This is the first in a two-part series on how entrepreneurs can gain clarity and push their creativity forward during times of crisis. Read the second post on entrepreneur stories here.
“Crisis is opportunity.” You’ve probably heard that catch phrase numerous times. The word crisis evokes for me an anxiety-producing event, such as a financial/job loss, a breakup, a health problem, or political instability. However, when I look up the word on Dictionary.com, it reads, “a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; a turning point.”
With the Coronavirus rapidly spreading across the world, we are clearly in the midst of a health crisis. But we are also at a turning point, living in a time of decisive change. Millions of people have lost or will lose their jobs and many businesses may close their doors or go bankrupt. The decisions we make now will determine our path going forward, as leaders and as a society. Following is my story of how I navigated the previous financial crisis and utilized the time for a new creative endeavor, namely, writing my first book.
Clarity During Times of Crisis: What’s Important to You?
A previous turning point in my life happened amid the “Great Recession” in 2009. I was laid off from a late-stage media startup which struggled through numerous budget cuts and rounds of layoffs, as so many companies went through during that time. Our offices overlooked Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, the site of the former Twin Towers. At the time, it was a massive hole in the ground. It would later emerge as the new One World Trade Center (or Freedom Tower) as well as the 9/11 memorial.
I remember coming home to my apartment in Brooklyn after getting laid off: I walked in, took a breath, looked around and right then and there I knew it was time to move closer to family and leave the expensive, fast-paced lifestyle of New York. My career in digital advertising had lost its appeal. I decided to write my first book and set sail on a new career as a marketing consultant. It was time for a new chapter in my life. I moved to Chicago, cut my costs, and wrote my book over the course of 12 months.
Rachael O’Meara featured my story in her book PAUSE: Harnessing the Life-Changing Power of Giving Yourself a Break. She contrasted my “forced pause” of getting laid off with her “chosen pause” of taking a sabbatical from Google.
Now, during the Coronavirus crisis, we find ourselves in a societal “forced pause.” We are all sheltering at home, spending a lot of time with family, and striving to stay healthy, while waiting anxiously for the lockdown to end. Millions of people who live paycheck to paycheck, with little savings, fear that this forced lockdown will not last weeks, but months, and perhaps hamper their career forever. However, this crisis may offer an opportunity to examine your life and your career and pivot in a completely new direction when things go back to normal, as I did in 2009.
Creativity During Times of Crisis: Writing a Book
Up until I got laid off, I had written my book proposal and emailed it to a few book publishers and agents. Suddenly, I had time to write the actual book. With extensive feedback from friends and an amazing editor, I wrote Latino Link: Building Brands Online with Hispanic Communities and Content, which came out in September 2010 (Paramount Books).
I documented everything I learned about writing a book and summarized all the tips other business authors shared with me in a three-part blog series on “How to Plan, Write, Edit and Promote a Book.” (Feel free to utilize my tips if you’re planning to write a book.)
New Opportunities Follow a Turning Point
During my book tour, I gave a presentation at a conference in Miami. I got a few laughs and caught people’s attention. Afterwards, the CEO of a Los Angeles based advertising agency invited me to do a workshop at its headquarters. That workshop turned into a full-time job. I would have never guessed that life would turn out that way, but it did only because I put myself out there and took a chance on writing my book. I worked at the agency for a year and then ventured out on my own, starting my own LLC, Latino Link Advisors (named after my book).
I now help my clients with content strategy, media/influencer relations, social media management, search engine optimization (SEO), managing partnerships, Hispanic/Latin American marketing and Spanish/English translations.
Can I help you craft your story for your website, LinkedIn profile or blog series? Drop me a line and let’s schedule some time to chat. I would love to hear your story and discuss how to refine your biography. I will help for free the first five people who contact me who have lost their job recently due to the Coronavirus crisis. Stay healthy, and as my grandfather used to say, “Keep the faith!”