This is a sequel to my last article titled, Times have changed! You need to Reinvent and Equip Yourself. Did you miss it? Read it here. Now it’s time to be a little more practical about the reinvention I talked about. There are several ways to reinvent but for now, I will only be talking about translating a skill set to services.
Translating a skill set to services is one of the simplest ways to reinvent yourself. It certainly isn’t the only way but it will be easier than having to acquire a completely different skill set to enter another industry and start walking the ropes all over. This is going to save you time and can get you results faster, except in situations where an industry is dying completely. This is something that a lot of us can do without breaking a sweat. For some, you will only have to use the same skill set in a different way. You wouldn’t need to change much. It will just be about how you now present the skill set for commercial value.
During the lockdown in 2020, I began talking to one of my former account officers in a Nigerian bank only to find out he no longer had his job. I couldn’t probe further about what happened so I said I was going to speak to another person. He told me that person too no longer works with the bank. “Wow!” That was my initial response.
At this point, he was looking for another job but I shared a practical suggestion with him. This suggestion may not be applicable in your field but it certainly has a principle in it that can work across all fields. I went to the banking hall where this person worked a couple of times before losing his job. I also noticed that one of the things people did a lot in that hall was the payment of taxes. The tax office was just next door or a few blocks away so people would come into the banking hall a lot to pay their due taxes on a monthly basis.
When this accountant told me he was looking for another job, I simply reminded him of how people used to walk into the banking hall where he worked to pay taxes. Now there are many small businesses out there who do not understand how to compute their taxes but they’re willing to pay taxes. I also know a few other people who live on helping businesses to prepare their tax records and remit. I suggested he approach a number of small businesses with the proposition to help them prepare their taxes, remit the same and charge a fee on each business.
Now, you need to remember that taxes are to be paid monthly and his fees will be charged monthly. If he is able to start with 10 small businesses that need help with remitting taxes, that would mean he has 10 people paying him on a monthly basis. Over a few months, he will be able to add more clients and make more money. Why is this going to work? It is going to work because there are several business owners who are looking for someone to take away all the tax issues from their necks. These tax payments also have deadlines on a monthly basis and that’s not the focus of the entrepreneur. Because this is important, it is a must for businesses who can’t employ an account yet to get someone who can sort this for them. If you’re reading this and you’re an accountant, you may want to try this out. You will also be shocked that there are established businesses with in-house accountants who are still too busy to take care of monthly filing and they need someone to handle that on a monthly basis. You may want to try this.
What’s the principle in this suggestion? You may not be an accountant but you may have provided a service or skill to one organization that paid you salary until you were asked to leave. It may be time to consider rendering services to people in small groups or units in different parts of the cities. The same skill you were using to serve only one organization can now be used to serve several people.
If you were an HR practitioner who lost a job, you can also identify several businesses that do not have a proper HR structure. You can help with documentation, templates, employment contracts, benefits, and compensation plans. You can also help with recruitments. With this idea, you gradually transit from being an employee to a consultant. It is the same thing you used to do that you’re still doing but at a different scale which will even fetch you more money.
For you to know that this principle works across sectors or cadres, you can take a look at the disruption that ride-hailing apps brought to the country and how drivers who could switch over remained relevant. Being able to speak English – not necessarily at Queen’s level – and being able to use a simple map on a smartphone made the difference for these drivers compared to the regular taxi drivers. Reinvention may require adding a little more skill to what you have and presenting it as something that looks different when it is, in fact, not different.
I should quickly add that many of you do not have to wait to lose your job before you start trying things like this out, especially if you’re working from home.
What were you doing for a company as an employee that you can simply convert to service for several other people? Your answer shows you what to reinvent and the list of people you can render that service to shows where the execution of your reinvention begins. This will certainly require some work but if you’re willing to make it work, you are definitely entitled to some results. Get to work and start reinventing now.
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