PROSPERING IN A PANDEMIC
Send Lawyers, Guns, and Money: Prospering During the Covid-19 Pandemic
The shit has hit the fan, but I’ve managed to prosper during the pandemic, and this is how you can, too.
This year has been challenging, to say the very least. Amid the Corononavirus pandemic, there is rampant racially charged injustices and murders, subsequent riots, millions of acres burned by wildfires and the red skies they create, extreme and deadly heat, simultaneous unexpected mounds of snow, shocking losses of people we love in life and on-screen, and a presidency and election that brings opposing supporters to fisticuffs, to name just a few stressful scenarios we are all experiencing these days. It feels a lot like the end of the world according to how we’ve seen it play out in movies, and I wonder how different everything and everyone will be when or if the dust clears.
It’s a mad, mad world.
Since March, my family and I have suffered incredible losses. My faith, resilience, and relationships have been tested, and I’ve had to make some pretty tough decisions. Though I’ve lost a lot, I’ve also given up much more. There have been tears and screams, both silent and blaring. There have been sleepless nights and evenings that turned into mornings without so much as a nod. I have experienced incredible highs and severe lows within minutes of each other, and while there are days I feel like I’m crushing life, there are also days when life feels crushing. All-in-all, however, I have managed not just to survive the Coronavirus pandemic thus far, but also thrive. Here are a few ways I’ve managed to do that:
I Took Advantage of the Rent/Mortgage Moratorium
Within two weeks of the national recognition of the Coronavirus outbreak, negotiations for my latest book deal broke down. My assigned editor was let go, along with thirty percent of the publisher’s staff, and all new business halted. Soon, word of massive layoffs in hundreds of industries across the country spread like wildfire. We were headed for a severe economic crisis, and as a woman who works best under pressure, I went into crisis mode.
As a source of new income was taken off the table for me, I moved to protect my existing income and savings. With the future so unknown, I figured I’d better make sure my family and I could survive over the next few years whether we made another dime or not. After all, historically, pandemics have been known to rage for as many as two years! So, with the worst-case scenario in mind, I took advantage of Federal and State rent and mortgage moratoriums while staying in full contact and conversation with our landlord, and stopped monthly payments for our home, saving thousands of dollars each month. Thankfully, our landlord was kind and understanding throughout the entire ordeal as they were also able to access economic injury funding during the crisis. We were all truly in this together.
My experience as a homeowner during the housing market crash of 2008 taught me that credit bureaus create credit markers for times of national crises, and whatever related debts that accrue during these times will not affect one’s creditworthiness or credit score. Debts such as unpaid mortgages and rents or foreclosures, for instance, may appear on credit reports for a few weeks or months but will fall off on their own never to be mentioned again. Besides, this guy can help you legally remove just about anything from your credit, while educating you on how credit works, for just $50. Anyway, to back-up my housing crisis experience, I was told by an associate at Rental Kharma that indeed, credit markers from all three credit bureaus have been in place for renters and homeowners since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent economic and housing crisis.
I Paid Down and Consolidated Debt
Next, I took a look at our monthly household bills and began illuminating unnecessary financial obligations. I paid off all our credit cards with balances under $10,000. Within thirty days, my “great” credit became “excellent,” and I was ready for my next move. With my new excellent rating, I applied with my credit union for a consolidation loan that would consolidate a credit card, which had a balance over $10,000 at a rate of 19.99%, and a small personal loan under $10,000 with an interest rate of 11.99%. That new loan was awarded to me at 9.99%, saving thousands in interest.
I Changed My Business Structure and Look
Immediately, all of my performance coaching clients left me, and I completely understood. We were all just trying to figure it out and prepare for the future, hoping there’d be one. I also saw an immediate halting of new student sign-ups to my money-making membership course and an overall reduction in old and new business. I was so preoccupied with keeping my family safe and trying to find toilet paper that I didn’t care. It was every man for himself, and I was more focused on setting myself and my family up for success in the future than trying to get blood from a turnip. So, instead of trying to woo my clientele back at a time when everyone was in crisis mode, I took this time to revamp my businesses so that I could come back newer and stronger when the time was right. Here’s how I did that:
- Rebuilt my website and my online school on updated and new platforms.
- Rebranded with new logos, fonts, and colors.
- Cut back on available offers and services to make things simpler for my clients and me.
- Better automated and simplified my website and online school so that clients and students wouldn’t need me as much.
- Wrote and published a book to help clients who weren’t ready to come back to coaching, so that they’d still have guidance in the interim.
- Changed my pricing tiers, making my money-making membership course more accessible to those who needed help starting membership or subscription services as quickly as possible after being furloughed or permanently let go from their jobs. I also made one-on-one performance coaching pricier for new clients since selling my time during the crisis is more taxing than ever before.
I Applied for an EIDL Loan from the SBA
With my businesses losing money daily, I applied for and received a sizeable Economic Injury Disaster Loan from the Small Business Association. With this loan, this year’s financial losses aren’t losses at all, and the low-interest rate of 3.75% over thirty years makes it a breeze to pay back in far less time than the term allows. Still very cautious about the future, I tucked that money into the business’ savings account until I was ready to rebuild my business, which I wouldn’t do until the completion of the next step.
I Lowered My Bills Significantly
With a few years’ worth of personal and business savings, my debts paid off and consolidated, and my business reorganized , it was time to lower our bills all around. So, I reduced our living costs by thousands each month by moving my family into a less pricey neighborhood where we were able to find new construction, more nature, less people, and fewer coronavirus cases. Though we’re paying less, it’s quite the upgrade! It’s worth noting that I was sure not to use any EIDL funds for our personal move and decided not to relocate the business, just to be sure I am in complete compliance with the rules of the loan. So, if you have or will apply for the EIDL, be sure to keep their guidelines in mind when making plans to relocate.
I was also able to lower my business costs by cutting back on the company’s SaaS (Subscription as a Service) expenses, such as our web host and builder, and our marketing, membership, and online school software. I lowered some subscription plans and completely let go of others. This way, when my clients returned, there would be less overhead and more profit. Lowering the business’s monthly expenses also allowed me to change the pricing on automated offerings, so it was a win-win for everyone.
I Ended Relationships That Caused Strife
On a personal note, the pandemic has made me feel more comfortable ending relationships with people that I always knew were unequally yoked with me. These days, “I don’t have time for this shit” has taken on a whole new meaning and finality. We are in the middle of a goddamn crisis, and I don’t have the capacity for people who pander in complacency or complaining, silliness or sadness. Now more than ever, I brook no bullshit and have shown more than a handful of friends and associates the proverbial door. This has brought me an insane amount of peace and space to focus on what’s really important to my family and me.
I Cry Daily
Whether it happens at the end of the day or right smack-dab in the middle of a Zoom meeting, you can find me crying at some point during the day. The state of the world-at-large is just frigging sad, and there are vents in my personal life that make me emotional, as well. Sometimes, I cry because I’m grateful to be alive when so many have died, and sometimes I’m frustrated by the fact that I can’t do everything I want to do right now, like belly-up to the bar, order a beer, and shoot the shit with my favorite bartender. Sometimes, I don’t know why I’m crying, but I know I need to, and when I’m finished, I feel better. Still, I don’t wallow in my feelings. For me, it’s important to let them pass through me, to let them go, and to keep moving forward. Although it may feel like it sometimes, especially now, the world doesn’t stop for a broken heart. Prospering during a pandemic has been a delicate balance of feeling and doing, and though I find myself tipping the scales once in a while, maintaining that balance has been most advantageous.
I Bought a Spin® Cycle
I miss my indoor cycling class, and even though they’ve found ways to carry-on without me (like outdoor classes), I’m just not willing to take the chance of infection so that I can pedal in place for an hour! Plus, given the current financial climate, I am no longer interested in spending nearly $200 a month the sweat and breathe heavily in close proximity to other people. So, I bought a Spin® Cycle for under $400 and stared taking free classes with instructors I found on YouTube, like Gabriella Guevara and Kristina Girod. Not being able to go to the gym or take a class was tough on me, but with my new indoor cycle and free instructional videos on YouTube, I’m able to release a lot of the tension and anxiety I feel. Plus, I’ve lost ten pounds!
What’s Next in My Quest to Prosper in a Pandemic
Coming up, I plan to sit down with my lawyer and focus on getting my affairs in order, making sure my will, insurances, and final arrangements are up-to-date. This time of social and political upheaval has also piqued my interest in my right to obtain lethal and non-lethal protection for my family and myself. And while the economy continues to quiver under the weight of all that’s gone on and gone wrong, I will continue to focus on making and saving more money, living below our means, and investing in stocks like…toilet paper. Somewhat literally, lawyers, guns, and money.
This time in life hasn’t been the greatest, but after taking the calculated steps above, my family and I are (in many ways) living a better quality of life than we were before the pandemic. We are less annoyed by our debt, we’ve saved more money than we usually do, and I have streamlined my businesses in such a way that allows me to be more present in my personal life. Like most of us, I have realized what and who is essential, and it has caused me to cut out all the noise and clutter. We are far from the end of this thing, and with miles to go, I can only pray that we all remain okay, that we make it out of this moment-in-time alive, and that we not only survive these highly contagious and deadly days but that we find a way to thrive and come out on the other side better than we were before. Good luck, you guys!