The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns which we thought would last for a month, at most, have now persisted for over a year. If there was ever the best time to adjust and pandemic-proof our lives and livelihoods, it was a year ago. The second best time is now.
Apart from leaving a huge impact on the way we live our daily lives, the pandemic has left many of us under a sustained financial strain, with many businesses scaling down to keep their noses above water. But if you ever want to go back to the way things were before the pandemic hit, you have to start thinking about what you could do to regain your financial freedom.
Just like a year ago, we have no idea when and how all of this will come to an end, so the best strategy would be to future-proof your financial coffers by increasing your income streams. One way you can do this is by entering year two of the pandemic with a new side gig.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can get started with that:
- Choose a lucrative trade
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed once-and-for-all, which services are considered essential and which ones can be tossed aside the moment people start tightening up with their spending. What you want to do is learn an essential trade, especially if your goal is to future-proof your career.
Some top prospects you might want to consider include plumbing, heating, or electrical services. Those are examples of trades that people will always need and prioritize, no matter the state of the economy or their personal finances.
- Put in the hours learning the business
There are no shortcuts to being a professional in your chosen trade. Providing a service that people will pay for always requires a sizable investment, and not just in the financial sense. There are courses you can enroll in, both online and offline, to be a trained professional in whatever profession or trade you may want to start as a side gig.
There will be sacrifices along the way, especially if you also intend to keep your day job, but the added financial security of having a second income source should make it all worth it.
Do your research and find out how many hours of training or education you need to be able to get a license or certification in your chosen trade.
- Get licensed/certified
After putting in the hours in being a trained professional, the next step is to obtain your license. Whether you ultimately decide to become an electrician, a plumber, or a heating professional, getting licensed is imperative before you can start taking on clients.
Depending on the state where you want to practice, you might be required to take both an industry-specific trade exam and a business & law exam before you can even start practicing. To ace these exams, there are a lot of prep courses that you can take. Consider such courses part of your education and take everything you can from it, so that you will be able to build a trustworthy practice characterized by high-quality services.
- Hone your business skills
The actual skills you learned that are connected with your trade or practice are not the only skills you will need moving forward. Since being a tradesman or a journeyman is basically running your own one-man corporation, you need to acquire other business skills to be successful. These skills include, but are not limited to, communication skills, leadership, negotiation, networking, and project management. Both technical and soft skills will help you run a smooth operation and a good working relationship with your future clients.
- Collect experience by offering services to family/friends
Speaking of clients, you might find it difficult to land your first few clients since you are still inexperienced. The best strategy, while you’re starting out, is to go through your contacts list, and offer your services to people who already trust you. Once you’re done fixing their plumbing or electrical issues, ask them to kindly leave a good review on your business page, and maybe even a referral to other members of their personal and professional network.
Once you have enough experience to boost your track record, you can then scale-up your marketing efforts and sell your services to just about anyone.
Good things take time, and fortunately, time is on our side right now heading into another pandemic year. There is no better time than now to pick up a new skill that you can leverage as another income-generating venture as we navigate this ‘new normal.’