For those that have been keeping up with my latest blogs, articles or simply engaged in conversation with me throughout the pandemic, you have read or heard me state that now is not the time to be complacent. Right now, is the time to work harder and smarter. Now is the time to create and innovate. Tragically, some good companies and solid entrepreneurs may not come out of our current situation unscathed. Yet, the opportunity does exist for those that do emerge on the other side to emerge even stronger than before. Your focus now will increase your odds of being around later. I also believe those that want and value the end result more than the process itself may not have the fortitude to survive.
Now is not the time to rest, to watch TV endlessly, or to panic – worrying never resolved a problem. It is the time to gain or regain control of as much as possible. It is the time to connect, to reach out and to help others establish new opportunities while also creating your own.
In the past, I have discussed what a typical day may look like for me. Often there is not a minute to spare from the second I wake up until the second I go to sleep. My habits and drive do not change just because we are social distancing. I do not miss a beat because of stay at home orders. Fortunately, my energy and focus are at an all-time high, because it has to be. With that said, many have inquired about how I am keeping myself so busy during these unconventional times. Here is a snapshot of what just one hour in “entrepreneurial quarantine” looked like for me last Thursday night.
I will preface by noting that much of this communication was happening simultaneously beginning around midnight eastern time. The entire day to this point was full of much of the usual: internal and external communication, hashing out deal details, and my new normal: staying aggressively on top of relevant economic, policy and health related updates.
Yet this evening’s witching hour was just the start of my peak productivity and not the end of the night. Just before 12:00am, I received a text from a gifted musician in our network. We were in touch about their canceled tour dates. The conversation shifted to unique ideas about virtual fundraising programming for frontline workers. We tabled the live performance talk but want to schedule larger live performance later this year when things begin to return to normalcy. I did wake up to a text from his agent in the morning. In ten minutes, we set the framework for future live events and a brand-new digital program for this month.
At the same time, I was messaging with one of my favorites, and one of our best drawing, comedians. We were chatting about how the comedy universe is handling things, when his tour dates may be rescheduled and how it would be great if we could coordinate a show with him at our venue in Boston. The entertainment world is very much alive at this hour, (especially since both of these conversations were with people on the west coast). However, shortly thereafter I also connected with a friend in the media who is in Washington, D.C. – just keeping a good pulse on economic news, receiving updates on confirmed scenarios and potential options and overall, just staying informed on how things are evolving.
Meanwhile, I had swapped a quick couple emails with a reporter who was doing an interview with me in regards to how Anthem was responding to the COVID-19 challenges. Earlier this month I was also featured in a “CEO Blog Nation” piece along with 27 other entrepreneurs about “what being a CEO means to me”. In an effort to build more relationships, I had just finished connecting with the others who had been featured – many of which triggered great introductory conversations that generated a flurry of emails. I could feel the creativity from these passionate CEOs in a variety of industries. While we had just met, their energy was motivating. They too were firing on all cylinders at midnight.
Additionally, one driving force behind most businesses surviving, let alone thriving, during the pandemic is the need to recreate and establish new ways of doing business and generate new revenue. As the above all transpired in under 30 minutes, I found myself also messaging with one of my best friends – who happens to be an entertainment lawyer with a flair for entrepreneurship. We are exploring a tentative joint venture that we want to launch in 2021. I also exchanged a few emails with a client on the west coast about shifting a spring program to later in the fall. I reviewed a few internal emails about our existing virtual programming series, new brand initiatives and other Anthem related plans. Concluding this hour, I read a listserv that I am a part of with a variety of different business CEOs and executives dedicated to info sharing about COVID-19.
It may sound like an atypical way to wind down the night. However, now is the time for action and reinvention. This simultaneous communication clearly demonstrates the 24/7 nature of the world, which is amplified for those that want to emerge stronger from the pandemic. I am not alone. The “real time” communication with friends and colleagues from all walks of life: business, entertainment, government and media demonstrates the equal passion of others. My takeaway for anyone reading this is not that I work late, have diverse business interests or endless energy. The takeaway is that I encourage you to seize new opportunity whenever and wherever it occurs. I want you to create those connections and collisions that lead to success and fun ventures and to keep going until you feel your goal is complete.
My takeaway is true even in the most normal of times. But a special note to the small or struggling business owners out there: if your main goal is survival of your business, then educate yourself on options, seek out guidance and help and work until you get there: because no one else is going to put in that effort for you. As tiring as the grind may be, find solutions and if the first option doesn’t work out, find another that will.
By Chris Sinclair
Founder, The Anthem Group