Thursday, March 26, 2020

Riding the COVID-19 roller coaster ride

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The past few days were horrendous. I thought once I squared off my margins, I would have a few days of peace but the COVID-19 situation grew so bad, I was no longer allowed to conduct my class this weekend, ruining months of marketing and sales of tickets.

While these restrictions are very much needed in Singapore, I just can't let my planning all go to waste. So I had been working on turning the class into a Webinar and had to learn the use of webinar software from scratch.

The harsh truth about training programmes is that if it can be made into a webinar so easily, then it will be too easy to take the instructor's lunch because all it takes is a series of Youtube videos with the same content to get the job done. This parallels the work from home effort going on in Singapore - if you can totally work from home without missing a beat, your work can be outsourced and your employer will remember that when the economy recovers.

I will be converting my course into a two-weekend webinar, but once this is all over, students will be invited for a full-day meet-up to run through the practice sessions again with a new data-set. Hopefully, they can appreciate that they will get more than any previous batch of students.

Of course, my anxiety is not over yet. We're still not in full lockdown mode, so I can still conduct the webinar from an office location. If there is a fullscale lockdown, I may need to retreat further to conduct the webinar from home.

We are basically operating from instinct, trying to stitch different web-tools together to make learning a superior experience. As in all things IT, a little bit of lag and all hell can break loose on the day of the performance. The upside is that I can now conduct web seminars so I will expand my reach and community engagement over the next few months while COVID-19 rages in Singapore.

And just as things are about to get worse, investors received a significant amount of dividends today and this will go on until 31st March. At least the rents have not stopped arriving for this month.

Another pleasant surprise is that I may even be classified as a freelancer under the Budget announced today, so I am actually entitled to $1,000 for nine months!

I will not invest it away because the economy needs me to put it into circulation as soon as I receive it so it goes to my wife to buy groceries for my family. I have plenty of ways to pick up more investment securities.

Make no mistake. The response to the COVID-19 will hurt my training business. But whatever I experience, it will be nothing compared to the rest of the gig economy who suffer tremendously over the next few months. I'm glad for them that we've announced the Mother of all Budgets to help them for the next few months or so.

This blog will not receive a lot of updates in the meantime as I struggle with the fluid situation.

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