Written by Victor Chan
Read this if you are impacted by COVID-19. Are you not earning as much as you want? Is your company making less money than before? Or worse, is your job or company gone forever?
You’re not alone if you are in pain. Industries like tourism and retail are impacted structurally. Many job positions are unlikely to be restored anytime soon. People are struggling to survive.
Despite the difficulties, some people have found new ways to thrive. In this article, we will share three strategies for young professionals to overcome the impact of COVID-19.
These are authentic strategies which are employed by real people in Hong Hong. In fact, each person in the following stories is an outstanding young person in our city, namely:
- Paul Chan (陳智遠, CEO of Walk in Hong Kong)
- Louis Yan (甄澤權, well-known Hong Kong magician)
- Jeffrey Andrews (famous Hong Kong social worker)
So what have they learned in this unprecedented pandemic? How were they affected by the large-scale disruption? And more importantly, what have they done to overcome the challenges?
Strategy 1: Exploit New Technology
Paul Chan was the former Political Assistant to the Secretary for Food and Health. In 2013, together with 3 friends, he started the company Walk in Hong Kong to promote local tourism and culture.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has brought local tourism to a halt. Social distancing has made nearly all outdoor group activities vanish. Paul’s company was deeply affected.
“I have never seen such a challenging time for the Hong Kong tourism industry since 2013 when I first started my company,“said Paul. Travel agents have either closed down or slashed staff.
“Not knowing what will happen next can be profoundly debilitating, but the uncertainties have pushed us to look for better alternatives.“In the end, Paul found an answer: virtual tour.
Paul and his team have managed to rise to the challenge by implementing virtualisation that rivals physical tours. They did so by collaborating with different partners for online happenings.
The result was beyond expectation. Paul said that now they “could bring the elderly who are ‘locked’ inside the Old People’s Home to meet their family and explore the world through our lens!”
Innovation under COVID-19 is not limited to companies, but to self-employed professionals as well. With the help of the Internet, you could expand your audience like nothing before.
Strategy 2: Move Your Business Online
Louis Yan is the first Hong Kong magician who has ever done a show in Las Vegas, US. He was also an awardee of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons by JCIHK in 2019.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, we thought that it was just like SARS in 2003. We believed that everything will be alright soon. But sadly, it doesn’t turn out to be like that.”
Magic shows had decreased as a result, and it certainly hurted Louis’ financial wellbeing. But after a few months, he found that some fellow magicians were launching virtual shows online.
“Digitalization is now the major trend for those who want to remain relevant. The world is changing with it!“So, Louis decided to embrace the transformation while COVID-19 paused the world.
“We used the time to brainstorm new magic tricks. We’re also starting to learn online marketing!“In addition to online performances, Louis is also thinking about online magic courses.
“Thanks to COVID-19, a new normal is happening to us. We need to change our thinking and explore new paths for ourselves. Never give up. Insist on reaching your goal. You will make it!”
Change can be stressful, especially if you are not technically savvy. Therefore, it is important to look after your mental health and remain positive in the face of overwhelming challenges.
Strategy 3: Focus on What You Can Do
Jeffrey Andrews is a Hong Kong-born Indian social worker. He is one of Hong Kong’s first registered ethnic minority social workers. He is also the first ethnic minority to ever run for a Legco seat.
During the pandemic, dark-skinned ethnic minority workers are seriously impacted. It’s not just that many of them have lost their jobs. It’s something more deep-rooted: systematic racism.
In an early stage of the pandemic in Hong Kong, it was rumoured that dark-skinned ethnic minorities were more likely to spread COVID-19, which it was later proven not to be the case.
“For a very long time, we have been easy targets. We have to keep defending ourselves every single time when there is an isolated incident. It’s so exhausting and traumatic.”
So how does Jeffrey help his fellow ethnic minorities? “I remind them to maintain a positive attitude. We may not be able to control the virus outside, but we can always remain positive inside.”
Jeffrey encourages them to focus on what they can do. “For example, some of them do not speak English. I ask them to keep practicing the language so that they can land a job more easily.”
It is easy to become destitute when you have hit an all-time low in your life. This is why it is essential to help others in a difficult time like this. And this is exactly what JCI is trying to do now.
RISE: Combat COVID-19 Together
JCI has just started a new global initiative called RISE. It is an acronym for Rebuild, Invest, Sustain, Evolve. Its aim is to help the world recover from COVID-19 in these 3 areas:
- Business Recovery
- Workforce Empowerment
- Mental Health Awareness
As you may have found out, the above stories are closely related to RISE as well. It’s our aim to discover more success stories like these young people, and share their experience with others.
In the coming year, JCIHK will launch a number of projects which help the city to combat COVID-19. We will align ourselves with the RISE initiative, and bring positive changes to the city.
If you are interested in what we are doing, please follow us on our social media for the latest news. We hope to see you in our future projects. Let’s fight COVID-19 together!
There are three business strategies that you can learn from the stories of Paul, Louis and Jeffrey:
- Expand your business with new technology
- Take advantage of the e-commerce boom
- Remain positive and keep improving yourself
New opportunities are born from the ashes of uncertainties. If you choose to remain optimistic and keep fighting, you will be able to ascend to a new level which you never thought possible before.