The 5 Big Changes I’m Making To Survive the 2020 Pandemic Business Environment.
2020 has been a year for change, there’s no doubt about that. Coming into the new year I was flying high. I owned several successful businesses, I was about to have my best year yet financially, and then BOOM. Everything shut down. Of the six businesses I had open and operating, only one hasn’t been temporaily shut down at all this year. As we reach the tail end of the year, It’s looking like only three will survive. So far two have been shut down forever, and one that was headed for permanent closure, we managed to sell for pennies on the dollar. Of the three remaining, two are open and operating, but the other remains closed for now. Hopefully it will be reopening soon.
So what do you do when you’ve spent 5 years building this little portfolio, and for reasons beyond your control, it’s all torn away over the space of a few months? You figure that shit out.
In the Coronaconomy, it’s the small business owners that have been repeatedly kicked in the teeth. Many of my employees have made more money with the stimulus and unemployment, so they’ve been doing fine. Landlords haven’t given any breaks because they are all leveraged to the hilt, and the banks aren’t cutting them any slack either. Even though my sales are greatly diminished or even nonexistent, I still have to pay rent each month. When you’re up against the wall, you gotta make moves.
I’d love to say that I’ve come up with some genius plan to keep my businesses afloat, but the reality is that I’ve had to focus on a much more micro scale, and make sure I have been able to keep my family fed and with a roof over our heads.
Change One — Learn to ask for help
The very first thing I did when I knew we had reached a critical stage was let go of my ego and ask for help. I don’t mean asking for charity or start a gofundme or anything like that. I posted on all my social media outlets that I was looking for work because my businesses had been decimated by the pandemic, and I listed out all the skills I had acquired over the years. The response was incredible. Mind you, I’m not a very outgoing person, I’ve done a pretty terrible job maintaining relationships over the years, and I don’t have a big network. However, I do have friends who are good at all those things, and they were able to share what I had posted, and because of that I got a bunch of interviews, several offers and took a part time gig that has kept us afloat for these past few months. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, you don’t know what might come your way when people know you’re looking.
Change Two — Build better relationships
The success I had with asking for help with my limited network reminded me how important this really is. I have never been great at this. Especially when I was younger I struggled a lot with social anxiety and insecurity. It was weird because I wasn’t necessarily depressed or even lacking self-esteem, I just would get really nervous about talking to people and figured that they didn’t want to hear from me anyway. I don’t know why I felt like that, and I probably should have gone to talk to someone about it, but luckily I’ve pretty much grown out of it, or have at least had enough positive experiences at this point to show me that it was all in my head. So I’ve made it a point to start connecting with people. I try to grab lunch with someone once a week and I regularly reach out to talk to people about stuff I’m working on. Again, it’s amazing the response you get. Especially today, we all need that human connection more than ever, and it’s been awesome reconnecting with old friends, and I know that will eventually lead to a lot of new connections. Wealth is found in multiple forms in the company you keep and value of your network.
Change Three — Sharing what I’m Working On
This one is a work in progress, but I’m getting better. This blog is the latest version of it. I started this blog a while ago, made a post, and then deleted it about a day later. It has sat dormant since. However, a little over a week ago I made the commitment to start publishing something everyday. So far that has been in the form of a daily podcast — check out Marauder Mindset Daily when you get a chance, it’s on Apple, Spotify and a bunch of others — but I recently doubled down add writing to the daily to-do list. I won’t necessarily publish here every day, but I’ll be writing consistently. The podcast is more a personal dialogue, whereas I want to bring more quality content here, but I digress… I have started sharing these pubic-facing outlets slowly with some close friends, and will continue to do so, but more importantly I’m talking to people about this bigger project I’m working on with PrivateerHQ. How many ideas over the years have I just dwelt on but never moved forward? Too many to count. Largely that’s because I never talked to anyone. Talking to people about my projects has had two major impacts. One, I get invaluable feedback that helps me gain a lot of clarity on how to accomplish what I’m after, and I get new ideas. I can’t think of everything alone, and the suggestions that I get have caused major shifts in the direction I’ve been taking these things.
Change Four — Setting really specific objectives on specific timelines
You can call it goal setting, but the word goal to me has the connotation of these big, lofty ideas that we hope to accomplish one day. For instance, I want to make 1.2 Million in a single year. Okay, great goal. How am I going to do it? When am I going to do it by? What are the milestones I need to hit to be on track? What do I need to do each month to hit those milestones? How about each week? Each day? Each hour? That might sound overly granular, but I assure you that it’s not. Unless you’ve gotten really clear on what you need to be doing at least on a daily basis, it becomes largely up to luck if you succeed with the goal you’ve set. You’ve heard the cliché that a big journey begins with a single step, but it also requires a second step, and a third, and a fourth, etc. etc. If you don’t know what those steps are you’re not going to magically make it from step 1 to 1000 by skipping all the steps in between.
Change Five — Working on all aspects of my life
I have let a lot of things slide over the years. My physical health, my relationship with my wife, my finances. All things I figured I’d get around to one day once I got the money side figured out. Well, I think I probably had the money side figured out there for a minute, but I didn’t really get to those other things, in fact, I let them slip more. So now I’m becoming more deliberate with my diet & exercise, spending quality time with my wife an kids, and getting my shit show of a budget together. I’m making good progress on all fronts, and by bringing these other things into balance in my life, the business side is only improving as well.
2020 will be over before we know it. Who knows what 2021 is going to bring. Hopefully COVID-19 will be under control. We’ll have some clarity for the next four years of leadership for this country. Hopefully we’ll begin to return to a sense of normalcy, whatever the new normal might be. Regardless, I’ll have come out of this older, better, faster & stronger.