Embrace the Disruption
I have been writing about the long-term and possibly permanent disruption being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Check out the following posts:
- How to Maneuver Your Career in a Crazy Time of Disruptive Innovation
- How Have You Been Successful in Dealing with Industry Disruption?
- Are You Prepared for the Extinction of a Steady Paycheck?
- Why and How to Establish a Growth Mindset for Thriving in 2021?
In my lifetime, I have never experienced disruption as I have in the last 12 months. I have learned to embrace the disruption rather than fear it.
Are you willing to embrace the disruption?
Whack a Mole
I feel like for the last year, I have been playing whack a mole. A classic example has been my book sales through Amazon and Amazon KDP (Kindle Digital Publishing). Amazon KDP prints and distributes both my print and digital books.
During the shutdown, my book sales came to a complete halt. The only books I was selling were digital books. Normally I sell 3-4 times the number of paperback books as digital ones. My Amazon advertising was running and I was being charged for the ads, but there was no revenue.
I was left scratching my head about what was happening. Amazon was so far behind in processing orders, Amazon KDP stopped printing books. I stopped running ads and suddenly a month later there was a flurry of book sales. I then restarted my ads scratching my head but being a little wiser.
In the fall my Amazon ad cost exploded 100% with no increase in sales. I was losing money on every book sold through an ad.
I stopped the ads and rebuilt the ad campaigns. I have no idea what was going on.
After rebuilding the ads things went back to normal. I now know what I would do in a similar situation.
In early February, book sales stopped for 10 days. Rather than selling 10-15 paperback and a few digital copies, I sold a single digital book. Amazon stopped printing and shipping books during the polar vortex that froze much of the US and stopped the electric grid in Texas. A few days later everything went back to normal. My stress levels did not rise as they had previously as I now knew to embrace the disruption.
This whack-a-mole scenario of the last year has taught me to embrace the disruption. With each disruption, I gain insight on how to react and more importantly adjust. I now take each disruption in stride and look at how to pivot and adapt.
Embrace the Disruption While Your Industry Recovers
I have interviewed Thom Singer multiple times on the Repurpose Your Career podcast. The same day this blog post publishes I am publishing a podcast episode where I create a follow-up interview to my original interview called Pivoting a Speaking Career in a Time of Pandemic.
The new interview is called Update 2021 – Pivoting a Speaking Career in a Time of Pandemic.
Thom’s speaking business completely disappeared in 3 days in March. Eleven years earlier Thom had pivoted from being in a business development and marketing career for law firms to be a keynote speaker and master of ceremonies for primarily association conferences. The 2nd quarter of 2020 was scheduled to be his best quarter ever.
Thom could have curled up in a little ball and said whoa is me.
Instead, he made the decision to talk to one smart person every day to ask for advice. I wrote about this in my post 7 Best Practices that Empower Your Career and Business.
Thom has put together a patchwork of work that includes:
- Virtual speaking – This does not pay nearly as well as in-person speaking
- Training for law firms – This is what Thom used to do before his original pivot
- Coaching for law firms – Same as training
- Host several associations podcasts – Thom has a very successful podcast and was already hosting another association podcast
- Part-time executive recruiter – This is not generating any revenue yet
He was told over and over during the years that he should diversify his revenue but he ignored that advice. Things were going along just fine and until the pandemic hit he thought he had another 10-15 years of the runway until he could retire.
He is not quite back to where he was before the pandemic but he is close. He has acquired debt in the last year that was not planned. The meeting business will come back but in what form is yet to be determined.
Thom has learned to embrace the disruption.
Millions of Jobs are not Coming Back
I was struck by a recent Washington Post article, Millions of jobs probably aren’t coming back, even after the pandemic ends.
A snippet for that article is as follows:
Microsoft founder-turned-philanthropist Bill Gates raised eyebrows in November when he predicted that half of business travel and 30 percent of “days in the office” would go away forever. That forecast no longer seems far-fetched. In a report coming out later this week that was previewed to The Washington Post, the McKinsey Global Institute says that 20 percent of business travel won’t come back and about 20 percent of workers could end up working from home indefinitely. These shifts mean fewer jobs at hotels, restaurants, and downtown shops, in addition to ongoing automation of office support roles and some factory jobs.
The pandemic has forced many industries and companies to change their business practices that will have a far-reaching impact.
It is very likely that even if you are in your 50s or 60s and you want to continue to work you will need to embrace the disruption with both excitement and enthusiasm.
This will mean very likely shifting your mindset, refocusing, and retraining. You may never have a full-time job and steady paycheck again. That does not mean you cannot have a fulfilling and lucrative career.
Can you be okay with that?
I know this is not the message you want to hear but the future does not look like the past.
Are you ready to embrace the disruption?
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