Survive the lockdown. San Juan, Eastern Main Road, Trinidad.
During Covid-19 lockdown, Eastern Main Road, San Juan.

Survive the lockdown with these 6 tips

The Covid-19 lockdown generates fear, worry and hopelessness for many persons. The question, “Would I be able to survive the lockdown in 2021?” is being asked seeing that people were barely able to cope with the lockdown in 2020. If you are self-employed in the non-essential sector, for example, a hairdresser or barber, you might be home right now without an income.

Also, you may be getting unsolicited advice from friends and family members about transitioning to e-commerce. Some of the advice even though is with well intention, do not take 3 major factors into account. Firstly, if you are in the service or hospitality industries, there is no virtual way to supply your service. Secondly, you have invested not just money but a substantial portion of your life into your business. It hurts you to see it die a slow agonizing death. Finally, when this pandemic is all over, you intend to remain self-employed, independent and a slave to no one. If any of this rings true, then here are 6 tips to help you survive the lockdown.

6 tips to survive the lockdown

1. Formulate a plan of action

First consideration should be if you would like to continue in the same business that you are in now or would you consider a career change? Do not be afraid of change. Many people have slowly descended into debt holding on to the notion that things will go back to normal just now. You can remain in the same industry with a few adjustments. Allow your business to adapt to the ever-changing operating conditions. Two industries that have virtually halted completely are the food service and beauty service industries.

Survive the lockdown. Port of Spain
Port-of-Spain

With some imagination, you could make a bleak situation a positive one that can work out even after the lockdown. Two recent examples of a successful transition can be seen here, Restaurant quality dishes delivered to your home or office and Restaurant experience at home’ with Chef & Cheflys.

The first shows husband and wife team Sylvester and Nicole Ryan transition from hospitality to luxury food delivery. The second example shows Chef Kelly Athanas and team bringing the restaurant experience home to you. All done observing protocols regarding safety. These are people who decided to stay within the hospitality industry and with a little imagination were able to evolve to meet the demands of surviving in a post COVID-19 world.

Here is an example of someone that made a dramatic shift from one industry to another, Customised face masks, handmade and trendy. Maria LaCoa up until the global pandemic was a successful graphic artist. Like many in 2020 found herself having to make a decision. She transitioned from graphic arts to fashion, creating designer face masks, scarves and headpieces.

Changing careers is no easy feat, in some cases, you are entering uncharted territory giving up all that you have done for a substantial period of your life. It can however prove to be a new beginning and not the end. This would be limited to your imagination, your specific skill set and your willingness to learn new skills. If you still have some savings to last you at your current standard of living for the next 6 months, then you may be in a position to weather the storm.

2. Cut your expenses

When you first started your new business, one of your most important decisions was location. You may have spent a great deal of time and money on said location. If you are lucky enough to have started working from home and still do, then consider yourself lucky.

If you are currently paying a rent for your business, break the lease immediately. Whatever savings you have will have to be shared between your profession and your household expenses. The commercial rent would be more than your residential rent. Worst case scenario is you will have to find a new location from scratch. However, take a brief walk through any commercial district right now and you will notice the vast number of vacant spaces. More likely, when you are ready to resume your business, you may be able to reclaim your original location at a better price. Or you may be able to move to a better location at an even better price.

Survive the lockdown. Eastern Main Road, Petit Bourg
Eastern Main Road, Petit Bourg.

3. Make a budget

After cutting off any dead weight that may be slowing down your transition, you may want to take a look at your personal and household expenses. It may be difficult to make a budget when prices seem to be increasing on a daily basis, but you need to manage how you are spending your money so that it can last as long as possible. Make sure to budget for vehicle maintenance, gas and a little extra for mechanical failure. Same goes for the house, food, lights, internet, phone and once again a little extra for emergencies like a leaky kitchen sink or clogged toilet.

Eliminate any and all unnecessary expenses like Netflix or premium cable packages. In times of desperation, you could survive on basic cable or no cable at all. In 2020, the lockdown lasted longer than expected, so if it happens again you should plan for the worst.

4. Monetize your skills

You may be surprised to know that what you currently have in your head has a tangible value. Your knowledge on your specific skill or your opinion matters. If you are unable to work physically, you could probably use the down time to teach. Since the pandemic started in 2020, the concept of online teaching has become the norm.

There are people making tutorials on YouTube on almost every aspect of life, and making loads of money doing so. To reach that level takes a lot of commitment and more importantly a lot of time. You would also have to gain a substantial amount of followers, so this would not be a quick fix. A solution that solves the money problem is doing classes via Zoom or Google Classroom.

You would still have to market it effectively to reach the right audience. Payment is also something that you would have to work out as well. So even though you are unable to work, it is still possible to make money from the knowledge you have regarding that work.

5. Do not put all your eggs in one basket

Individually, none of these tips are going to solve your unemployment problem. It is why you should hedge your bets. That means you should have more than one plan working in tandem to ensure either guarantees success. If one fails, you have something else to fall back on. An example of this would be continuing your business from home while teaching online and also working for a company remotely as a Remote Customer Service Representative.

All the jobs just mentioned could be done part-time or full-time, you can choose when you would like to work and if you can survive on each individually. The life of a small business owner is never easy, but with the right attitude and some imagination you would not only survive the lockdown but thrive afterward.

6. Coping techniques to survive the lockdown

One more thing, always take some time out of every day for some self-care. Start a new hobby, one that is not related to work but something you like. Take up gardening, it would help reduce your grocery bill about 90 days after you start. But you will get to spend time outdoors, breathing fresh air and doing something fulfilling. If you involve the family, you will get to spend quality time with them. If ever you are feeling overwhelmed don’t be ashamed to reach out for help. No one on planet Earth saw this coming, so if things are not working out, know that it is not your fault.

If you would like to share your experience on coping during the lockdown, send it to contact@sweettntmagazine.com. Your story might positively inspire someone who may be thinking that the situation is hopeless.

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Survive the lockdown with these 6 tips, Survive the lockdown with these 6 tips, Survive the lockdown with these 6 tips, Survive the lockdown with these 6 tips

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