What Entrepreneurs Find Most Challenging About Pandemics


So you’re in a pandemic. What now?

How do you restructure your business model during a pandemic?

How do you talk to your employees, JV partners and colleagues?

How do you stay successful when the economy has closed up shop?

How do you stay productive?

How productive should you stay?

These are the questions we’re going to tackle this month.

Welcome to…Pandemic Productivity Month!

Over the next million weeks we’re going to cover a lot of ground, including

  • how to weather a crisis and stay in business
  • how to fire your employees and JV partners correctly
  • how to show up to work in your underwear and get away with it
  • and even how to refocus and see this pandemic as a moment of opportunity rather than a time to panic

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But First…Let It Go!

The first thing I’m going to say about Pandemic Productivity Month is…

Stop. Being. Productive.


The last several weeks and months for everyone around the world has been lifechanging and world-shattering. We are in an unprecedented earth-event. Yes the world has experienced pandemics before.

But most of us alive now weren’t around for the last great pandemic in 1918. And the swine flu, SARS and MERS epidemics were blips compared to what we are facing now.

Life as we knew it has ended. Will it return?


Will it all be the same as it was before?


How are you doing with that information?

I guarantee you, you are in shock.

You may be responding in one of two ways right now:

If you are still operating under the pretense that you’re an energizer bunny and you’re going to keep going no matter what, prepare to run into a brick wall very soon. This is called denial.

If you’ve switched gears and are franticly trying to apply for loans, debt relief, payroll guarantees, mortgage forbearance, etc. you are out of the denial phase. Congratulations. Welcome to sheer terror and disorientation.

Both of these responses are fine and expected. But they are not sustainable and won’t last. Why?

Because you’re running on a cortisol-injected massive reaction to incredible loss.

Give yourself a break if this is how you’re responding right now. And know that when the dust settles there’s another way to respond that’s a little nicer to your nervous system…and probably your family.

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Learning to Breathe…Again

Entrepreneurs are problem-solvers. But this problem is out of your hands. And feeling helpless and out-of-control is…exactly how you are supposed to feel.


Because the quicker you can move through those feelings of helplessness the more clear-headed you’ll be for what comes next.

And what comes next?

You don’t know. No one knows.

We need time to transition, recalibrate and understand this new world. But we don’t even know what this new world looks like yet. We haven’t yet finished freefalling from where we were to where we will end up.

That is terrifying.

So my advice to you is…start to breathe.

WTF does that mean?

This may sound foreign to you but the best way to get over a shock to your system is, not to calm down. Because, quite frankly, you don’t know you’re jacked up. That’s why yelling at someone to calm down never works.

Cortisol is like cocaine. You don’t really notice that you’re high until you’re coming down. You just think you’re Batman.

But you don’t need to figure that out right now. You just need to start to notice your breath in order to begin to come down from your cortisol overload.

So, how do you do that?

By doing things that remind you you have a body:

  • Breathing
  • Walking
  • Moving
  • Meditating
  • Laughing

One of the best tools humans have for dealing with stress, trauma and shock is exercise and breathing.

So while you’re making a million phone calls today, applying for unemployment or a small business loan, etc. make sure you take some time before, during and after your day to breathe, move, walk, laugh.

If you have a meditation practice now is not the time to neglect it. This is the moment your meditation practice was gearing you up for.

If you’re an avid runner, don’t stop running. Ditto for any kind of workout routine.

And if you like breathing, stop breathing shallowly. Start breathing deeply. Start becoming aware of your breathing habits throughout your day. And when you notice yourself breathing shallowly, stop what you’re doing and start deep breathing. Set an alarm to remind yourself to breathe deeply.

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t use any of these tools…start.

Start being aware of your breath. Start moving your body. Start a meditation practice (there’s tons of tutorials on YouTube). Start a workout routine (YouTube).

This may sound like irrelevant advice while your world is burning but it’s not. These are the fundamentals of problem-solving.

Becoming aware of your breath, meditating, working out, going for long walks are all perfect responses to an overload of stress and shock. And these responses will help you navigate calmly the rough waters ahead.

We Are In A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Although this pandemic seems like it came on fast with little to no warning, the effects of it will last a very long time. Maybe generations. This pandemic has changed life as we knew it…forever.

That is almost too much to absorb right now because we are still in the free fall. We haven’t even landed yet. This is a marathon. It’s not a quick detour and then back to business as usual.

So our responses need to reflect that. We need to have measured responses that look at the long term rather than the next quarter.

I’m going to pull back the veil here right now.

As I write these words, I too am in shock. As I look at the world around me, my family, my colleagues, my vendors, I’m truly realizing the scale with which this pandemic is exploding the fabric of all we know. It is a shock to my system.

I don’t think I’ve personally fully realized the extent to which life has changed. But it has. And we have to come to terms with it. But we won’t come to terms with it today, or even tomorrow. We won’t even come to terms with it by next week or next month.

This is a slow unraveling that will show its true extent in the months and year to come. And for that, we must be ready to receive that full shock to our system.

So breathe. And move. And rest. And walk. And laugh. And meditate.

Apply for your small business loan…and breathe.

Apply for unemployment…and breathe.

While you’re on hold with your mortgage company…breathe.

Before you log on to your next Zoom meeting to let go of your last employee…breathe. And cry if you need to cry.

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You Can Go Your Own Way

The biggest advantage you have right now is that nobody knows what the fuck to do (excuse my bluntness). Not the banks. Not the government. Not corporations. Not anybody. There are no examples to turn to, no templates to follow. So…

Be the example.

Make your own way. Figure out some of these problems using your own creativity. Some problems are complicated and not within your power to solve. We are all so interconnected after all.

But you still have the ability to think outside the box. What made you an entrepreneur in the first place is what will carry you through this momentous occasion.

And becoming aware again of your body and your breath is what will help you calm down enough to start to see solutions where once you saw only problems.

And yes, there are a lot of problems, suddenly and for all of us.

But when the dust settles there will be solutions too. And some of them might just be ones you invented, created, and built.

You may just create a new template, invent a new tool, forge a new path, and be that example that others need right now.

But start with you. Grab your own oxygen mask first. And breathe. Breathe deep and long. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

What Comes Next?

Over the next few weeks why don’t we forge our own path together?

I’m going to review some invaluable tools, strategies, principles and tactics to help you navigate through the rough waters.

These foundational guides will help remind you where to put your focus and how to solve your problems. They will ground you in this new reality so you can make sober decisions.

I have a feeling that much like an earthquake we will be experiencing aftershocks that come in many forms, especially economically.

We can weather these even though they may feel endless and tumultuous.

So be on the look out over the next few weeks for a curated list of my best hits. Stuff that I’ll be using myself that I think will be of great benefit for all the entrepreneurs out there.

Here’s to you my friends…

Entrepreneurs are the backbone, the heroes and the unwavering, socially-distanced connectors of us all. I salute you.

The Wrap Up

While you’re navigating this brave new world why don’t you give yourself a break. If you’re an entrepreneur who relies on new content every week you may want to take a step back right now while you navigate new waters.

It’s ok to get off the New Content Wheel and get on the Repurposing Wheel.

Yes this is a great time to attract new prospects, customers and followers since everyone is online looking for new stuff.

But many of us also need to attend to a crumbling personal infrastructure.

If that’s where you’re at consider dusting off some old content. Click here to learn more about repurposing your content using a template. This template is designed to help you get exposed to new audiences without having to create new content, which might be a nice blessing right now.

As an entrepreneur you are in uncharted waters. But guess what? We are all in the same boat. So hold on during the whitewater ahead and remember to breathe, play, laugh, walk, meditate, workout and take things calmly. You got this.

Entrepreneurs, what is your biggest challenge right now as you navigate these new waters?

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