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Crisis

Sunday, March 22, 2020

I started my company right when the last big economic crisis started. In 2008 my first and only big client froze all marketing budgets and I was out of work for a bit. Back then I was still on my student loan and that helped me get through it quite easily. While I'm still paying off that debt, another crisis is hitting us.

It’s scary

I have just bought my home and have started to tear it down, paying my mortgage AND paying rent. I have not done paid work for a few months now, because I spent it to properly plan, arrange the acquisition of my house and now I have started demolishing the house. Which is a cost saver, but it’s harder than I planned, now I have less people available to help me out with it.

The whole planning of a full renovation is quite a project, especially on your own. I’m trying to do it right, but costs easily become way higher than planned, as I discovered a few days ago. So I’m working on a plan B, and C (yes, for Corona 😷).

I have gone through a substantial part of my reserves and now I was supposed to start working again, this project has been delayed. It is even unclear now if my envisioned role will still be valid if it starts. I really would like to get back to work. Build some websites, generate some income, pay the rent & mortgage.

Then there is the social impact of the COVID-19 virus. I am worried about my family, my friends and their families. And I am worries how my fellow citizens are (not) understanding and/or following our government’s guidance. Do we really need the army to come to the streets and tell us how to be smart about his?

It can be quite scary.

Just another crisis

Back in 2008 I really was in trouble, but thankfully I had the option of a proper student loan and my family helped me out of a few bad spots. I also learned how to handle not having any money. Which was very valuable and it’s one of the reasons I have created a lot more security for myself.

It is different today, but it is just another crisis. Yes, it already hurts and a lot of people are losing income or even their jobs and companies. But with the help of our amazing scientists, health care professionals and way more other people, we will get a grip on this virus and together we will recover and come out with many new ideas and solutions. We will learn from our mistakes and will be better prepared next time a global crisis like this happens.

Bram with a face mask in his dusty home

Today I have my financial reserves, the government promises us freelancers it’s there for us. If I really get sick for a longer period, I have a social insurance fund (a ‘Broodfonds’) I am a part of which will support me then. Working remote comes easy to me, I’ve been a fan of it for years already and I think I know what works and what does not. And of course, it’s easy for a web developer, because it’s all digital.

I’m still super lucky to have a great budget for the renovation of my house. And I can always try to talk to my bank about some extra options. I’ve heard that like the government, most banks are trying to help out on keeping us going.

What I can do

It is a time to be real about the threats, but to not get scared or worse: panic. I will focus on what I can do, even the things that might hurt.

  • I will keep starting my days with yoga & meditation.
  • I will keep on building my own home. However hard the work might get, if a lock-down will come into order…
  • I am cutting costs. For example by cancelling all subscriptions that are not necessary to me right now. And no, Netflix is not a necessity.. I am even considering moving out my current temporary apartment to cut costs.
  • I am lowering my expectations in looking for paid work.
  • And I am looking into potential governmental support, just in case I get into trouble down the line.

What we can do

Let us all focus on what we can do. If we do go out, let’s keep our distance from each other and let’s follow the hygiene guidelines.

Let us all be mindful, test our patience and curb our urges to go outside. One of my rocks in keeping tabs on myself is a daily meditation I do on the Waking Up app. On the bottom of this post you’ll find a link, giving you a free month of full access to the app.

Let us meet online, there are so many solutions that can keep us from getting lonely and bored. Video calling is possible on every messenger application these days and creative solutions building on video calling are popping up all over the place. I for one am looking forward to my first remote party.

Let us not panic and get dragged into the world of spectacular headlines and scary numbers. Now is the time to read a book like Hans Rosling’s little book ‘Factfulness’. It helped me to look through those pumped up headlines, biased graphs and a spectacular focus on the negative.

Let us stay healthy. let’s keep tabs on our government and make sure the weakest in health and economics are getting the help we all deserve. Because let’s be clear: I am still counting myself lucky with my background, my work and all I have!

How can I help?

Let me know if I can help you from my home. I am great at building websites, designing them. And I have a talent for connecting dots and people. Let me know if I can put those talents to work for you!

Virtual hugs & 1,5m away air kisses from Bramsterdam 😘