It’s April 15th 2020 and the official number of a 2 million infected people of the novel Corona Virus around the globe has been hit.1 It is more than likely that a myriad of further cases are kept being undiscovered for various reasons. In our previous article we dived into the first of ideas of what this phenomenon can potentially mean for the location independent movement. A month later down the road there are a few first observations that we can make already which I would like to share with you.
Just as a kindly reminder: we are in exactly the same situation like all of you. We don’t know shida about what is going to happen and we wish to go as little as possible into whatever speculations and even less do we see ourselves in the role of spreading whatever unnecessary panic. And hell yeah, with the following lines we can be as bloody wrong as can be, especially if you read this article again at a later point of time.
The following observations are partly from the real life that I am surrounded with, partly from posts on Instagram or Facebook where digital nomads and location independents comment. Some people go into the direction that this ongoing crisis is something like a bothersome intermediate period but where basically everything will go back to “normal”, i.e. just like before, business is going to be as usual again at some point.
We will face a new “normal”
Chances are, however, that exactly this “normal” will never be quite the same again. This is honestly hard to imagine and for many of us it will take a while to accept this. In fact, we will see a new “normal” and how this will look like is again as speculative as to predict the course of the ongoing crisis.
TIME TO GET STUFF DONE – BUT IT DOESN’T ALWAYS HAPPEN
One thing is for sure: we all have to stay in our homes right now and have more time for whatever stuff that could potentially be done. On top of that we cannot distract ourselves with other things at the same time such as hanging out with friends in a bar in the evening. So a logical conclusion of that would be that you would get more things done now than normally. And for some people this is certainly true. “It’s the time of the introvert” was one comment that we got on our question in our Instagram account when we were asking how you are structuring and streamlining yourself in times of this crisis.
Curious enough, however, what happens to the majority of people is that they lose focus, that they get actually LESS done during MORE time they have available.
Okay, there are of course a bunch of factors here to consider. Quite a few people are under legitimate stress right now and have to deal with elementary things such as where to get the next rent as paying clients broke away and the source of income had dissolved in a heartbeat. Others are worried about their own and their family’s/friend’s health…fair enough, we are talking about a virus here that can potentially kill you. And as we know by now this does no longer count only for the elderly.2
Again other location independents are stuck in a foreign country and have to stay put wherever they are right now which might not have been really on their agenda. Dealing with unexpected challenges can get them out of routine as well.
People get less done although they have more time
Less is getting done although we have more time. I remember this even from my teenage years. When I had a normal day of school of 6-8 hours plus homework afterwards, and then let’s say football training in the evening, I got much more done than on a day where I had nothing specifically on the plate – and I am not even talking about a lazy Sunday waking up at noon because of last night’s party at a friend’s place. The given structure, the set deadlines helped me much more to simply get something done and then jump over to the next thing. And hell yeah, of course I didn’t want to miss out on having that gathering with my friends later that night, an extra motivator to get things done.
EVERYBODY TALKS ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES
While the crisis is full on in some places I hear and read again and again people talking about the new opportunities that this crisis is offering. While such optimism is admirable and seemingly more fruitful than moaning about the whole situation it can also create more frustrations.
Yeah, there are definitely some great examples out there where people within a week switched to another solution for the same audience or, vice versa, switched to another target group with the same solution – or even switched even both of them.
The following video is an example of a group of people in Ubud/Bali coming up with new business ideas AND implementation within some days.
Now here comes the crucial part
Not wanting to go more into detail here, you might be in the position where you intensely try to see those said opportunities and it doesn’t happen to you. You might openly ask yourself in your current situation where the heck those opportunities are – and feel even more guilty about yourself and your apparent incapability to figure them out, believing that something must be wrong with you.
There are those that are talking about it (easily done) vs. those who proactively take action (much tougher!). The impression that one can get here is that some people are actually doing the exact same thing they always used to do. Which is: talking about aaaaaaall of the opportunities out there, now just louder and more flashy, with the hope of getting some attention.
Opportunities are not realities.
You might feel guilty about yourself not seeing the new opportunities that some people announce like the latest iPhone. But just because they are again the loudest out there doesn’t make them right.
I think it is in general not a good approach in life to expect certain things happening at a specific time. I talk about things such as finding your soulmate, winning the lottery or being spontaneous on command. Of course you can give active impulses into one or the other direction, e.g. you submit your lottery ticket every week, otherwise your chance to ever win the jackpot is exactly 0% (instead of a chance of a roughly 0.0000715% when you chip in).3
So my point is: of course you should keep your eyes open, exchange ideas about opportunities with your peers and/or come up with some structured plan about what makes most sense in your specific situation – unless you are in a mentally sensitive state due to immediate events or issues around you that need a hands-on solution right now.
Yet, if you don’t come up right away with the new life-saving formula, don’t blame yourself for that and simply let go for a while. Just because some dudes are blaring this out right now trying to take your ego by the horns doesn’t mean that you have to fall for that. And unfortunately it’s looming that this crisis will have larger repercussions than for example the events from 9/11 back in 2001. So if not now, your time will come if you keep being active.
This crisis will have larger repercussions than 9/11
ONLINE EVENTS AND WORKSHOPS EVERYWHERE
It seems a bit like for every new confirmed case of Corona in the world another online workshop had been created simultaneously. These days we are literally getting overwhelmed by the amount of online events and workshops. They seem to spring up like mushrooms after the long-awaited rain. And quite a few of them – you might guess it – are hitting again on the exact same topic of which opportunities are out there right now in this ongoing crisis.
It’s surely worth giving it a try to watch one of those if otherwise you are bored and would hang out zapping through Netflix without a clue. If this at least inspires you to come up with some first ideas or get your crew talking about it with you, good on you!
Quality over quantity: this also counts these days when shopping around for online workshops and events
Nothing against if your content is good. It can be a smart way to create more buzz around your business, get the word spread and eventually more leads will follow. Also, events such as conferences, summits or so which were supposed to happen offline but accidentally happened to fall right into this period right now are well advised to have an online version for everybody who is involved.
Make a clear choice for yourself
The recommendation here is to have a careful look and to make sure you really should go for it. If you don’t have any savings at the moment it hardly makes sense to opt in for a 3 hours session about how to secure your reserves. And the best way to get your home office designed in order to have a maximum output of productivity won’t lead you very far if you just lost your job and need to look for a new one.
So not all of the internet mushrooms that are there to pick right now might be of high value for you. In fact, some seem like a desperate move when in fact someone didn’t know anything better to do or just wanted to jump on the latest trend but having nothing valuable to provide other than just telling about all the new opportunities out there (we’ve been there, right?).
Choose carefully and be resourceful as you probably already spend more time in front of the screen as you might do already compared to usually.
1 In reference to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University, to be found here, last consulted on April 15th 2020
2 This is one example, you can find more articles about this by a simple search.
3 You can check this out here if you are fond of knowing more about it.