Amid in the panic, don’t freeze up

Chris Esh

A couple weeks ago I had a full lineup of projects into the summer, I was looking for airline tickets for a trip in the next few weeks, and had a decent lineup of content ready to roll out. Now that the world turned upside down, it’s hard to plan for next week, let alone a month or a year later.

Coronavirus is worthy of the hype—you probably mostly all know this by now. If you haven’t already, cancel everything. I’m not usually an alarmist but this one is the big one, and paired with an overnight global recession, it sure is an interesting time to be a business owner.

We have to accept that a lot is out of our control, and that fills us with fear, for good reason. But whatever you do, don’t freeze up. Many of our assumptions that worked during a thriving economy no longer hold true. Most people will freeze up, will panic, and nervously wait for things to go back to how they were. This is the worst thing to do in the face of a crisis.

An opportunity to show up

Instead, use this opportunity to adapt to what your audience, your community, your employees, or your clients need. What they need today, not what they needed last week.

Show up for the people you’re here to serve and listen to them. Your audience is now stuck at home, maybe working from their laptop, maybe out of work, maybe trying to take care of kids or worrying about family members. What do they need now? Today? Next month? And how can your skills and passions show up to meet those needs?

That might require doing things in a new way than you’re not comfortable with. That might require learning new skills. That might require, at least for the interim, figuring out how to translate your in-person skills to an online presence.

The best time to double down is when others are not. The best time to start marketing is when everybody else put their marketing on hold.

My two-week plan to stay sane

Here’s what I’m doing to stay sane as we sit on the precipice of an unknown future. I’m making a two-week plan centered around things I can control.

  1. I want to prioritize helping out my small business and nonprofit clients to communicate with their audiences during this uncertain time. To help them smoothly transition their events and communications into a digital space.
  2. I want to be there for my kids, to be honest with them but also a calming presence.
  3. I want to step back and look at my expenses and see how I can be leaner if things slow down this summer.
  4. I want to adjust my content to resonate with the new reality we’re all facing.

Stay healthy, stay sane. We’re in this together, we’ll get through it together.


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