By: Jordan Porter
I started writing this on March 18th, just three days into quarantine, but I found that I lost motivation to continue with it very quickly. For days it was gnawing at me, you know that little voice who says you’re wasting your time? That guy. I think we’ve all been familiarized with that guy in these last few weeks. But despite this course motivator between my ears, the inspiration and the words were just not coming to me.
The problem was, I broke my own golden rule. I titled the article before I even started writing it. The title read, “Corona Virus and the Entrepreneur”. I wanted to get ahead of the curve (pun), as I knew that everyone would take the opportunity to write an awesome article on how COVID-19 has affected them, their families, their business – their life.
Later I realized, the reason I wasn’t able to finish was because it was straight-up phony. Three days was not nearly enough time to reflect on how this global, historic event was going to change the world, or even how it would change the future of Nufás Media.
Frankly, I doubt 2 months is enough time either, but I’m running out of things to do here.
Nufás Media is the brain child of myself, and my partner, Sean Thornton. We have been in business for 14 months – these are the kind of measurements you use when talking about something in infancy. In that time, it has been a rollercoaster of emotion, we gained clients, lost clients, made new friends and took part in some amazing opportunities. But our crowning achievement in this time is the team that we have built, and the dynamic between everyone in our circle. Needless to say, the last year of my life has been an exciting one, and wouldn’t you know it, we were actually finding success! The wind was certainly in our sails and for the first time in my whole life, I was excited to go to bed on Sundays so I could wake up and get to work…weird. I like to think that this is everyone’s experience when starting a new business, however the harsh reality is, it is not. I made the mistake at the beginning of all this to look up mortality rates for new businesses. Let’s just say I have likened that experience to Googling minor symptoms on WebMD – don’t recommend.
Since we started Nufás, I have also held a part time job that took up about 25 hours out of my evenings and weekends. This was taking a toll on almost every aspect of my life, working at the office from 9:30-3:30 Mon-Fri, and at my part time 4-5 times a week often until 11pm at night. On top of that – time set aside for my relationship, my business, my family and my friends were very strained. As was my health both mentally and physically, with lack of sleep and poor nutrition a daily obstacle.
“Gotta run to the next job, I’ll just dish out $15 and grab a quick bite…”
“Going to skip the gym today, I’m exhausted from work…”
“No groceries? I’ll just grab something on the way…”
“We’ll do it next week, I promise…”
If only I had some time to rest! I guess I should have been more careful what I wished for…
When the fog of COVID-19 began to descend on the west, it became clear that the end may not be in sight – this was, clearly, not a drill. As dozens of countries began to take drastic measures to self-isolate – even rumours of Vladimir Putin releasing lions and tigers into the streets of Russia to deter people from going outside (I choose to believe it. Come on, have some fun with it). I knew Canada would soon follow suit (minus the tigers – maybe). This admittedly got me pretty worried, asking myself ‘how long though…we can go outside soon, right?’ I was one of those people who were optimistic (naïve? desperate?) enough to believe that this would all blow over in a couple weeks. No problem! In the meantime, I will get the R&R I deserved, this isn’t so bad. But as mentions of lockdown reaching into October or even longer, I began to feel very worried. Not only for my own sanity, but for my business. With statistics like, 50% of small businesses failing within their first 5-years echoing in my head, and Nufás still very much in its infancy, here comes 2020 and a global pandemic for a plot twist. My mind began to race on what we would do and how we could survive.
Thankfully, my partner Sean, is forever the optimist so he wasn’t worried about the business. While this made me feel a little better, I needed an action plan. I wanted to avoid at all costs the unproductive act of sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves and instead, capitalize. So where to start? Well, I did what anybody who is procrastinating does – I cleaned my room, I cleaned the living room, the kitchen, the dining room, not the washroom (still couldn’t bring myself to do it).
I am a firm believer in the notion that before you can start fixing your higher-order problems, you have to clear all of your pending ‘to-do’ list, no matter how small the task, so your full attention can be pointed towards those larger issues. So, after I tidied up, we got to work. We gave ourselves the pep-talk we needed and formulated a plan to think long-term. In the last few weeks we had heard endless statements regarding government relief for individuals and businesses alike, however at the end of the day, we knew that it was just that – relief. Like taking an Advil, it only reduces the symptoms of what is really going on.
The time for long-term action is now.
In the words of Leon C. Megginson, Professor of Management and Marketing at Louisiana State University,
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.” Damn. Is that topical or what?
So, we will adapt to change and come out stronger. And in the meantime, while we are still locked down to flatten the curve of COVID-19, take some time to adapt to this change. Don’t dwell on what you will do when things ‘go back to normal’. Normal for me was spending 70 hours at work each week while also cramming in a relationship, social time, networking, and family (not necessarily in that order, don’t worry Mum), as I watched my finances, health, and social life deteriorate right before my eyes.
Instead, take this time to get the R&R you need, eat some vegetables, move your body, find an awesome story to read and get lost in it, and above all, don’t despair. Allow your heart to grow fonder of the people and places that you miss from your old life, and bring only what you miss into your new life.
Finally, our hearts go out to those on the frontline, going to work every day and facing the reality of the situation head-on.