21. How I Survived 2020 As A Business Owner

Business Growth

When the pandemic started I thought that I was going to have a really tough year. I was worried about how things were going to be for myself, my girlfriend, my kids, my parents and friends.

I used the strategies in this podcast to get through the year and think that these strategies will help in any situation, good or bad.

Show Notes:

Burhaan Pattel  0:00  
Hey, welcome to the marketing stack podcast. And my name is Burhaan. And in today's episode, I'm gonna be talking about how I survived 2020. And I'm going to giving be giving you some strategies of how I actually took 2020. By by the horns, I wouldn't say that I wasn't stressed out to that I wasn't impacted by what's going on around the world. But I think some of the strategies that I'm going to share with you in this episode might help you in the future. And it might help you to actually, if you haven't made some of these changes, might help you to start thinking about the changes that you need to make in your life. And I'm not saying that you need to use all these strategies, but definitely some of them will be helpful to you. So with that being said, enjoy the episode, obviously, I wasn't preparing for 2020 in a way that it that it happened. But I think because of the things I did in the past, it's been actually a good year, I think some of the strategies in this video, some of the strategies that I've used this year, or have built up to, in this year has helped me to basically just get through 2020.

Burhaan Pattel  1:07  
And I and I think you know, it's going to be beneficial for you, it's going to maybe help you think about how to manage yourself how to, you know, figure yourself out for 2021. I don't think that the current pandemic or the current situation is going to change anytime soon, you're definitely going to be able to use these strategies to sort of future proof your business features or future proof yourself. A little bit of a backstory before I get into sort of the the main strategies. You know, when COVID hit somewhere around February, March this year, I was really stressed about the fact that, you know, how is my business going to perform, how was I going to still treat my clients were clients are going to cancel their contracts or their agreement with me. And fortunately, I didn't actually have that situation. I had, you know, I was I was in a good position where client, some clients that cancel, but many of them actually carried on and I actually signed on more clients than I did last year. So that was a good thing. And, you know, I was expecting it to be a bad year, but so far, it just it hasn't.

Burhaan Pattel  2:17  
And so I think one of the reasons why it hasn't was because I had a real desire, I always have had a real desire to continue in my business to grow my business to keep productive to keep busy. And, you know, one of the things that obviously, a lot of us were going through is, you know, lock downs, and, you know, just distress in terms of the uncertainty of the future, you know, especially economically where lots of people were being laid off from work. And then there's also the mental sort of sort shortages of things like getting supplies, you know, like, where's food going to come from, over and above just the money point of view. And I think, you know, obviously, I was worried about my family, and my kids are in South Africa, my parents are in South Africa, my brother and his family are in South Africa. I have friends around the world, and everybody was going through some stuff, everybody who's going through a lot of, you know, different issues, a lot of different challenges. And so one of the thing that I, you know, just focused on or or that I did early on, was just had conversations with people, I had conversations with my friends, I kept in contact, or and I'm still in contact with my children, you know, just having those conversations, keeping in touch with them, keeping close to them, via zoom via, you know, Whatsapp via Facebook via whatever, whatever tool was necessary, necessary to stay in contact with them. I used whatever I could, to, to stay in touch.

Burhaan Pattel  3:49  
And, you know, from a, from a personal point of view, you can't really do much, you know, if you're locked down, and people are in different homes, in different cities, different countries, different continents. You really can't do anything more than just being supportive. Just being available. Just having those conversations with people, the media and the pandemic and you know, lockdowns and all of these things are creating situations where we couldn't just get out, we had to change our habits. We had to get food delivered, we had to get, and I actually was in quarantine. I didn't have the virus. I haven't had the virus. But there was somebody in my building that did. And so during those early times when that happened, you know, we had to just stay indoors for 14 days. My girlfriend Muay, she didn't go to work. And she actually stayed home for a little longer than that because at work, they had to just, you know, make sure that everything was okay.

Burhaan Pattel  4:43  
But those 14 days was I wouldn't say it was challenging, because we had pre prepared, we had deliveries. They were protocols and procedures. But it wasn't that it wasn't the toughest situation for me because I had been working from home for a long time. Before that before this year, and so, you know, just planning ahead and making sure that I have resources available that there's money in the bank that I'm, you know, able to transfer money to Thailand whenever I needed it, or dealing with my clients, you know, having a stable internet connection having equipment around me, like my MacBook or my, my PC to actually do the work that I, that I, that I do, you know, maintaining that sort of stability. And having those resources available definitely helped out, what I realized with this whole pandemic, is that money, while a lot of people are struggling, a lot of people have been struggling, the money is still available in the marketplace, it's just maybe changed hands, where people have put money into the stock market, or maybe, you know, the government has helped them out in some way.

Burhaan Pattel  5:53  
And so there isn't really a shortage of money, there may be a certain class of people, or groups of people that maybe can't afford, you know, high quality or high production value or high sort of impact courses or programs online, you know, maybe you can't travel as much, but then, but then there's a lot of other advantages to not traveling to not being stuck in traffic to being at home, you know, to having your resources available for you. So while on, on one aspect, you know, you're not spending money on on traveling to work, you know, those type of situations that have come up means that money is available for other things. And if you've gotten government funding, or you've have had some help from from other places, then, you know, money is still available. And so while you may think that there's a shortage, there really isn't. I think there's a mindset shift that needs to happen, where, you know, we are constantly being told that there is a shortage, but that's more media. And I think, and I'm not discounting the fact that people are having issues or have had issues. But you know, being able to build a business or being able to supply some sort of service to somebody, whether it be just for free or getting involved with some sort of a thing.

Burhaan Pattel  7:13  
And I think one of the things that I did that helped out earlier in the year is Thinkific, actually had Thinkific is a course platform, they actually had a program where they were offering creators and partners with their support people who wanted to go online and create courses. And so they said to, you know, new registrants, well, they'll put you in touch with a partner, I was one of them. And I managed to get eight people to, you know, was able to help eight people put their courses together as being part of their system. And what ended up happening then was a few of those clients actually became probably paying clients. And while Thinkific did compensate, have an amount to helping their clients out. It wasn't, you know, in terms of just being a freelancer or being a business owner, it wasn't really worth my time in terms of money. But what happened after that was that, you know, some of those clients actually did pay for services to the value that I wanted. So those sort of, you know, input, so those things that I was doing, just to help people out, whether it be on Facebook or through think if it program or, you know, on LinkedIn, or wherever the wherever people needed help and answering questions. Sometimes those did turn into clients.

Burhaan Pattel  8:29  
And so that, that was one of the things that I think was helpful for me. And then again, like, you know, I've always been a big believer of managing money better. And over the last five years, I managed to pay off all my debt, I don't owe anybody any money at all, no credit cards, I love cash only. So you know, if I have the money to buy something, I buy it, if I don't have the money, then I don't buy it. I am not lavish, I lead a very simple lifestyle. I don't do any brands, really apart from you know, maybe an Apple device or, you know, the certain things that I use in my work to do the work that I do. The, you know, the tools that are brandy, I guess, to be able to sustain my living, that's one of the things that I've always been conscious of is making sure that from a money point of view, there is a bit of a backup. So you know, a little bit of money available in case there aren't any clients or in case a recession comes along. So having a bit of runway to sustain yourself and your family is a good idea.

Burhaan Pattel  9:32  
Even if you just start with a few dollars a month, where you're saving a little bit and starting to pay back some of the debt that you have to start freeing yourself from that responsibility from that burden. that's helped me tremendously and I'm glad that towards the earlier part of this year, I was able to settle everything and not have that worry of of, you know, continuously having to pay a credit card or pay or pay off debt. The other thing I would say is that while client on the client side, it's been okay. I haven't been, it hasn't been the busiest year that I thought it would, would be, I was expecting a busier year this year. But with that free time with that extra time, I've been able to spend a lot more time with my children, online, obviously playing games and, you know, talking to them on the phone, and, you know, just having conversations with friends, but also reading a lot. So I wouldn't say I'm a bookworm, but I've definitely invested time, and money in books, and just learning strategies. I read mostly entrepreneurial, personal development, and business type books. And so, you know, every couple of days, I'm buying a new book, either listening to the audio or reading it on the Kindle app, to be able to just keep my mind active, to keep my mind busy to keep productive, keep keep ideas flowing. And so that was also one of the things that I, I have been doing for many years now already. So that habit was already built in. But just, you know, really focusing in on the things that I wanted to learn, I registered for a few courses as well and met a few very good people through those courses.

Burhaan Pattel  11:12  
And just, you know, focused on developing myself focusing on really getting to grips with where I want to go in my life. And I think those relationships, and those courses, and those book books have really just kept me going and kept me kept me sort of sustained my mental well being through this time, and through this year, and it'll continue to do so I am certain of it. Yeah, over the next few years and the rest of my life. The other thing I have done is, I'm in therapy. So, you know, through my divorces through failed relationships, I recognize that, in my past, you know, I needed somebody to speak to, and I didn't always have access to that, to anybody to speak to, obviously, you know, in the past, we've had to physically drive to a therapist place, to their practice to speak to somebody, but these days, because of the internet, because of the availability of certain websites, like betterhelp, and others, you know, I was able to connect with a really good therapist, we've been talking to each other every week. And so, you know, these weekly sessions are more of a check in to, you know, check in on things on what's going on in around the world, things that are going on with me things that are going on with my relationships, with my business with whatever I want to talk about, really, and it's sort of a, an open space, where a safe place where I can let out and vent and talk about the things that are worrying me and, you know, the solutions that that come out of those conversations to deal with, and to address some of these things. And I think without that person in my life, I would, I would have struggled, I believe that I would have struggled this year, to just manage myself.

Burhaan Pattel  12:56  
The other person that's really influential in my life is my girlfriend. And, you know, I can say that I love her completely I trust 100% she's a she's an anchor in my life. And she's somebody who I look up to just in terms of being positive all the time being happy, smiling, and she's definitely given me a different way, a different perspective on how to live life and and what what's important. And, you know, in the two years, three years that we know each other, we haven't had really a solid argument, really, you know, we're both very understanding of each other, we we get along very well, we communicate often, you know, we have lots of fun as well. You know, and and so I think having a good relationship or having somebody who's solid in your corner, somebody who's really on your side, somebody who's really stable, who's who's an anchor for you, is somebody like that's important. And when the pandemic came around the beginning of the year, I had said that, when it comes to personal relationships, if you're living with somebody married, or you know, just cohabitating with somebody or you're in a relationship with somebody living together, one of two things are going to happen during a lockdown or during a pandemic situation. One is either you're going to split up with each other because you hate it, you find out that you hate each other, or you actually get closer and the confines of the four walls that you live in, will, will bring you together as you as you work through, you know, these situations that we we encounter.

Burhaan Pattel  14:29
So, having a good person in your corner, having somebody who's really trustworthy, who's on your side, who is supportive of your entrepreneurial dreams, of your health, your lifestyle, of your, you know, of everything that you are, any believe, I think is important. You don't have to agree on everything. But you'd also don't have to disagree on everything. So that's definitely helped me. She's definitely been an anchor in a, in a and one of the core reasons why this year has actually been a better year than I thought it would be. Another thing is just being grateful, you know. So the pandemic, I think, has definitely brought up a lot of emotions for a lot of people, where we're just grateful for being alive, which is grateful for being in business, which is grateful for the clients, we have grateful for the families that we have grateful for the food that we eat, created, grateful for all the things that life has to offer. And I think, you know, definitely when, when things start opening up, if they start opening up, and I don't expect it to be anytime soon.

Burhaan Pattel  15:30  
I think we'll be looking at the world in a different light, we'll be, you know, reflecting back on on what we've done, and if you haven't already done this, you know, look back at your life and, and see, well, what are the things that you need to change? What are the things that you might realize that, you know, you should have done better or could have done better. If you wanted to learn guitar, like now would be the time to learn, if you wanted to learn different language like now would be the time to learn, if you wanted to make friends like on Facebook, on Instagram, click start connecting with people get involved in causes, get involved in, in groups get involved in things that you believe in, you know, there's no, there's no real risk, like the internet is the communication device of the world. And so, you know, the world is, the world is available to all of us to explore and to, you know, keep keep motivated, and keep keep going forward. The other thing is having a back up plan. So, when it comes to money, you know, I've always believed that having one source of income if you work for a boss, and basically, it's your salary that you're dependent on, try not to have only one source of income. You know, if you want to build a website, or you know, build a Facebook group, or you want to build a coaching program, or you want to build a course, or you want to, like have multiple, multiple things, you know, that's going on, if you want to start a Shopify store and dropship stuff, find ways to to make money outside of your normal nine to five or your day to day sort of work. You know, there are some things that are risky, some things that are not risky, if you have some money put in the stock market, maybe in a in a Vanguard or something like that, that'll at least generate some money, or, you know, invest in courses to learn how to sell products via affiliate commissions. Right?

Burhaan Pattel  17:15
This, there's so many different ways, like you could sign up for rev and and do transcriptions and get paid a decent amount of money for a couple hours of work, you could register on Upwork, and be a freelancer, if you're a graphic designer, or if you want to go on Fiverr, you may think that the money is not enough like to get paid five or 10, 20, or $50 for certain things. If you have the time you have the resources, then why not register and do some stuff, you know why not build build something outside of your normal 9 to 5 or your or your core, your primary source of income and those sort of extra things, those those additional revenues, over time will start showing you things and start you'll start learning about yourself, you'll start seeing things that are possible in the world. And you meet new people, like ultimately, it's all about building relationships and, and fulfilling a service and fulfilling yourself. So you know, having multiple sources of income may sound like a stressful, stressful thing might sound like a difficult thing to do. But let's face it, we've all got things that we want to do. There's all, as always, we've always had skills that we can rely on. We were skilled in multiple different things, right? If, if you're a graphic designer, yes, you know how to do graphic design, but you also know how to communicate with people, you also know how to find solutions to to people, right, you have to use social media to get your word out to find clients.

Burhaan Pattel  18:40  
Like or maybe you're, you know, maybe you work in a job. And so you helped you help other people just get better at their job. Or you teach people how to use Excel because they need to use Excel or Google sheets or whatever the alternate thing is, whatever the supplement, supplementary, whatever the things are, that you can tack on or that you can find a way to help somebody else and be of service, can generate you some money. You don't have to always do things for free, and it may start off free. You may want to do things for free in the beginning. But you know, definitely have a vision for creating multiple sources of income so that you don't have to always rely on one source of income. And who knows maybe that hobby that you have maybe that side gig that you that you found actually turns into a business or turns into a thing that will replace your primary source of income. You know, what's the worst thing that could happen if you just want to survive? Just find ways to do that. If you want to thrive, then you've got to put yourself out there. You've got to start doing Facebook Lives. You've got to start talking to more people send emails to people to find out if they need help. You know if you want to get on a podcast, because you want to grow your reach, like do the things that you've been stuck on doing. Right.

Burhaan Pattel  19:57  
This video is a typical example of of something and I'm working One in myself is to grow a following online, just start, just start doing something, you've got the time, you have the resources, you have the energy, even if it's just 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes a day, do something to put yourself out there. Because let's face it, like life is more than that life is, has got to be more than it's, it's got to have more meaning. And for me sort of fulfillment, the thing that gives me the most joy at the moment is spending time with my kids, and playing games with them and, and chatting to them. Definitely start doing the things that you've been putting off, you know, where they'd be just learning stuff for posting videos or, you know, don't be consuming all the time, start creating something, you know, create your website, create a graphic, do a post, do a Facebook Live to just to start making stuff because I think it's in the act of making and that starts helping us to become something else.

Burhaan Pattel  20:55
So with that being said, I hope some of the some of my insights, some of my techniques, some of my tips will help you in the future. Comment below. Let me know what you thought of it. And what are the strategies that you're using in 2020 and 2021? What what are the things that you've done in your life to to have gotten through the challenges that we face this year? Hit the subscribe button if you liked the video. If you like the content if you like the channel, comment below let me know what you think of the video. Thank you so much for watching the video and I'll catch you in the next video. Thanks so much. Bye.

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