This article, "Preparing To Pivot: Build Your Skills Arsenal Now For 2023 Layoffs," was authored by eXp Commercial President James Huang and originally appeared in Forbes Business Council on October 27, 2022.
With predicted layoffs on the horizon in 2023, are you prepared to pivot if your job lands on the chopping block? You can take steps now to make sure you’re ready if you find yourself on the wrong end of a pink slip, so you can turn what seems like a professional crisis into an opportunity to grow.
Start Building The Axis You’ll Pivot On Now
When change is on the horizon, the ability to pivot gives you options when other people only see closed doors. The time to build your axis to pivot around is now, before you need it, so you can move quickly and seamlessly into a new job, position, entrepreneurship or a new industry if necessary.
I know this from personal experience. Back in 2009, I lost my business in the real estate crash. It was the lowest point in my life, but I recovered and built three companies during that time that are still in operation today. So I’ve been there before: where suddenly my life, business and entire industry changed practically overnight, and I had to pivot quickly to survive. If I had to do it all over again, this is what I would have done pre-crash to protect myself from a jolting job loss.
Build A Side Hustle
When my business crashed, I hustled to find ways to bring in revenue fast. I used my forced “free time” to consult, and I even bartered my now-empty office space to entrepreneurs for services I needed.
You’ve heard of the importance of developing multiple streams of income. This is why. You never know when one stream is going to dry up, but you’ve got to keep the water flowing to keep food on your family’s table. Develop your skill sets, talents and hobbies into things that can bring in revenue now. Even if you don’t end up laid off, a side hustle can turn into a successful entrepreneurial venture and free you from the corporate grind.
Polish Up Your LinkedIn
Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date and continuously add more value in the forms of connections, certifications, volunteer experience, etc. You’d be amazed at the opportunities that will find you via LinkedIn. I still get job offers from my LinkedIn connections, and though I’m very happy with what I’m doing professionally, it’s always good to feel wanted.
Develop The Entrepreneurial Skill Set
Successful small businesses are often built during economic downturns. If you find yourself unemployed, it may give you the accidental drive, time and motivation to strike out on your own.
Find a mentor, read copious books on entrepreneurship and develop the operational and leadership skills you’ll need to build your own business. Some of these skills include learning how to research the market, write a business plan, identify your narrative, calculate costs and more. The better prepared you are to start your own business, the more likely you are to take a leap that can change your life.
Build Your Network
There’s no greater asset during a downturn than the people you know. With every person in your network, you gain access to knowledge, wisdom, support, advice and invaluable connections that can turn into opportunities. Keep networking enough, and eventually, you’ll hit the radar of someone who can open doors for you.
I’ve found that volunteering and taking on leadership positions in philanthropic organizations is a powerful way to build not only connections but the necessary leadership and organizational skills to succeed as an entrepreneur. Plus, having all those organizations’ names on your resume builds prestige.
Scout Out Technology That Can Help
The lucky thing about living in today’s world is technology can help you do almost anything. From starting your own consulting firm to offering courses online, building a social media following, developing a product or building a brick-and-mortar business, there is technology out there that can help.
From Uber and Lyft to Etsy and Udemy, there are so many ways to make a living via technology. Plus, with the internet, you’re not tied to a location anymore, either. You can live in an area with a lower cost of living and work anywhere in the world.
The Secret Sauce
Lots of people have ideas, but the secret sauce is having the guts to pull the trigger. How many times have you said to yourself, “I wish I would have done that 10 years ago?” Entrepreneurs joke about being an overnight success when they spent years honing their skills, building their networks and expanding their knowledge. Your journey starts now. Begin taking action today to build your skill set, network and knowledge, and you’ll be ready for whatever the future brings.