Using Garden Leave Wisely

using garden leave wisely. A picture of flowers in a garden

Strikes me that furlough schemes and Covid 19 grants are a lot like Garden Leave. Both offer paid time off that should be used wisely. When I was laid off a couple of years into the 2008 recession I was given 3 months garden leave on full salary. Sounds lovely doesn’t it? Sitting in the garden for 3 months worrying yourself sick about how you’re going to pay the mortgage! I then got my redundancy settlement.

Garden leave is common practice in the corporate world. They want to keep you away from the competition for a bit. They often have a contractual clause you never looked at that threatens dire consequences if you return to the industry within 6 or 12 months. This is practically unenforceable in reality. Point is, like many people in 2020/21 I had a big chunk of time where I was still earning money. I think I used it wisely and would urge anyone in the same boat now to do the same. Go digital!

Of course the first instinct is to try and replace the lost job with something similar. That didn’t work out for me since everyone in my old industry was in the same boat – as they are now. So I started looking at a complete change in direction. Because I’d been laid off I was able to access some discounted training courses. I qualified to teach English as a foreign language. Not something I particularly wanted to do but a good card to have in the back pocket I thought.

I’d also been tinkering around with a couple of online things that were bringing in a little income. I knew those were probably not sustainable long term. All the same, the whole idea of making a full time income online was beginning to look very attractive. 

Prepare To Go Digital

As an experienced business development manager I was used to finding new business the hard way: Cold calling, pitching and endless meetings. I was also used to the geographic restrictions of traditional business. Doing business on the Internet involved none of that. Obviously you still have to find customers but you can automate that process. Face to face or phone to phone contact is replaced by video, blogging, advertising and social media. There are no geographic restraints – the connected world is your potential customer base.

As with everything these days there is an avalanche of information about making money online, internet marketing and online business models. There’s a correspondingly vast number of courses, products and “opportunities” to try and choose from. As I mentioned earlier I dipped my toe in those murky waters. It wasn’t bitten off but was determined to find something more sustainable.

Lessons From The American Goldrush

garden leave. Image of a derelict gold mine town in the wild west. Represents the gold rush

I realised that building a reliable income online is not about finding a golden nugget product to sell. Its more about learning how to do the selling – more accurately marketing – on the internet. When you can do that you can sell anything. During the American goldrush more fortunes were made by selling gold mining tools and equipment than with gold nuggets. Internet marketing skills are the tools and equipment in the digital gold rush were are in now. 

So as I had done with the TEFL course, I went looking for some professional training on internet marketing. At 47 I didn’t want to become a mature University or collge student. Even if that was a viable route I had financial commitments and had to replace a good income. 

Through the grapevine I heard about an organisation that seemed to be offering what I was looking for. Practical, no nonsense training with an emphasis on making money. They also offered very lucrative business partnerships to boot. I signed up for their free video series and was introduced to a new direction which I have been following for nearly 7 years. It has taken me from despair to peace of mind. From the city to the coast and to more financial and time freedom than I’d ever thought possible.

Lockdown – The New Garden Leave

If you are on Covid19’s version of garden leave right now and looking for a very worthwhile way to fill your time I suggest you do the same. The link is at the bottom the post.

You know its amazing how far the internet has progressed even since I turned to it for my living 7 years ago. Back then not many people in the UK were online entrepreneurs although it was commonplace in the US. Now there are thousands of us. 

In March 2020 the Internet suddenly became our high street (it was already starting to be that anyway Covid just sped things up) It also  introduced millions to the advantages of working from home and kept us in touch with friends and family. While the old economy has been pretty much shut down and will take years to recover (again) the digital economy has burgeoned (again) Be smart now while you have an unprecedented chunk of time and learn how and why you should go digital.