Was there a time in your life when you question your confidence in the business you’re running?
Yes. There were lots of times in my life that I think of, am I really fit to run this business? Did God really make me CEO of this business? It’s so hard. There were a lot of times when I failed. And there were a lot of times when literally I was on my knees, locked in the room and all I can do really is humble myself before God and pray. And I tell him, “Lord, I cannot do this anymore, I don’t know what I should do.”
And one clear picture of that is at the start of this pandemic. And my business, SEO Hacker, was also affected. Workplays, my fourth startup was also affected. Qeryz was also affected. Everything was affected.
So that was one time when I recently got on my knees and had to pray and I just was honest with God. And I said, I don’t know what to do. Please help. And, you know, God gives you wisdom. It came directly from Him. And so we were able to keep all our team members in the team. We never fired anyone or trenched anyone. We made programs to adjust big rates, but we also made sure we in the execom, we took pay cuts. Zero. We did not get a salary and I even took out from my own safety net to make sure that people got paid the right amount, even when our clients weren’t paying us right.
So most of my clients are local and I understand. They were also going through this crisis. Their customers are also not paying them. We have to understand during times of crisis, you can’t do business as usual. It has to be relationships. That is when you use the relationships you have built with your clients and understand each other. So with my clients, same, I understood them that they can’t pay right now. I also had to haggle with my people. This is what we’re going to do. Better for all of us to suffer a little than some of us would have to suffer a lot and lose their job. So we all agreed to that. And that’s how we made it through. No one got axed in our organization. We kept everyone in the team.
Another thing that helps me is my journal. That helps me to process what I’m feeling. So instead of me being angry and just exploding to other people, could be my family, could be other people in the team. I don’t know. But I try my best to keep that from happening and thank God, it didn’t occur anytime. And that’s because I journal. When I am not rested, I feel restless and I feel like there’s something really bothering me. I pray and I journal. Those two things helped me process and help me release and vent out the emotions that are just overwhelming for me.
Now, a lot of people I know don’t do it that way. Instead, they would post statuses on Facebook, Twitter, and they would post their rants in there. We call that leaking out and it’s not good. You know why? And there are some employees who do this, sadly. I tell people, especially business owners, if your employees do that, they leak on social media, you now know it’s fair game. Because it’s public domain. Social media is a public platform where the public can see what they’re posting. Yeah, it could be their friends, but their friends are part of the public. It’s not they’re not part of a secret private organization. They’re part of the public. Twitter? The same, it’s a public platform.
So that’s what I say, do not leak your emotions, especially on social media. Write it down in a journal. Pray about it. That way you have dignity and you have honor to keep things yourself, not exploding to anyone, and you didn’t hurt anyone in the process, but you were able to let it out. You were able to vent it and you feel better and you can process things better and you see clearly, and overall it is a much better, more sophisticated way to handle your emotions.