How Entrepreneurship Can Flourish in a Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a unique opportunity to entrepreneurs. Though the pandemic may seem like a roadblock on many levels, it can be looked at as an opportunity to make space to dream and to do. Entrepreneurs can make a difference in the world, even in a world undergoing chaos. In fact we have seen it done before.
The “Wonder” Years: Epidemic Entrepreneurship
In 1665, Isaac Newton was a fresh graduate from Trinity College in Cambridge. The world was ravaged by the Bubonic plague, and Newton found himself isolated at his family farm 60 miles northwest of Cambridge. Although this “social distancing” measure brought Newton to safety, it also left him alone in a quiet isolation.
This period of isolation led Newton to continue to work on mathematics, with the creation of the rules of “fluxions” (now known as calculus) by 1666. Then turning to the study of optics, then to gravity, Newton ended up with the law of universal gravitation. Newton’s big thinking during the Bubonic plague was eventually lauded as the “Wonder Years.”
Two years of quiet, isolated thinking led to principles that changed the world forever. This uninterrupted dreaming would never have been possible without the tragedy of that plague. In an unexpected turn of events, the world was gifted with study that made, to say the least, a massive impact.
Modern Leaders Activate Deep Silence
It doesn’t have to take a pandemic for silence to bring out the best in bright minds. Structured periods of silence have benefited thinkers and creators. Famed thinkers from psychiatrist Carl Jung to Arianna Huffington have spoken about their practices for deep silence and clear-headed thinking.
Silence through simple actions such as turning off sounds and notifications can calm nerves and curb distraction. Beyond that, it can create internal opportunities for growth and deep thinking. An outer silence can help fuel the inner silence that is required for deeply innovative thinking.
Tips to Make Time for Silence
A blank canvas or turbulence both present opportunity. Finding ways to clear your head gives way to fresh ideas. In such a busy (and bizarre) COVID-19 climate, it can be a challenge to shut off and just think. With everyone on their phones and video, news cycles moving at a mile a minute, and the subconscious anxiety that comes with a pandemic and social change, when is there time to clear your head?
Find times to meditate
Adding meditation into your routine can benefit your creative process. Meditation gives you conscious time to sit alone and just think –– or not think. Add some time to your day when distractions are eliminated. Meditation gives you the opportunity to sit alone with your thoughts. Clearing your head during meditation can open the door up to new trains of thought you may not have come across with continuous distractions.
Turn off notifications when needed
Have you been in the middle of a thought only to forget what you’re doing because of a text? Consider hitting ‘Do Not Disturb’ for a little while and letting your thoughts collect without interruption. Carving out certain times of the day when you’re not just a quick text away sets healthy boundaries for yourself and for your peers. If others start to understand that your availability is not at their convenience, they accommodate your communication boundaries.
“Dose” the news
In 2020, there is always more news to consume. Overstimulating yourself with news, some factual and others not, is tempting but not the healthiest option. It’s important to stay informed, but how you stay informed is up to you. “Dosing” your news cycle can help to eliminate subconscious anxieties that come with reading headlines, especially when they’re primarily negative. Choose a specific time of day and duration to catch up on the news, process that information, and continue on with your day. This will keep you from falling down news cycle rabbit holes.
Seek fresh air (safely)
Sometimes the best way to clear your head is fresh air. With the isolation and social distancing challenges of COVID-19, it can be easy to forget to get air and vitamin D. Safely seek fresh air while adhering to social distancing guidelines. Take a walk around your block without the distractions of your tech. Practice un-tethering from your phone: leave it at home during walks.
Get an early start
Waking up early has been number one in the entrepreneur’s playbook. The morning gives creative thinkers the opportunity to do what their mind does best: think. When you’re up early, distractions are eliminated. The family is still asleep, no crises have come up at work, and you’re left alone with your thoughts in the quietest hours, even if it may be 4AM.
Using entrepreneurial skills during COVID-19
Not only are entrepreneurs trying to help ourselves survive, but we are helping our communities to do the same. The unique opportunity of 2020’s tumult to get creative is one that pushes innovative thinkers like entrepreneurs outside the box.
Innovation will look very different now than the world before coronavirus. We don’t know what the world is going to look like during this race for a vaccination and the ongoing fight for racial justice so what entrepreneurs can do is to work towards bettering the world we’re in right now.
Problem-solve in a time of many problems
What is an entrepreneur if not a problem-solver? In a time of many problems, innovation is necessary to tackle them. Consider the problems that consumers and businesses are facing right now. How could your business help them in the short term? How could you sustainably pivot once we adjust to “normalcy” in a post-COVID world? Entrepreneurs are having to problem-solve on both sides of the coin, for their consumers and for themselves.
Bring value into the lives of others
Consider the potential for enhancing the way people live right now. Consumers aren’t looking for ways to spend cash on luxuries. They’re looking for ways to enhance their living situation and make better use of their most precious asset: time. With the restrictions that the coronavirus pandemic has created on a global scale, creative thinkers are needed to bring value to the lives of others. How can your business not only solve problems, but actually bring value to people's lives? And what are the strengths of your business that can help improve the lives of under-served communities?
Finding ways to help your community
Entire industries are shifting gears to find ways to help their community. Distilleries in North America are pivoting into the creation of sanitizing products. Luxury restaurants are feeding those on the front lines. Small operational shifts can make a huge impact on your community. Tech startups are working to find ways to help parents working from home, deliver medical supplies, and so much more –– entrepreneurs are finding ways to support their community on both a local and global scale. Look for ways that your community needs your creative thinking.
Bring good into the world
Businesses that have pivoted to bring joy into the lives of others are thriving right now. Perhaps what you’re doing can’t save the world –– maybe, though, it can bring some good into it. How can your business bring light into a world where so many are experiencing gloom? Bringing forth positivity with your projects can do all three of the above points at once: problem-solve, bring value and help your community.
Entrepreneurs are a necessity during times of crisis
Entrepreneurs have always been a necessity during times of crisis. It’s the innovative thinkers who are willing to step outside the box that help to move society through hard times. Use this time of isolation and cautious re-opening to let your prowess come forward. This pandemic has already forced innovators to come up with creative solutions to unique problems. How will you make your mark during the coronavirus pandemic?
Use this time to restructure your processes
We’re in the midst of a unique time for entrepreneurs. Taking this opportunity to restructure how you think and work can allow for some peak innovative thinking. Take a look at your routine and see where you can incorporate ways to clear your head. Allow yourself to clear the whiteboard before filling it up with ideas again. Take a look at some more of our founder resources to get you inspired.