me, it’s easier if you come to terms that others could not be even thinking of you.
In these trying times, you can only do so much and that is not your fault. It’s okay to rest and I don’t promote hustling through the pandemic if you have the means. This post is intended for people who wanted to utilize this time.
Disclaimer: These are my thoughts based on my personal experience as someone who is building a personal brand and creating opportunities for herself. It is up to you whether you want to put them to life but I do not take any liability for any consequences.
Copyright: Trisha B. No permission to copy and redistribute without the writer’s permission.