How Do You Stay Relevant In Changing Times?

ByAzleen Abdul Rahim

I have a number of friends who are really good at what they do. Most of them are within my age group—Gen X. Half of them are towards the end of their professional careers while the rest are running their own businesses. Almost all of them were doing tremendously well, living large with nice cars and comfortable houses. They are well certified, have more than enough knowledge, and have long years of experience. With this sort of background, they were flying high. This was about 4 years ago.

Then, things started to change. Not suddenly but over a period of time. The professional ones started to feel left out of serious discussions in the company. They felt as if their thoughts were no longer required. While my entrepreneur friends on this side shared with me that the business is gradually heading south, as the customers are getting lesser and lesser. Both groups do not know how to get out of the situation at that time when they shared with me their concerns.

In 2020, the world was hit by COVID-19. Everything stops. The entrepreneur friends were getting desperate. It was the early-stage desperation as the business was completely paused. They still have some leftover money to sustain themselves and their family. One year after that, the desperation began to kick in harder. Their savings are drying faster than they originally thought. Their businesses weren’t developed to work digitally. Everything has to be done physically.

Mid-2022, the world started to open up. Gradually everyone was allowed to come back to do their daily routines—with several changes. Thanks to the standard operating procedures being introduced by the government. My corporate friends, despite the pandemic, still doing okay. Their saviour, the ongoing salary they’re getting month-in-month-out. thanks to their salary. But my entrepreneur friends weren’t doing good. Their savings account was either completely wiped out. I know some of them raised white flags, asking for help.

Starting from the second half of 2022, I personally feel the world moving faster to a new reality. It is far different than during the pandemic and pre-pandemic. Yet, my entrepreneur friends are finding it hard to firm up their footing. Even though they are now back doing the business they were doing before, they find it very difficult to stay relevant.

Why? To them, the world is moving too fast. And they somehow couldn’t keep up with the new realities. I think they are still in the realm of the older realities which are no longer relevant in today’s world—and in the future.

I recalled reading Sundar Pichai’s statement when the press was asking him to comment about the recent retrenchment happening at Google. The search engine giant decided to lay off approximately 12,000 employees last January. He said Google hired them for the previous reality they used to have. Moving forward, that reality changed. The company is adapting to a new reality now. This means those employees’ values were no longer needed for Google to move forward. The latter today requires a new set of skillset altogether to march forward.

I am an entrepreneur myself. I am a human too, just like my buddies I was talking about. So far, on my side, things aren’t really as flowery as I wanted but I am surviving well. Maybe slightly better than average. What did I do?

Be in the know

This is really important. Always be reading, always be listening. Always be observing. Always be in the know what are those in between the lines. From these habits, learn to understand the lesson you can extract from those materials. Perhaps some of those learnings, you might be able to use for your business. From these habits too, you will be able to “see” what’s coming.

Passive income

Always think of a way to generate passive income for your business. Or for yourself. Find ways or read more to find out how best to create streams of passive income from your company which will help you with the monthly commitments back home. There are always e-books or whitepapers somewhere that you can use as a guide. This is one of them. With the power of passive income streams, your business might have a better chance of surviving another long pandemic period.

Long-term bolder projects

To me, these are the things that kept me going.

Long-term projects here, I am referring to digital assets I am continuously building with the intention to sell them for a lot of money. Building this sort of asset takes focus and a lot of upfront commitments especially effort and finances, from my end. That is why I need to take care of the passive income streams first to ensure that everything is going to be okay back home.

What is a digital asset? Basically, it is a website, mobile app, software or anything of similar nature. This is what I do in my spare time, and I do it seriously.

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