All this reminds me of 9/11.
I learned some very valuable lessons back then that are applicable to the crisis we are facing now.
There ARE opportunities for YOU amid this chaos and uncertainty, if you keep the right mindset.
Watch my video below.
Be safe…but keep your eyes open for the opportunities all around you.
Let’s talk about coronavirus and all of the paranoia and hoopla that’s going on in the world.
RoundTable members get a 9-1-1 coupon to call Perry in an emergency. I was running a 4-Man Intensive this past week, and in the middle of it Lorena was like, “Perry, one of the Round Table members needs to talk to you,” so I get on the phone with him.
He runs a huge fitness center in Chicago, and all the Chicago public schools and Catholic schools are shutting down and all the kids are going home and he’s like, “Hey, I’ve got to keep this place running. What do I need to do?” and I had a flashback.
In 2001, September 11 happened and it was a very weird time. It was a doubly weird time because just before then, the company I was working with was under agreement to get sold to a larger company. Then the 9/11 event happened, which sent everybody into a state like a stupor. Everybody was just walking around in a daze.
I remember a trade show I went to the following week, and everybody was just zombies. It was like they’re walking around and they’re seeing equipment sitting on the display tables, and there’s vendors and there’s people to talk to, but nobody is really talking about anything and nobody is really listening to the presentations because everybody is in a daze.
I remember for about a month or month and a half, the phones weren’t ringing. Nobody’s working on projects. There’s no purchase orders coming in. Everything is just really strange. And at this time I have to decide what I’m going to do, because the company is offering me a job but it’s not a very good job offer.
My wife is telling me to go out on my own. She’s like, “Perry, this is your chance,” and I’m looking out the window like, “Well, jeez, nobody’s flying anywhere on airplanes.” It was a lot like this virus thing, honestly. It was very similar. Nobody’s doing anything, nobody’s hiring anybody, and the world is just at a standstill.
I was trying to decide if I’m going to take this job or not, and this one lady said to me, “When you’re in the time of crisis, that is the time of maximum opportunity. This is the time to make your move, Perry,” and so I made my move. I didn’t take the job, which my co-workers thought was crazy, and I launched out on my own.
About three weeks later I get a newsletter in the mail from Dan Kennedy. Dan says, “Hey everybody, listen up. Everybody’s walking around in a daze. Everybody’s sad. Everybody’s mourning. Everybody’s depressed. We lost 3,000 people in New York City and I get it, but listen. If you’re not at Ground Zero digging bodies out of the rubble, or somehow or another directly engaged in the relief efforts to solve this problem, if you’re not literally hands-on helping people in some way, get your ass in gear and go sell something and go build your business, because all of the hand-wringing and all of the crying and all of the mourning isn’t going to do anybody any good, especially not you.”
He went on to say that you have to realize that everything that happens in life, bad or good, creates opportunities. The day you drop dead and they take you to the morgue, there’s a funeral home that’s going to get fees. There’s a casket company or a cremation company or an urn company that’s going to sell you stuff. There’s going to be a cemetery that’s going to sell you a burial plot.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you can’t be sheepish about the fact that a hospital, a mortuary, a morgue, a funeral company, and a coffin company does make money off of other people’s misfortune. In fact, everybody makes money off of somebody’s misfortune. That’s just a fact of life. The fact that you need to eat a sandwich this afternoon, the fact that you’re hungry, is a sort of a misfortune, and the sandwich shop is benefiting from your misfortune, if you want to look at it that way.
Dan was like, “Hey people!” and smacks you on the face. “Wake up and get to work!” and I took that to heart and I did get to work. I started hustling and I started reaching out to people.
You know what I found out within about three months? It became obvious that the world had switched from, “Hey, let’s fill this position with an employee” to “Let’s fill this position with a freelancer or a consultant or a contractor,” and it was the perfect time for me to go out and do 1099 work and do marketing consulting work for other companies.
You know what? 9/11 can happen and people can be walking around in a daze, and for a few weeks nobody is really doing anything, but you know what’s still happening? There’s still a stock market. There’s still investors. There’s still owners of companies. There’s still payrolls that have to be met. There’s still sales forces that have to go out and sell something. There’s still all of the things that go on in the world, and the same is true right now with coronavirus.
Maybe your town is like my town. I live in Chicago and this week they’re shutting down the schools and they’re trying to make it so if there is an outbreak in the United States, it would go slowly instead of going fast. That’s fine. I get it. We’ve all got to cooperate and we’ve all got to be healthy. Maybe in some cases it’s wiser to stay home than to get on an airplane. I get that too, but we’ve all got to do business.
Here’s an example. Just this morning my wife comes in and she tells me about the coffee shop down the street, Lunges and Lattes. Lunges and Lattes is like a yoga exercise place and a coffee shop all in one place. This lady named Angela started it about a year ago, and she’s just a very regular ordinary person just like anybody else. She’s not rich or anything. The coronavirus has sharply affected her business, and she’s been very transparent about this.
She’s on Facebook and she’s saying, “Look, people. There’s people canceling their memberships and they’re not coming in anymore. There’s people that are staying home and they’re not coming in and buying coffee. Frankly, everybody, this is kind of scary because if this keeps going we’re going to close our doors.”
Now, I want you to take a cue from her. She says, “So here’s what we’re doing. We’ve taken all of the little sugar packets and all that stuff off the counter, and now you ask the barista for that kind of stuff, and the baristas are washing their hands all the time. As you can see, this place is squeaky clean. We disinfect everything. The floor is so clean you can eat off of it.
“This is a safe place. You can come here. We’ve got hand sanitizer, but come in and drink a cup of coffee. Come in and get in an exercise class with 10 other people. If you’re not comfortable being in an exercise class, do it online. You can buy a $10 membership to do the exercise class online right now. Right now it’s on the honor system because I can’t afford the technology to put it behind a paywall, but I’m trusting you.
“The world doesn’t stop, and you don’t stop needing exercise just because there’s a virus. In fact, you probably need more because you’re sitting around at home and you’re not going places. And let me add, by the way, it doesn’t keep you from going out of your house, taking a walk, riding your bike, or any of that kind of stuff.”
I’m in the same boat as she is. I’m running, of all things, a live seminar May 27-29. We do not know if our live seminar is going to actually be a live seminar – it could be – or if we’ll have to switch it to virtual. If we switch it to virtual we’ll still give people a real live seminar later and they’ll get 2 for the price of 1, and we are already planning some really interesting technological advances and applications and ways to make the virtual meetings that we have much more interesting than just webinars. You can watch your email box for more about that later, but it’s going to be highly interactive. We’re taking full advantage of the situation.
I had to cancel a speaking engagement in Rome, and it got postponed until October. I had a speaking engagement at Harvard. The invitation came last Saturday, and then on Sunday Harvard University announced, “We’re canceling all of our meetings,” so that got kicked down the road. I’m in the same boat as everybody else.
I think all of you can take a cue from Angela at Lunges and Lattes, and here’s what I mean. Most people are going to default to watching CNN, being paranoid, being terrified and hunkering down, and then indulging a bunch of bad habits while they sit at home and do nothing. That is what your customers will default to, absent any leadership to push them in any other direction.
What you need to do is you need to stand up and be the leader, be the evangelist, and say “Hey people, this is what we’re doing. We can’t do it this way so we’re going to do it another way.”
I told the guy at the fitness center, “People’s need for fitness and tennis lessons doesn’t go away just because there’s a virus. You need to figure out what kind of tennis lesson can you give via Zoom or GoToMeeting or Skype or whatever communication channel you want to use.
“The parents of your kids that are coming in to these classes, that have to suddenly stay home, the parents are wondering what to do because now they’ve got a kid at home all day long. ‘I don’t want him just playing video games. I want him taking his virtual tennis lesson over Skype. I want him talking to his tennis coach.’” I said, “At some point, all of this is going to come back and people are going to start coming back into the gym.”
People are going to start coming back into Lunges and Lattes, and you just need to have shown that you’re clearly the leader. You can actually use this as an opportunity to pull people together.
In Planet Perry we’re not sitting still. We’re rolling with the punches. It very well may be that a Round Table meeting in Europe gets cancelled. We’ll just make other plans. We will still serve our customers. We’ll still make sure their marketing is going forward. We’ll still make sure that their businesses are growing.
If you’re a Renaissance Club member, you can get in the forum and you can talk to all of our other members about how we’re all rolling with the punches, but you need to get in front of your customers. You need to be a leader. You need to tell them what’s going on.
You need to tell them what you’re going to do, and you need to call them out, because the media sells fear. It thrives on fear. It’s systemically dependent on fear. But entrepreneurship thrives on confidence and forward motion, and nobody’s going to do it if you don’t.
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