Martin Evans, founder of TandemComms, is one of our Cat's Pajamas Collaborative founding members. In this blog he talks about life as a freelancer during the coronavirus pandemic and shares his tips on getting through.
It’s tough as a freelancer at the moment. So much of my work is, or rather was, face to face – crafting short video, training (a huge part of my portfolio), negotiating and more. Well boy has that now changed. It’s easier to get into a drifting along mode, with no real plan or objectives. I think with drift comes anxiety. What will my business look like? Will I even have a business? How do I provide for the home and family? How are my family and friends doing? How do I cope with this ground hog day physically and more importantly, mentally? My wife thinks I am a simple soul and indeed I don’t have the same thought patterns as her (thank god). I certainly don’t have the same vivid dreams – is that a female thing? And I don’t always dwell on the what if questions but even in my comparatively empty bonce, all these anxiety issues are churning around! So how am I coping? Why does that bother you? Well maybe you will switch off from this Evans waffle but I am writing this for 4 reasons: 1. It’s cathartic. 2. Empathy - if you feel the same way - you are not alone. 3. It might provide food for thought. 4. It might prompt shared experiences to support and learn from each other. My COVID-19 story began at the beginning of March, with a debate on whether to head off on a pre-planned and paid for visit to Kenya. I am a trustee of a charity providing educational opportunities to youngsters in Kenya. We decided to crack on but 24 hrs after landing, things changed rapidly in Kenya, which stopped us from visiting our schools and youngsters. But to cut this bit of the story short, we managed to do some charity/fun stuff and despite flight hassles, we managed to get back ok. Then almost immediately went into lockdown and isolation from my other half and her elderly mother, who is with us for the duration. My planned business activity for the next 6 months then froze – not cancelled just postponed - but with no idea when it will be resurrected. Also complicated in that I am owed a sizeable sum for a contract delivered 6 months previously (that’s now in the hands of a debt collector). So, I have had to re-think. What is my current and then future business offer? How do I keep my profile relevant? How do I promote Tandemcomms without hard selling and being a pain? This is what I am doing to keep myself engaged, entertained and hopefully relevant: • Engaging with Linkedin wider than just liking articles but more commenting on posts. • Writing thought pieces for Linkedin and as blogs for my web site. • Suggesting top tips in my speciality field and adding them to the thought pieces and more. I worried about giving all my tricks and tips away but think I am giving a taster of what I can do and longer term I hope that people/organisations will engage me. • Commenting on twitter – fun stuff as well as business, which for me is posting a short video of me playing guitar and singing a song….yep sorry about that. • Delivering webinars to local Chamber of Commerce – short 30 min pieces delivered on Zoom, which might help stimulate thought. • Understanding how to use Zoom/Microsoft Teams to deliver some of my training – I am delivering 2-hour online media training sessions at the moment which seem to work. • Developing online courses in partnership with other organisations – I have never done this, so this it is taking some thinking and again it is about offering introductions/tasters and teasers. • Networking and keeping in contact with friends, colleagues and family – all remotely. • Staying fit - planning some fizz into my day (fizzical activity not champagne) - that comes after the session. Of course I worry just like everyone but I am trying to think positive and not just sit in my pit and drift. I would be interested in what others are doing to cope in these unprecedented times.
Thank you so much to Martin for sharing your lockdown life with us! Find out more about Martin via www.tandemcomms.co.uk
We are so lucky to have Martin on board as a founding member. If you want to find out more about joining our Cat's Pajamas Collaborative click here.