Lockdown Lessons – Ten Steps to Navigating Come Back as Entrepreneurs

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The current season calls for compassion, care, empathy, forgiveness and a calm resolve – the slow transitions from shock to resistance, to a slow acceptance; are aligned to any type of deep trauma that can be experienced in one’s life. It is a slow road towards owning a calm resolve. It ought not to be an automatic or robotic response and no one can tell us how to arrive there and at what pace we should be heading there. 

It is not with ease, that one is called to place our lives and our livelihoods on an indefinite pause and with limited certainty. However, it can contribute to working in good stead; towards a resilient and shatter proof disposition that can weather future situations.

This is fragile territory and whilst the world has seen tragedies, none have affected us quite this way – simultaneously, relentlessly, being of such magnitude and unfolding with such rapidity. 


We cannot diminish the reality and we cannot replace it with any fancy terms or references. It is completely devastating, in one word.

Esteem in this current season of COVID-19, has to be one of the most sought after pieces of resolve – especially among daily paid workers, gig and creative professionals and entrepreneurs (especially Women Owned, SME and Family Owned Businesses), who have been simultaneously left to feel the biggest sense of displacement the world has ever known. 

As we exercise social distancing, we are learning to spend more time in solitude, with our own thoughts and lots of seemingly free time. Time we would have usually spent commuting, navigating traffic jams, having unnecessary meetings or even that luxury of spending the extra 15 minutes of our lunch break. Suddenly all time is bulked into one full day of ‘unscheduled’ inactivity.

Our resilient dispositions are being tested and they are slowly unfolding, whilst our capacity to surrender is taking on a whole new face.

Some of this capacity to surrender, has at its core, a slow unravelling of creativity and self care, of compassion and openness to the unknown. We are replacing struggle with strength and replacing chaos with courage – a restoration of our resolve in the many years of creating a strong brand or business model, which has now catapulted to a startling halt caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As a seasoned impact leader, interacting with a diverse global community of entrepreneurs over the years, there is always a strong sense of responsibility that goes with investing in a brand – your brand.

Brand YOU has been put to a new test, with the focus largely on staying safe, staying inside and reducing spread to promote recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Inside of these uncertain days, there are a few ways to explore the future of opportunity with our business models that would propel innovation and creativity out of urgent necessity. 

Bearing in mind that everyone processes this type of shock in different ways and at different times, it is important to understand that these perceived opportunities will not be the primary catalyst for springing into action. In many cases, folks still have to walk through the stages of grief and to process their entire situation, before making any of the new adjustments to what will eventually be recorded historically; as the transitioning to a “new normalcy” in the world.

The steps to follow will feel different to all and this is the time for compassion and forgiveness both to self and others. 

Here I share with you, ten ways we can use the down time to reemerge with readiness, all on our own terms. It is packaged into five phases. Each phase can be interspersed for adaptability to one’s own situations.

Phase 1

  • Rest and Recovery – the demands of self care and acceptance are par for the course in this stage. Pause deliberately and take your time. Listen to your inner voice. Interact with all of your emotions – the positive and the painful. If you require help, seek out conversations with those who you can trust and engage, without judgement or find a professional that can support your emotional healing process. 
  • Recalibration and Remodelling – once we begin gravitating to a sense of even minimal acceptance and comfort about the bigger picture, we can begin to daydream and discover. These first set of dreams might be fuzzy but do not discount them, instead, begin remodelling in our mind’s eye, where we wish to be, what our businesses might be able to create or deliver beyond the ordinary and what are our destinations beyond the present chaos and fear. 

Phase 2

  • Rotation and Renovation – this is where we begin to play and formulate some of our current or old ideas. They can be tossed around to suit the new situations, from offline to online, from community based to global, scaling from small to vast or vice versa. This action is akin to how we deliberately reposition our furniture in the room.
  • Recording and Restoration – this is where we can take the time to document our new ideas, placing them into new formats, akin to how we take before and after snapshots when we are restoring an old piece of furniture or doing a home improvement project.

Phase 3

  • Referencing and Reverting – as you gain your footing, you are now ready to use your insights, new learnings and innovations to become clearer on your new/enhanced business model or vision. 

In some instances, there is a need to realign these new models and visions to one’s ethos and the overall value proposition set out to be offered to those who we wish to serve.

  • Regaining and Restoring – by this time, confidence of a reshaped business model, service format or solutions offering would have been regained and restored. This is a place of joy and cohesion and a place where there is clarity of navigating a brand and a new future.

Phase  4

  • Reviewing and Repositioning – As the clarity and confidence emerges and there is a full idea of the way forward, this affords great opportunities for reviewing and evaluating on a regular basis to ensure this model is ready to be repositioned to give the winning outcomes and a stronger strategic position in the market locally, regionally or globally. 
  • Replenishing and Rising – at this point, there is a natural ability to get back on track with a more assured sense of esteem and by this time, there is buy in from a diverse set of teams and communities that have already understood and invested in a value proposition and a strengthened brand or series of brands. This is time to rise like the phoenix and become the best version out of what would have been a one of a kind crisis recovery. 

Phase 5 

  • Revelation and Rebellion – Your badass and well poised self is in full form here and is ready to show the world a newly fortified brand, fully equipped with its resilient identity, that has been groomed over time. You have earned this status and we own the tools and the new arsenal that you require to create a positive change in the world – a positive and sustainable revolution is about to happen and it is because of investments in courage and passion that were restored because of full engagement and commitment to phases 1 and 2 
  • Ready – congratulations on getting here. This journey required dedicated preparation and a steady committed focus on self care as a primary act of love. The culmination of a series of steps and phases is what is required to emerge and celebrate the victory of navigating towards a comeback and reemerging readily as an entrepreneur during the lockdown period. Now that we have arrived here, with a strengthened resolve there is a new and fulfilled sense that will remain to teach generations that owning the process of resilience has to start with personal care.  

Views expressed are the author’s own. Nicole