Anxiety seeped through their voices.
I heard devastating stories while speaking with many fellow entrepreneurs this past week. Some are left in precarious positions requiring a big dip into their personal savings to keep their employees paid and business afloat…
Although a cash call to self-finance your business is never easy, it’s deemed a part of entrepreneurship. However, getting a cash call for nearly all your savings while having the uncertainty of not knowing when industry will be back up and running is another thing entirely. It’s the fear of the unknown that can really sink entrepreneurs and crush confidence (read my article Predictable is Impossible for Entrepreneurs).
Fearing the unknown can strike an entrepreneur with mind-numbing anxiety.
Covid-19 and its collateral damage from mass self-quarantining and the shutting down of industries have taken a vicious toll on the economy, across the board. Entrepreneurs are in uncharted territory, specifically those with businesses in the service sector (i.e., restaurants, fitness, finance, wellness, travel). And the credit markets are starting to seize up while consumers dramatically slow spending. However, we’ve been in a bind or two before…
The economy has been extra volatile (historically speaking) for the past twenty years, with numerous economic downturns and bear markets during that time. Sure, Covid-19 may create the worst market downturn this century, but we’ve seen some shit in our day. Don’t ignore or forget what you’ve gone through. It can be of help today.
In a time like this, I encourage entrepreneurs to think back to when they first started their business. Remember when you had friends and family tell you that you were crazy to launch a startup? Remember not being able to sleep the night before your big product launch or grand opening? You were so nervous because it was a rubber hits the road moment — the proverbial ‘make or break.’
Remember those months of working for no pay, all in the hope it would be worth it once your business ‘makes it’? How about the cold calls, emails, or sales campaigns that were largely ignored by prospective customers in the early days?
Heck, if you’re like me, you may remember the 2008 financial crisis and how it nearly sunk your business and personal finances.
Just to get to the position you’re in today required a unique ability to adjust, pivot, and turn at full speed. It also needed toughness, innovation, and grit. You’re willing to take risks and put yourself second to those who’ve supported you. That says something about who you are. And you’ve demonstrated pragmatism because your feet are firmly planted on the ground of reality.
You’ve been in the trenches before — battle-tested. Heck, you may live in trenches, depending on what industry you operate in.
These traits and experiences as an entrepreneur are what will get you through the current economic meltdown. So, prepare for the worst-case scenario (6-8 months of economic shutdown), while planning for a near-term recovery (8-10 weeks and things are back to ‘normal’). This is required right now. Successfully managing this downtrend will be a proud moment you look back on in twenty years…
Some aspiring, young entrepreneur in the future is going to ask how you managed the Covid-19 Crisis. You’re going to have an inspiring answer for her.
There is also opportunity in all of the Covid-19 chaos…
Focus on self-development and improving the relationships that matter most. We entrepreneurs tend to work long hours and often lack balance in our lives. Our family pays the price for that.
I’m now ‘forced’ to be with my family. While I’m still thinking and planning, I’m cherishing this time. Outside of family vacations, I can’t remember the last time I spent so much time, day in and day out, with my wife and kids. The tribe is united, and I’m learning new things about each one of them.
I’m also reading more, learning about all sorts of things, the likes of which include: the history of pandemics, theology, the new economy that may emerge after Covid-19, meditation, how social habits have changed from generation to generation, and work-related stuff. It’s been great in that regard.
I’m also focused on one task at a time while I’m working — the definition of being present. Typically, I’m a multi-tasker that breaks his day into 30-minute increments. After seeing the quality of my work during this Covid-19 crisis (it’s more thoughtful and artistic, you could say), I’m reconsidering this whole multi-tasking/30 minute increment scheduling… it probably isn’t ideal for me.
Focusing on one thing, for extended periods, is likely a key to mastery. Thanks to Covid-19, I have been reminded of this.
Loss, to some degree, is inevitable in a crisis like this. But opportunity is also at your front door. You are in a unique situation and likely have a substantial and consistent amount of extra time on your hands for the next eight weeks or so…
Once the smoke clears, and everyone is back at it, moving around and going to restaurants, we’ll all quickly get to work again. Your current task at hand is making sure you set yourself up to survive the economic freeze (likely going to last a few months) while never letting a crisis pass you by. By that, I mean you have an opportunity right now to improve a weakness, foster the most important relationships, and gain a boatload of new knowledge.
Do not let anxiety slow your personal growth down. This too shall pass.
PS – I’m an entrepreneur and angel investor with some stories to tell. Subscribe to my newsletter below. Only my best content will land in your inbox.