Use Indian Jugaad to Advance your freelancing career
The Indian concept of Jugaad is exceptionally relevant to freelancing and gig economy, especially so in severe circumstances like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. All the indications are that it will lead to a massive recession or even economic depression. Freelancers anyway operate with a lot of uncertainty, and this has further added to the pressure and general anxiety and nervousness, not to speak of added competition with more people losing their job and joining the gig economy by default.
So, what is Jugaad? It is a colloquial Hindi word, which means coming up with creative solutions for your problem. Essentially, it means thinking on your feet, being resourceful and flexible, and thinking out of the box.
So, here we go:
Evolve As Per Changing Market
This is true for almost everybody but more so for freelancers. You grow only if you continuously add to your skill sets and learnings to remain relevant in the ever-changing market situation.
When I left my job about five years back, I had planned to focus only on freelancing as a journalist. But soon, I realized that I have the skillsets for producing compelling and impactful marketing content, which was more lucrative. So, I changed my plans quickly and decided to aggressively use my skills for content marketing to further my growth. It eventually led to the formation of my content agency, Deepworkz Media Services.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced freelancer, you will need to evolve and be flexible in your approach. A significant impact for me in the post-COVID-19 scenario was the loss of one of my major clients. The company changed its marketing strategy and no longer required my services extensively. It was a bummer. After some thought, I realized that several firms might adjust their marketing plan, so now I am using this time to add to my skills to be better placed to deal with these changes.
Use Adverse Market Conditions To Your Benefit
This is the key to the whole concept of Jugaad. Essentially, it means thriving in an adverse situation by using the existing resources to their maximum advantage. You need to be creative in finding solutions during unfavorable economic environment or market conditions. Essentially, it means being flexible in your approach and thinking on your feet. Even though I am based in India, I provided PR services to a client in Africa. It still amazes me that I was able to deliver for more than a year, even when I have never set foot on the continent. I was clearly out of my comfort zone (geographically!!), but I managed to find a workable solution.
So, think of all the possible ways before you say no to an opportunity. A vague acquaintance might be in a position to help you; use LinkedIn to get an introduction to the right person, or you can collaborate with other freelancers to deliver a big project which seems out of your league right now. The point is to think of all options and believe you me, what sometimes looks highly unlikely in theory might help you deliver.
Go For Low Hanging Fruits
The whole idea behind Jugaad is how to maximize the available opportunities. In a tough economy, it means to go for low hanging fruits, so give yourself some easy wins to gain confidence and also momentum.
Can you refurbish your blog content to publish an e-book on Amazon to create a passive income stream? Or why not ask for a referral from a client who loves your work? Or better still, contact the clients you are no longer in touch with and ask them if they need your services?
If you think hard, there are always publications/ businesses that are easier to break in to. Go for them initially before you up your game.
Practice Business Frugality
Being Jugaado (person who practices Jugaad) means being highly resourceful. For us, that translates to using minimum resources to deliver maximum value. Try to add to the value you are offering to clients without bringing down your rates. For instance, offer to write social media posts in addition to the article, and so on. During tough times you need to increase your margins and profitability. Think of ways and means in which you can bring down your expenses. May
In the end, using Jugaad calls for a certain level of bravery not just in your thought process but also in execution. You cannot really go for your creative solution until you completely believe in it.
It is also important to remember that there is nothing wrong with just surviving during adverse circumstances and market conditions. Don’t beat yourself up if your growth plans do not work out in these unprecedented times.
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