How the pandemic made me change my priorities

August 21, 2021

6 minutes to read

Opinions expressed by Contractor the contributors are theirs.

My career began at the age of 14 when I started a side business focused on printing and graphic design. From an early age, I loved working and seeing what I could do to grow in my profession. Now I run my own boutique and my own graphic design business all these years later.

Work experience and turmoil will take a person far enough, but in 2020 we faced circumstances that no one was prepared for. Something changed for me when Covid-19 first arrived. I realized that the pandemic had a big influence on business. Leaving aside the fear for my own business, I decided to view the epidemic as an opportunity to improve myself. With so many people struggling, I knew I had to work harder and really push my limits.

Enter the Covid-19

I still remember this week in March 2020 as if it were yesterday. It was a Sunday in March when a bartender handed me my drink and said, “Take advantage, my brother, we are entering confinement from tomorrow.” At first I didn’t worry much, but that changed when I started paying attention to the media.

The next day, my worry started to set in. I remember my brother-in-law coming home from work feeling sick. He decided to take a Covid-19 test and go into quarantine to be safe. The next day we learned that he had actually tested positive for the virus. At that point, it all seemed too real.

Trying to keep everything under control has drained me mentally. Either way, I had to find a way to turn that fear into strength. Coverage of the deaths and devastation has torn neighborhoods and families apart, reaching us only through the news and social media.

Out of nowhere my sister started to feel sick. I had no choice but to take care of her, and it wasn’t long before I felt bad. I felt like I was mentally in the twilight zone. Physically, the aches were unbearable. I suffered from shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell without any type of appetite. This ordeal lasted two atrocious weeks.

Related: Covid-19 Will Fuel the Next Wave of Innovation

Humility and spiritual beliefs about income

When it came to generating income for my business, I wasn’t too worried. Fortunately, I had savings that I could live on for quite a long time. I remember talking to business owners who were in total distress and didn’t know what to do. It was a time when income suddenly seemed to stop for many entrepreneurs – and people were scared.

The opportunities for new forms of income began to present themselves to me almost immediately. Items like masks and marketing materials for restaurants and businesses were in high demand. However, I was very reluctant to take advantage of essential items like masks etc. Owning a branding business, I had all the equipment that could have created all of these in-demand products and services. Still, I didn’t care much. Instead, I focused on building a stronger relationship with my family and God. Business founders thrive every day when they focus on supporting their families, and I was very grateful for mine.

After my fright, my priorities drastically changed.

I have always been a very spiritual person, but now more than ever I was ready to live my change and become the person I wanted to be. I started by offering my services to people who I thought could use them completely free of charge. In my heart, it didn’t matter that I wasn’t in the best financial position to do this. What mattered and kept me going was this feeling of happiness that I brought to some people.

Resume business

In June 2020, I returned to my warehouse and found it riddled with dust and machines devoid of ink and cleaning solutions. Calling in a technician to maintain them was impossible because of the pandemic. I did not know what to do.

It was then that I got a call from one of the owners of a popular restaurant in New York City asking if I knew anyone who could build them an outdoor dining space for their restaurant. It was something new the city was proposing to help struggling restaurants as a way to make up for the inability to dine indoors.

I took a second to think it over and then I told him with a lot of confidence that I could handle this for him. I know that as an entrepreneur, being open to taking the plunge is how you turn an opportunity into success. It was really a challenge, but I gave it a go without hesitation. As a result, I was able to find innovative ways to build structures around town and use them as a substitute for lost income from my main business.

Over the past seven months, I have been able to apply this passion and love to everything I do, and have been able to overcome obstacles that I was not able to overcome before. I was even inspired to start a philanthropic business, Hustle With God, a platform designed to push all boundaries and try to make the world a better place one day at a time.

Related: 9 Ways Covid-19 Looks Like A Marathon

What I learned

Covid-19 has come with a long list of lessons. During this time, it became clear that I had to be there for others. We all owe each other a helping hand when we can, and I take that much more seriously now.

Companies are not a guarantee. Maybe I could have fought and overcome some challenges, but not everyone did. It was my reality test. My business is no guarantee no matter how hard I fight for it. It is important to be prepared and willing to adapt. Having a backup plan is essential, especially when you have a lot at stake. There are no guarantees in life, and that includes our health and safety.

Related: How Your Small Business Can Survive the Covid-19 Pandemic

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