In mid-January I was following what was looking to be something boiling up in Asia. I started following the Corona crisis early enough to share bits and pieces of information to my family and close friends. I didn’t watch the news – I was reading posts from users on reddit in affected areas all over the world. Some posts were unsurprisingly blown out of context, but others were rational with expectations of what was in store for America. You have to realize that most of these folks in forums and on social media are engulfed by their local news and are adding two on the 10.
Two on the 10 – a phrase meaning doing too damn much all at once.
But then something happened to me like never before – I was fascinated with the idea of opportunity and change. Human existence from all past fears, worries, crashes, wars, and everything in between always sparks change. Change in ideas, dialogue, and technology. I started researching other world depressions and plagues. Something was definitely changing inside me once I realized there would be no better opportunity that this moment to transform and create myself.
I watched as media made fear and panic the catalyst for what was to come. I watched and questioned the very patterns of the virus. I became focused on changing my financial outlook – being more conservative. I focused on my health and well being while others beat each other up over rolls of toilet paper. I read about a woman in Australia early on who cleaned the stores out of toilet paper and hoarded it in her garage. This was all in January. I notice how talking heads with agendas came out of the woodwork to cast their opinions about what the public should do. I watched the stock market go crazy – volatile, with huge dips and gains. I remember my mother asking me, “wow, what do you think is going to happen. This is real huh” – I myself couldn’t come around to agreeing with the whole thing. Too much information, too quick and the numbers were out of whack.
I watched as people that had any sign of a health issue or no signs at all obtain a hard stance on staying home. A cough, I must stay home for 7 days. A sniffle, I have to stay home for 14 days. I watched as people became absolute crazy over these symptoms and at times, overreacted. Now, it goes without saying – there is a virus. People did get sick and people died from this. But I cannot help to think how many of these people already had underlying issues that accompany it and how many of those that ended up sick took the flu shot. These are my thoughts surrounding the matter.
Then came March – the streets empty. Everyone scared and inside and obeying standing orders from local and federal government. More people online and on social media. More people on video conferences and working from home. And, uncertain times set in.
Uncertainty is life. I do not know when I am going to die – it is a part of living to the fullest and ensuring that preparations are made. Once the onset of Covid-19 took concrete shape, I realized how unprepared I was. How much I was focused on the wrong things in my business and life and how people really need alternative information. I decided to take immediate action on myself and this brought about a sense of clarity that I have never felt before.
Questions were asked:
- Companies that have been in business 10, 20, 30 years or more cannot sustain 6 weeks of downturn. These companies are either over leveraged on debt or poorly managed.
- Stock market is gleaming with positive numbers as millions lost their jobs. In the past there was a direct correlation with the stock market and the real world. This has vanished. Stocks are overpriced and the market is propped up by the Fed and corporations.
- Stimulus money, trillions appearing overnight, over saturated markets, dollar is being de-valued, QE, hyper-inflation.
- Agriculture, supply chain, food hoarding, ….
- Essential vs. Non-essential
I wanted to know these things. These topics became important to me.
There were millions of people that came out of the great depression worse off than when they went in it but there were also millions of people that came out of the great depression better off than they went in it. It is all about making better decisions and creating an individual, family and business plan to see your way through.
I’m sorry to say – I’ve never had a damn plan. See the modern entrepreneur era feeds off of erratic, explosive, risky behavior. That’s why the video with the most views on YouTube usually has “How I turned $500 into $500,000 in under a year” – people want fast, easy and painless. They want to be serenaded back to their dreamy state of being. It’s much comfier there.
Valuable Lesson #1
During my mind cleanse, I decided to delete one of my Gmail accounts. It’s the one I used when I had my real estate license. I logged in and sure enough the broker was sending emails to the team about how good the market still is and that they were still booming. This is the type of information that gets people trapped into the delusion. I was happy to delete the account and move out of that sector for good. I immediately checked real estate stats in the Philadelphia area:
- New Construction – activity dropped dramatically in April, with permits at 1.07 million, a 20.8% drop from March; housing starts at 891,000, a 30.2% fall month-over-month. The number of completed homes totaled 1.18 million, 8.1% down from March.
- Existing Home Sales in April dropped 17.8% from March & were down 17.2% YoY, to 4.3 million, the lowest level in 9 years.
- Realtor.com Weekly Housing Inventory showed continued tightening. New Listings declined 28% compared with a year ago, as sellers grappled with uncertainty and hesitated bringing homes to market. Total Listings dropped 20% YoY, a faster rate than in prior weeks, leaving very few homes available for sale. As Time on Market was 15 days slower YoY, asking prices moved up 1.5% YoY.
Taken from: https://www.realtor.com/research/tag/covid-19/
But people are either too lazy to research for themselves or they do not want to face reality in order to make practical changes with their finances or life. What is the benefit of information when it is skewed? People have got to start researching and taking everything in with a grain of salt. This is the new world – the world when one must be willing to make up their own minds and do what is best for them. In any situation.
Valuable Lesson #2
Creating a plan. I had no plans to reference and/or to adjust during the Corona crisis. I don’t think anyone had a plan for this level of crisis but what I do know is that many had emergency funds.
We are all consumers – some of us more than others. Some of us do not create anything but only consume and others barely consume but yet live simple and happy lives. I was speaking with my neighbor a few days ago. He was furloughed and his unemployment check still has not arrived. It has been two months since he was approved for unemployment benefits. He is in the dentistry field which has plans to reopen in July. It’s May now. From Feb to July, 5 solid months and not one red cent from unemployment yet. How will he survive. My neighbor looked up and smiled, said he has plenty of money saved and is taking it one day at time.
On the other side of this, I go to Target with my mask snuffed around my face to purchase some mother day cards and watched as a family was trying to fit a 60+ inch television in their Nissan Altima. These two stark differences in mindset has got to do with planning. There is something mental about acquiring wealth and those that do not plan for it, do not attain it.
This is when I took out pen and paper and drafted a plan for 6 months, 1 year, 5 years and 10 years. All included my favorite 3 categories: Health, Wealth and Happiness. It took me two whole weeks to write out that plan and I have simplified my life 100% by having it. But that is the easy part. Having the plan is one thing, working the plan and staying on course is another.
Do you have a plan? Do you have capital saved up: (6 months or 1 year of expenses?)
Many people will tell you, especially the hungry hippos online that planning is for suckers. That you just have to do the thing, do not think about it just take massive action. Well let us get some awareness about this. All it takes is a little bit of research. All businesses and you are a business, requires goals and plans. To not have that is to operate erratically and irrational. To go about your day under the pretense that you are ‘crushing’ your life without any plans is a HUGE waste of time. Years would have past and you will still be unsure about where you are going.
A pilot receives a flight plan before every flight. He goes down a checklist before every departure to ensure things are safe and working. He checks the weather briefings on the flight plan and adds additional fuel if necessary. He enters each points of the flight into his directional navigation system. He knows where he is going. Now, if something happens and he has to shift off course to avert the situation he corrects it by returning on course. He makes changes in order to get back on course.
The surgeon goes into surgery with a plan. The surgeon understands that there are many things that need to take place before a slice to the body is completed. There is a different plan for different types of surgeries. The surgeon does not deviate unless something becomes higher priority in keeping the patient alive. The deviation also has a plan of action to get back on course.
Your favorite entrepreneur? Oh, they have plans too. They make it appear effortless and easy but behind the scenes they know exactly how they will earn what they earn each quarter. If they do not earn what they planned for – they go back and make changes – but there will always be a plan.
Why don’t you have a plan? Your goal list is not the same as a plan. A plan has steps, checklists, processes, systems, if this then that, feedback loops, – they are guides to achieving your goal!
Valuable Lesson #3
I gotta admit. I smoke. It sucks and I have been doing it too long now. The corona crisis came, and I became obsessed with my health like many others. I decided that I am going to come out of this thing stronger and healthier. I wanted to exercise more and gain strength. I changed my diet and added more greens and ate less.
I figured, one has to be nimble and since food may hyper-inflate, I want to eat less meat and more greens, drink more water and hydrate like crazy.
I did not fill my head up with gory news briefs, instead I played relaxing jazz music on my turntable, some new hip-hop and challenged myself. Of course, I have had setbacks but overall, I want good health to remain an important asset to my life.
Valuable Lesson #4
Business ideas now have changed a bit. When preparing for my next investments, I look for sustainable businesses. I am sure when most businesses come back, they too will get leaner and focus on direct to consumer sales. My partner and I are looking into essential businesses with wide open supply chains and we are not just going head over heels for any one thing.
Predictable income is the best source of income. Passive is great but predictable is better. How many businesses right now cannot predict what is going to happen in two weeks from now? How many large corps are wrestling with and losing to bankruptcy? How essential are your products? How can we turn a profit when everyone is scared to spend a dollar because they are uncertain when the next dollar will come?
These are all questions that I have for myself and my future plans for true independence.
Many people have begun to sell masks and get creative for consumers. Distilleries started making hand sanitizers to churn a profit. Adaptability is key during these times. I know if I were in college right now and sitting on school loans and debt, I would be thinking hard about my career choice. I would be making some serious changes for the degree I want.
I remember when I was going to nursing school, there was a shortage of nurses because the baby boomer generation was getting older and work would be plentiful. I literally remember searching for the highest paying industries vs. what I thought I wanted to do at the time.
The corona virus crisis has changed the world as we know it for good, but you have a choice to be stagnant or free. You also have a choice to look at it as the worst thing that can happen your lifetime or the opportunity of a lifetime. You can create from this point by changing your mindset around problems, fear, and doom.
I plan to come out of this a better person than when I went in it. I plan to create so much value from it that the inevitable happens. Taking shape of our own future is not the job of the government, or your boss, or politicians. It is our own personal choices that creates success. The journey is long.
I look at covid-19 as the master reset. Where the playing field is leveled again, and everyone has equal ability to make something of themselves. To turn the page and quit freaking out about their past. I love reading stories about how people have quit alcohol, found peace, saved more money, and got back to doing things that they found important. I love hearing about the decrease in pollution and how clear streams and rivers are because of less activity. I love hearing about how people are increasing their skills, getting creative, building their businesses, changing their business plans, and working out. I absolutely am finding so much value in a time of crisis.
There is another side to covid-19. There is a productive and positive side.
I also know that many lives were taken, and I am not going to bypass that. I am only hoping that we look at this differently. Learn from your past, do not stay in it.
What have you learned, done, or changed during these times? Email me: [email protected]