A lot happened in 2020, and it all came very quickly. I became a dad to a newborn, I was building a new Amazon product called Littil with my wife, Maricia, and the COVID-19 pandemic forced me and my agency to close down our Hollywood office and work remotely. That’s a lot to handle all in one year, and although there were some bumps in the road, I have no regrets. 

When I think back to how I managed to juggle so much during a global crisis, I can note the five things I did that kept me going. 

I Saw My Loss As A Win

Although I was disappointed to shut down our Hollywood office, that loss was replaced with a win that added to my happiness. 

Before COVID-19 hit, I was working 10 to 12 hours a day, and — I have to admit— that came from a place of not having a proper work/life balance coupled with my desire to push the business forward, get more clients, and meet our current clients’ expectations. 

When COVID forced a lot of businesses to close, our business slowed because clients were spending less. Suddenly, I had all this free time, which I spent with my newborn baby girl. In the months following the closures due to COVID, I’ve seen her grow. Had I continued with my 10-hour schedule pre-COVID, I would have missed all of the memorable moments I spent with her.

I Sought Help When I Needed It

COVID-19 led to the closures of many businesses. As an agency, we relied on clients for revenue. It worked like this: The more businesses they had, the more money they had to spend on advertising. However, when COVID hit, many businesses panicked and cut down their expenses, which meant they spent less on our services. This affected my agency. As a result, I took advantage of one of the business loans the government was offering to affected businesses, pushing my pride aside. 

I Gave Thanks To What I Had

When things seemed like they were spiraling out of control (I’m sure it was hard for everyone when businesses were shutting down back in March), it was easy to think of only the negatives and not the positives. It was easy to only think about the agency going completely remote, a change we needed to adapt to. It was easy to only think about businesses losing money, and in turn, the agency losing clients. 

Each day I made it a habit to sit with my wife and talk about the things we were grateful for. This ritual forced us to stop for a minute and recognize the good things that were happening in our lives during this trying time. Of course, there were a lot of things to be grateful for in spite of the chaos: good health, shelter, food on our plates each day, our supportive parents, working electricity, warm showers — the list goes on and on, but when times are tough, these are easy to overlook.

I Prepared for the Worst

Although it’s important to be optimistic during trying times (after all, what else can get us going when things go sideways other than hope?), it’s incredibly important to prepare for the worst. When COVID first hit, I was honest with myself. I knew COVID wasn’t going to last three months or even one year. I knew it was going to be something we were going to deal with for at least two years. 

Preparing myself for the worst, I approached my home Marie Kondo-style: I sold items that I no longer needed, that I no longer used. I simplified expenses, saved up, and prepared for a long-term economic slowdown. It’s important to have an honest discussion about your financial situation and living within your means.

I Used My Time Wisely

Although COVID has taken a lot from our normal lives, it has given us one thing: more free time. Without the commuting and the social life, we have so much more time, now more than ever. However, it’s important that we use that extra time wisely because once COVID ends, you’ll wonder whether your extra time was well spent. 

My wife and I used our extra time building a new line of Amazon products called Littil. When we started, we only had one model, a clip-on selfie light that attaches to phones. Now we’ve added several more.  It’s amazing how much growth we’ve experienced with our second business, and it was really helpful to have that extra time that COVID and social distancing provided. 

The year 2020 was a difficult time for many, and it was a time when a lot of events dominoed very quickly, falling on top of each other. I was overjoyed when my wife and I had our baby girl, excited when we started our brand, Littil,  and disappointed when the agency had to leave the Hollywood office to work remotely. But, I kept my thoughts positive, prepared for what’s to come, asked for help when needed, and spent more time with the people I love. And that kept me going. 

Brian Meert is the CEO of AdvertiseMint, a Hollywood based digital advertising agency that specializes in helping successful companies advertise on Facebook, Google, Amazon and Tiktok. AdvertiseMint has managed millions of dollars in digital ad spends in entertainment, fashion, finance, and software industries. Brian is the author of the best selling, The Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising, a member of the Forbes Agency Council, and a thought leader and speaker.