the online branding school

my own irresistible brand

The creative entrepreneur’s compass for cutting through fear, competition, and confusion,
while building an experience your dream clients can’t help but love, share, and buy.

Thriving Through Uncertainty

To my fellow CEO, 

I want to start by saying this: 

We’re so sorry for what YOU are going through.

Even though we’re all in this collective moment of unexpected adversity, we understand that you may feel wildly alone in this. You may also feel scared, frustrated, angry, or confused—and you have every right to feel that way. These are all normal responses to sudden, unexpected loss.

Whether your business is currently dwindling or booming, pivoting or contracting, flourishing or floundering… this is a period of collective trauma, collective grief, and collective loss.

From the loss of our normal, everyday ways of being …
To the loss of our identity (and how we measure “success”) … 
To the loss of potential revenue …
To the loss of time and freedom …
To the loss of any tools you usually lean on to feel “balanced and normal” …

There is a LOT of loss and a lot of change to navigate right now.

So if you’re still scrambling to find your footing and feel secure moving forward, I want you to know you’re in the right place and reading the right guide. Because even though this moment is unlike anything we have ever experienced on a global scale, there’s a lot that feels oddly familiar to Scott and me.

Over the past 9 years that we’ve been in business, we have lived through so many intense moments of sudden crisis, loss, and upheaval, and we managed to recover and thrive through them all—however impossible it may have seemed at the time.

And after spending the last few weeks analyzing exactly WHAT we’ve done in the past and HOW we’ve taken action whenever a crisis happens, we feel particularly equipped to share our battle-tested “Crisis Protocol” with you—as you navigate through this new season of uncertainty. 

We know from experience that while recovery may feel impossible right now—and you might not know how—you can and you WILL recover from this.

In fact, if you aren’t familiar with our own story, our entrepreneurial journey literally began with us quitting our jobs and building our business during the economic fallout from the Great Recession. 

Which sounds bold and brave in hindsight, but in reality it was MESSY. There was so much immense loss and grief woven into our first year of business (as we navigated being disowned by my family, moving across the country, and getting married amidst my battle with depression and anxiety). In fact, in those beginning days, there were many mornings where getting out of bed was an accomplishment in and of itself. 

And yet …

In the midst of all that unexpected pain and loss, our NEW business was born.

You may already know this part of our story (especially if you’ve listened to our podcast series, Nobody Talks About This). 

But within one month of starting our business, we had so many clients that we hired our first team member. Within the first 6 months, Scott quit his day job and joined the business full-time.

And within the first year, we got married and made our first 6 figures. Soon we were living in a big house in Austin, Texas and had grown into a full-on branding studio with a team of 9.

Again, all of this sounds impressive in hindsight, but in reality it was MESSY. Not only was our multiple 6-figure business consuming us day and night, but we were running ourselves into the ground trying to scale, scale, scale. And then I got sick. VERY SICK. Like… I got West Nile and developed Meningitis (from a mosquito bite!) and ended up hospitalized for three months.

This meant I lost my ability to see, to walk, and my entire nervous system essentially shut down.

Our entire business relied on me to continue moving forward. I was the linchpin. Without me, everything was on hold. Our designers, writers, developers, and project managers kept working, but I couldn’t approve their work so none of the projects could be sent off to our clients. Our entire business stuttered to a halt while I was fighting for my life and Scott was doing his best to take care of me and save the business.

And yet …

In the midst of all that unexpected pain and loss, our NEW vision was born.

I’ll never forget the moment when everything shifted for us. 

Scott had managed to float our branding studio for three months, pay the team, and care for clients while I was hospitalized. But as the hospital bills started coming in, I remember Scott crying on my hospital bed (with HGTV playing in the background) realizing that we were in desperate need of a change. 

In that moment, the most important question I’ve ever asked came pouring out of me—“What do we want? What kind of life and business do we really want on the other side of this?”

Answering this ONE question—in the midst of the biggest crisis of our lives—is what led us to where we are today. 

(This is how Branding School started, by the way.)

And yet, our story doesn’t end there. After our first launch of Branding School, we paid off all our debts, bought a camper and a truck, and downsized our entire life so we could travel full-time for 2 years. Which again, sounds inspiring and dreamy, but in reality it was MESSY.

Living our “dream life” on the road left us in a constant state of unexpected crisis. Beyond the emotional challenges I was still facing (from all of my unprocessed grief and trauma—wounds I would eventually tend to in our next season), everything about life on the road meant we were always in survival mode. I’m talking melted tires, cracked axles, broken A/C units in the heat of summer, the truck breaking down in the middle of nowhere, unexpected deaths, having to plan funerals, holding friends through unexpected grief and loss of their own. Everything that could go wrong did.

And since coming off the road and moving to Florida, these seasons of grief, loss, and unexpected crisis have not stopped just because our business has made millions of dollars or because we’ve been in business for 9 years. 

The loss continues.

The grief continues. 

The unexpected seasons of crisis (in the form of hurricanes, flooded houses, chronic diseases, emergency surgeries, and deaths) have continued. 

All of this to say, despite everything you’ve seen us “achieve” over the years …  

We’ve been through it. 
And we’ve healed through it.

Which is why even though this global pandemic has brought so much trauma, grief, and loss for all of us—we know that your business CAN AND WILL thrive through this uncertainty, too. 

As humans and entrepreneurs, we were built to recover, rebuild, innovate, grow, and lead ourselves forward again (and again and again) as the ground continues to shift underneath our feet.

And whether you’re nodding your head in agreement or struggling to believe this could actually be true for you, we’re here to help you stabilize, strategize, and shift your own life + business in the midst of this crisis. 

Which is exactly why we’ve poured so much of ourselves into analyzing what we’ve done (and how we’ve advised our clients) to heal and grow through ANY new challenge, obstacle, or unforeseen circumstance. 

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic is the current crisis at hand, this guide is about establishing a Crisis Protocol for you and your business that will not only work for you right now, but will carry you FORWARD whenever you need it in the future. 

We are in this with you, for you, and alongside you.

With all our love,
Elise + Scott

PS: If a part of you has been secretly wondering just how “safe” it is to be in business right now, I want to remind you of this … 

Before we started our business, I was working as a designer at Sony Pictures. A year after I quit, my entire department at Sony got laid off. And to my surprise, co-worker after co-worker privately wrote me to say that the smartest thing I ever did was figure out how to make my own money. 

All this to say, even though this guide will help you create a NEW Crisis Protocol (so you can thrive through this season of uncertainty), I want you to know first and foremost: The smartest thing you ever did was choose to start your business in the first place. 

And even if you feel like you can’t depend on something or someone else right now, I want you to know you can depend on yourself to save your business. YOU are the one you’ve been waiting for. Always.

Now, let’s do this … 


Reminder: There is no hidden email opt-in or upsell offer. Every layer of this process will be covered in detail for FREE within this resource. 

Disclaimer: None of the information provided in this guide constitutes financial, legal, or medical advice. For complete disclaimer, please review our terms and conditions.

How to build your Crisis Protocol

There are three main phases to building a Crisis Protocol.

All three phases are essential and work together to calm your nervous system, maintain your cash flow, and unlock the creative power of your “CEO brain.” 

Phase 1: Stabilize yourself

This whole process starts with you. As the CEO of your business, YOU are your business’s most important asset. And unless you are leading your business from a place of capacity, groundedness, strategy, and wisdom, you will fray and dismantle your most precious resources—burning yourself (and your team) out in the process. 

This is why, in the midst of an unexpected crisis, you have to detach from any of the unhealthy patterns (modeled by the online marketing industry) which push you to operate in a rush, or make you feel anxious for not being productive enough and “contributing,” or encourage you to get sidetracked with busy work (more content! new signature offers!) that simply don’t deserve your time, energy, or investment.

In seasons of crisis, you must reserve your resources for only the most important actions.

Acting too quickly, expending energy on busy work, or simply losing track of your focus or time is a very natural trauma response in times of unexpected crisis. So if you’ve been feeling distracted or overwhelmed OR you already know you’ve been doing more than you need to (without much return), then please know: You are not alone in this and there is no reason for shame. This is a safe space for you. 

Taking the steps we recommend in this guide will create stability within you so you’ll be able to access the strategic side of your “CEO brain” which is needed to successfully stabilize your business. 

Phase 2: Stabilize your business

Once you’ve stabilized yourself, then it’s time to care for your business.

As the CEO, you’re already used to making smart and strategic business decisions and understanding how to manage your cash flow, projects, offers, messaging, team, customers, and all of the other responsibilities as CEO—but whenever an unexpected crisis happens, it raises a new question:

How do you lead your business forward when the ground is constantly shifting underneath you?

We created this free guide to answer that question. Within this step-by-step process, we will walk you through how we’ve created security and safety within our own business so that you do NOT have to stabilize, strategize, and shift all alone. 

Throughout the years, Scott and I have done it all—from taking out lines of credit, to floating our business with our personal savings, to keeping our operations lean so we have the agility and flexibility to pivot with ease. But our aim with this guide isn’t just to tell you what we’ve done in the past, but to give you a step-by-step, self-guided strategy that you can immediately implement within your own business so you can recover, rebuild, innovate, and grow—today, tomorrow, and every day hereafter.

Phase 3: Strategize for your future

For this last phase of your Crisis Protocol, we’ll analyze HOW your business functions so that more money can flow in and less time, energy, and resources can “leak” out. 

This is where we transition your business out of “survival mode” into “growth mode”—so you can thrive beyond the initial crisis. This is also why all three phases within this Crisis Protocol must work together layer by layer (and why we don’t recommend skipping steps in this process).

Because once the epicenter of a crisis has receded, there comes a season of breakthrough and opportunity.

Even when it seems impossible.

Even when the current crisis feels like it will never end.

Even when you can’t imagine a NEW reality that’ll serve your customers even better. 

Despite ALL the odds, a new future will unfold for you and your business—as new ideas, new words, new data, new purpose, and new vision unlock before your very eyes. 

And THIS is exactly how we’ll create this breakthrough within 3 phases … 

Phase 1: Stabilize yourself

Step 1: Calm your nervous system.

Step 2: Handle physiological needs
(food, water, shelter, medicine).

Step 3: Address personal layers of safety
(financial, physical, and mental health).

Step 4: Ask for the support you need.

Phase 2: Stabilize your business

Step 1: Future-proof your finances.

Step 2: Turn on “maintenance mode.”

Step 3: Extend care in layers.

Phase 3: Strategize for your future

Step 1: Create your short-term strategy.

Step 2: Plan for long-term success.

If you haven’t done so already, pull up a Google Doc or grab a notepad, because it’s time (and you’re ready) to learn, grow, and implement Phase 1 … 

Reminder: There is no hidden email opt-in or upsell offer. Every layer of this process will be covered in detail for FREE within this resource. 


Phase 1: Stabilize yourself

Taking care of yourself is the first and most important step to building a Crisis Protocol. In this ever-changing landscape that we’re facing on a global scale, there are a lot of unexpected challenges that can show up. And while there are some overlapping similarities in what everyone may be facing, there are also so. many. divergent experiences in terms of how loss, grief, and trauma are individually impacting each and every one of us.

And even though Scott and I are not therapists or trauma counselors (and thus, we cannot speak into every single divergence), all of the trauma work we’ve invested in over the years has radically shifted the way we approach business. Our trauma-informed approach is the reason we see YOU and all of the many ways you’re being affected right now. Whether you’re used to working from home (or not), whether you’re a parent (or not), whether you’re feeling more motivated than ever (or not)… we see you.

Remember to take all of this one step at a time. In the midst of a crisis, the most effective and efficient path forward starts with protecting YOUR energy—especially when your capacity and mental health are already being taxed by the trauma you’re living through (and processing) in real-time.

Step 1: Calm your nervous system.

Let’s start by talking about trauma, because an unexpected crisis of any kind—like we’re all experiencing right now—is a traumatic event. 

Therapist Hillary McBride defines trauma as “a negative and unexpected event that leaves a person feeling confused, overwhelmed, and powerless.” 

Onsite Workshops—a trauma treatment center—defines it as “any experience that creates feelings of overwhelming-ness and/or an event that is perceived as life threatening… a hallmark of trauma is a sense of loss of connection to ourselves, our bodies, our families, others, and even to the world around us. It’s as if, in trauma, we inhale a strong sense of loss and personal defectiveness with no direction as to how to exhale.”

So yes, right now, we’re experiencing a global traumatic event.

Which is already hard enough. But what happens when new trauma is layered on top of traumatic experiences in our past? → All those old emotional responses may be triggered too, making it even harder to process these new experiences. My point? Be gentle with yourself as you experience this trauma in real time. Be gracious with your brain, body, and nervous system as new symptoms appear—whether those symptoms are extreme levels of stress and anxiety OR exhaustion and total lack of motivation.

Experiencing trauma affects multiple parts of our brains—including the prefrontal cortex which is responsible for decision-making—which is exactly why it’s important to know that trauma is NOT a mindset issue. You might be hearing or seeing business coaches call out your “limiting beliefs” right now but please know: These beliefs are NOT because you are somehow limiting yourself, but because your brain is helping you protect yourself from further trauma. 

Simply put: What the entrepreneurial world deems a “limiting belief” is actually a defensive belief in response to unhealed trauma.

Beyond this, the part of your brain that handles decision making (the prefrontal cortex) also slows down and becomes “clouded” when you experience new trauma OR when you’re carrying old trauma that hasn’t yet been healed. 

This means there’s a LOT of pressure on your brain in the midst of trauma—including the decision-making part of your brain that’s needed to lead your business forward. This is WHY you have to care for your brain and your nervous system before you attempt to care for your business. Because in order to make the smart and strategic decisions your business needs you to make, you need your nervous system and prefrontal cortex working for you again, instead of against you.

How do you regulate your nervous system?

We love this incredible model (below) from Dr. Justine that explains why there are so many divergent reactions to stress and trauma. Especially in light of this global pandemic, it’s important to understand how your own nervous system responds to real-time trauma differently hour by hour, day by day, and week by week.

It’s important to note that in this modern-day era of online marketing, we are constantly surrounded by a culture that praises—and even elevates—overachieving, overdoing, and being in a constant state of HYPER-arousal. 

This is why some entrepreneurs are responding to this current season in “doer” mode (i.e. Hyper-arousal) while other entrepreneurs are beating themselves up for not doing enough (i.e. Hypo-arousal).

Either way, we’ve all been subconsciously trained to do more, show up more, and contribute more. When, in reality …

Doing less is a part of the grieving, healing, upleveling, and leading process. 

Which means, even if the deep internal work you’re doing behind the scenes to stabilize yourself doesn’t feel very sexy, marketable, or “productive,” it is still helping you process the crisis, stay present, feel connected to other people, and be grounded in your body. As you take steps to care for yourself first, you are simultaneously increasing your personal capacity while exponentially increasing your capacity to care for others in the future. 

Think of it this way: Whenever you take an airline flight, what’s one of the first things they tell you? → In case of an emergency, put your own oxygen mask on first. 

Which is exactly what you’re doing here—by regulating your nervous system. Especially since every single day looks/feels different right now. So depending on if you’re in Hyper/Hypo-mode today, your to-do list might have to change, or your schedule might have to change, or your “yes/no” might have to change. 

This is why Scott and I are HUGE fans of a concept called the Spoon Theory. 

This theory suggests that every single day we wake up with a certain number of “spoons” or units of energy. And that number of spoons? It changes from day to day. So even if you wake up expecting to have ten spoons to invest in your day, sometimes you’ll only wake up with three spoons to give.

Which means your energy isn’t something you can predict or measure in advance—especially in the midst of unexpected crisis or grief. Just the fact that you’re processing so many changes and new information (even subconsciously!) can take a LOT of spoons.

In fact, in this season, you might find you’re more tired than normal and needing to rest more than usual. This is because, according to the Spoon Theory, the only thing that gives you more spoons is sleep. 

This is why true rest is essential. 

Only once you’ve rested and regained some spoons can you show up and “pour out” again. 

This is where a daily check-in comes in to play. 

A daily check-in allows you to analyze your current capacity (i.e. your nervous system and “spoon” level) so you can prioritize what truly matters most each day.

Which brings us to the first action step in your NEW Crisis Protocol …


Based on the nervous system map (above), do a quick check-in with your body right now.

Are you currently in the Optimal Arousal Zone (calm, present, connected, and grounded)?
Are you in Hyper-arousal (tense, worried, anxious, overwhelmed, irritable, hypervigilant)?
Are you in Hypo-arousal (low energy, numb, disconnected, shut down)?

Important Note: We recommend using this nervous system map as a simple part of your daily morning check-in. We also recommend an additional check-in before you start working and before you share anything new with your audience—especially since creating from a state of hyper/hypo mode might not be healthy for you or your people.

Next, guide yourself through this simple list of daily check-in questions:

How do I feel today?
This question allows you to perform the necessary body/brain scan needed to analyze the current state of your nervous system and how many spoons you have to give.
How many spoons do I have today?
This question allows you to tangibly measure/communicate your spoon-level. 
What will I do to care for my nervous system and spoon level today?
This question allows you to protect your spoons.
What’s the most important thing I need to work on today?
This question allows you to use/invest your spoons wisely.

Important Note: We recommend communicating your daily spoon-level to your partner and team so expectations, schedules, and to-do lists can be adjusted accordingly. 

Reminder: There is no hidden email opt-in or upsell offer. Every layer of this process will be covered in detail for FREE within this resource. 


Step 2: Address your physiological needs (food, water, shelter, medicine).

In order to help calm our nervous systems (if they’re in Hyper/Hypo mode) and create a “baseline of safety” within your Crisis Protocol, we have to address your personal and most basic needs. In case you’re not familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, this graphic explains the different levels of human need—the baseline being physiological (food, water, shelter, medicine, sleep, etc.). 

Source: Illustration by @jeevanmalra

Why are your personal and most basic needs essential for crisis management?

Because whenever there’s a new or unexpected crisis, our baseline needs—which we may have achieved before—might be jeopardized.

Until those baseline needs are met, our brains will have a very hard time focusing on any other needs. 

So let’s make sure your most basic physiological needs are met first. 

Ask yourself…

→ Am I in a safe location? Can I stay here?

→ Is there enough food and water in the house?

→ Do I have the medicine I’d need if I were to get sick? What about prescription medicine?

This is your baseline. So anytime you start to feel yourself go into Hyper/Hypo mode, ask yourself if one of these baseline needs is currently in jeopardy. 

Are you worried about groceries? Medicine? Rent/mortgage payment? If so, address these needs first. Because once you are sure that you are housed, clothed, fed, and that your basic physiological needs will be met for the day/week, your mental capacity can expand to focus on the next (very important) step in your Crisis Protocol.

But first … 


Analyze your physiological needs. Based on which ones currently feel jeopardized, create a short to-do list. 

If your living situation feels insecure, what can you do to change it?
Ideas may include: Calling your bank and renegotiating your mortgage payments, contacting your landlord and renegotiating your rental payment, moving in with a friend/family member, etc. 

If your food supply is running low, what do you need to do to change it?
Ideas may include: Prioritizing grocery shopping at the top of your to-do list, ordering groceries online, picking up pre-made meals, alerting a friend/family member, contacting a local church or food bank, applying for SNAP Food Benefits, calling the USDA National Hunger Hotline, etc. 

If you’re running low on any other physiological need—sleep, clothing, water, or warmth—what do you need to do to change that?

Reminder: There is no hidden email opt-in or upsell offer. Every layer of this process will be covered in detail for FREE within this resource. 


Step 3: Your personal layers of safety (physical, mental, and financial health).

After you have adjusted for/accounted for your physiological needs, you can move onto the next layer within your Crisis Protocol—your personal safety. This includes your physical safety, as well as your emotional, and financial health. 

→ Physical safety

Feeling physically safe starts with asking the question, “What am I doing right now to care for my body and protect its health?” 

Good health is a privilege—a privilege we don’t always recognize until it is threatened, compromised, or lost.

There are also lots of systemic issues when it comes to equal access to such things as preventive care, supplements, whole foods, and insurance. So before we cover our short-list of precautions you can take to protect your physical health in the midst of a crisis, we want to acknowledge these systemic health care issues first and foremost—especially if you’re worried about getting the care you need and paying for that care whenever you need it.

So with these systemic issues in mind, my additional questions are:

Do you have a daily practice that supports the overall well-being of your body?
Our own daily practice (as recommended by our doctors) = 10 minutes of time in the sun before 10am, drinking lots of water, 8 hours of sleep, daily supplements, light exercise (i.e. a 30-min walk or some yoga), breathwork, guided meditations, and epsom salt baths. 

Do you have access to medical care for if/when you need it?
Even though Scott and I now have an amazing team of doctors caring for us, this wasn’t always the case. There were many years when our only medical care option was a local Urgent Care. Even so, knowing the best Urgent Care in our vicinity (which we’d find by researching Yelp, Google, etc.) gave us such peace of mind. Similarly, using Teladoc (a teledoctor service) has been such a gift to us. If you have insurance, the fee for booking a Teladoc session might be nominal or waived completely. They also have options for those paying out of pocket. Also, whenever we’ve needed to fill a prescription, GoodRX has made it easy to find the most affordable price (or pharmacy) in our area.
For COVID-19 specifically, myCovidMD—which was created by 3 female ER doctors—is helping under-resourced communities get free testing and access to telehealth services during the Coronavirus Public Health crisis.

The next layer of safety we want to address is your financial health.

→ Financial safety

Feeling financially safe starts with asking the question, “How much money do I need every month to cover my most basic needs?”

Answering this ONE question will give you the “financial baseline” you need to provide for yourself and your family.

If you do not know this number, it will be impossible to calculate which action you need to take next (i.e. how much money you’ll need to pull from your savings, what non-essential expenditures you’ll need to cut, how long can you sustain your financial baseline—even if no new money is coming in, or how much new money you’ll need to make to reach your baseline every month). 

Note: If you are stressed about new money coming in, we will help you create more cash flow (and cash reserve) later on in this guide. All you need to do right now is calculate your personal financial baseline. We’ll help you figure out HOW to meet (and exceed) that baseline once we talk about your business finances. 

→ Mental/Emotional safety

Feeling mentally/emotionally safe starts with asking the question, “Is my mental health suffering and do I need extra support in this season?”

We have fought many battles with mental health in our own personal experiences with trauma after years of struggling with codependency, addiction, depression, anxiety, grief, and anger. If you’ve listened to our Mental Health + Trauma episode of Nobody Talks About This, then you already know this part of our story and how we sought help and regained our mental health through trauma counseling. 

But in case you haven’t heard us say this before:

Healing your trauma is the most important “growth strategy” we could ever give you. 

Whether you’re recognizing old patterns, thoughts, and feelings as they’re reappearing in this season or you’re struggling to understand why new symptoms are showing up, just know that trauma that was left unhealed in your past might be currently amplified in the present.

The most difficult part of any crisis—especially a global crisis—is that there’s nothing we can do to “escape” the trauma. We can’t stay busy enough. We can’t distract ourselves enough. We can’t mask it enough—with vacations, deadlines, adventures, and friends.

In some ways, that can make this season incredibly dark and heavy, yet in other ways, the lack of escape and our urgent need of healing is what can make traumatic seasons—which are filled with deep loss, grief, and pain—seasons of simultaneous breakthrough.

In addressing your mental health needs, please, please, please remember: Knowing “what trauma is” and “healing your trauma” are two very different things. Knowing that trauma exists is simply the first step. Which is why the question then becomes:

Do you have the mental health support you need in this season?
If yes, then we recommend keeping this support (as a non-negotiable expense) throughout this crisis. If no, then we highly recommend listening to our podcast episode on Mental Health + Trauma and digging into all the additional resources we’ve linked for you on our podcast website. 
Also important to note: Some insurances are currently offering free teletherapy right now and many therapists are offering their services on a sliding scale. You can also search this website for free or reduced-cost counseling and other mental health services in your community.


Assess your current physical safety needs. 
Are you and your family in a safe environment?
If not, can you relocate to a new environment or alter your existing environment to make it feel safer?
Are you getting the medical care and/or medication that you need?
If not, spend some time researching your best medical care options based on your current situation. We provided some ideas and resources above.
Are you actively nurturing your physical wellbeing? What are some daily rituals that you could gradually introduce to take better care of yourself and your body?
Ideas may include: Epsom salt baths, time in the sun, nature walks, family dance parties, yoga, meditation, etc.

Assess your current “financial baseline.”
What non-essential expenses can you cut out in this season?
Note: If you’re struggling to determine which bills and debts are essential and which ones aren’t, this quick overview should help.
How much cash reserve do you have? If no other income came in, how long could your cash reserve/savings provide for you?
How much income do you have coming in right now?
How much income do you need to cover your most essential expenses?

Assess your mental/emotional health.
If you find yourself struggling mentally or emotionally, we recommend pursuing additional support. In addition to the resources we provided above, these are resources you can immediately download or access from your phone/computer (at little to no cost). 
The Science of Well-Being (Yale’s highest rated class about increasing your happiness and building productivity habits) is currently free for a limited time.
Todd Herman (a peak performance coach) created this mental health checklist + video so that you can personally track your mental health from day to day.
Here are 10 Virtual Therapy and Mental Health Apps to Cope With Coronavirus Stress
There’s also Lift: A science-based app for depression and anxiety and Turn: A science-based app for substance abuse 
Note: LIFT is offering a free one year subscription for anyone who joins in April! Email for information.
If you need urgent support, hotlines, or access to resources local to you: here’s a detailed list to bookmark for immediate support.
Or if you are not located in the US, here is a list of international support lines.

Reminder: There is no hidden email opt-in or upsell offer. Every layer of this process will be covered in detail for FREE within this resource. 


Step 4: Ask for the support you need

“Shouting ‘self-care’ at people who actually need ‘community care’ is how we fail people.” – Nakita Nvalerio

As a modern-day society, “self-care” has become the resounding cliché we offer to those who are struggling to keep their head above water. And yet, when it comes to implementing your own Crisis Protocol …

“Self-care” is NOT enough. 

As human beings, communal support is essential to our sense of safety and security. Especially in seasons of grief, loss, and trauma, it can be easy to slip into withdrawal, hopelessness, and “permanence” (i.e. the belief that the aftershocks of a crisis will last forever).

All this being said, the community care we need may be hard to come by due to distance, health concerns, financial pressure, outside obligations, etc. Which makes this connection and vital human need all the more important. 

The problem is, as a society we don’t know HOW to process or respond to grief. This is CRAZY, considering that grief is something that touches every single human life in some way. 

Whether you’re on the receiving end of grief (as a crisis happens to you) or on the supporting end of grief (as a crisis happens to someone you know), we are ALL impacted by loss, and we ALL need to learn how to grieve. 

And yet, in seasons of crisis, we often don’t know how to ask for help or how to offer it. This is why we worry about saying or doing the wrong thing, or overstepping, or overasking. It’s also why, on both ends of the grief equation, there is so much unnecessary hurt, silence, misunderstanding, loneliness, embarrassment, resentment, and fear. You may have already felt many of these confusing feelings when confronting loss. 

During my own journey through grief, I didn’t understand WHY I was responding the way I was or HOW to support others in the midst of their own grief until I read Option B by Sheryl Sandberg.

As Sandberg explains, the fears and feelings we all feel surrounding grief are most likely amplified by the fact that … 

“All over the world, there is cultural pressure to conceal negative emotions. In China and Japan, the ideal emotional state is calm and composed. In the United States, we like excitement (OMG!) and enthusiasm (LOL!). As psychologist David Caruso observes, ‘American culture demands that the answer to the question “How are you?” is not just “Good.” … We need to be “Awesome.”’ Caruso adds, ‘There’s this relentless drive to mask the expression of our true underlying feelings.’ Admitting that you’re having a rough time is ‘almost inappropriate.’”

On a GOOD day, this stigma around sharing our real emotions often leads to isolation—as we keep ourselves hidden from being fully seen and fully known. 

But in order for us to experience the communal support we truly need, this cycle has to be broken. Not in a future crisis. Not when our grief deepens more than anyone else’s. But here and now.

If we are to break this cycle of emotional isolation, we CANNOT allow ourselves to withdraw in crisis.

Can we still take breaks from social media? → 100%.

Can we still value our alone time? → Absolutely. 

But for us to be able to experience true community and support, we need to break this cycle … within OURSELVES. 

So where can you start?

→ Identify your feelings so you understand where you need support. 

You must acknowledge the range of emotions you feel right now—however messy, negative, or “inappropriate” they may be. You may already know what is going on emotionally, or you may be struggling to define your feelings in the midst of this crisis. Wherever you are, it’s never too late to expand this skillset.

Identifying your feelings (as they change from day to day) is an essential part of stabilizing yourself throughout a crisis. Because once you can identify WHAT you are feeling, then you can ask for the support you truly need. 

These “four feeling families”—as explained to me by my trauma therapist—are a really good place to start since they give you the power of specificity. Whenever we can identify specific emotions without using general or overarching terms (such as “sad, “mad” or “afraid”), we can uncover the ROOT of our true fear. 

Two relevant examples:

Overarching Feeling: “I am mad at my friends right now”
Specific Feeling: “I am disappointed and hurt that my friends aren’t taking COVID-19 as seriously as I am.”
Root Fear: “I love my friends and my fear is that they will come to harm or unknowingly harm someone else around them.”

Overarching Feeling: “I am afraid we’re overspending.”
Specific Feeling: “I am anxious and panicky because we are making less than we used to and I don’t know if there’s going to be enough money this month.”
Root Fear: “My fear is that we won’t be able to pay rent unless we go into debt OR that we’ll hurt our credit and delay our long-term goals of home ownership.”

All this to say, once we understand our own feelings and our root fear, it makes it easier for others to understand what we’re really going through AND how they can help.

Which brings us to the last (and most important) part … 

→ Start asking for the support you need 

It’s absolutely essential that you seek out support in crisis, and it’s absolutely possible that you will find it.  When given the opportunity, people will show up. They will help. They will do what they can to support you.

Our cultural programming tells us that asking for help means we are “too much” or “too needy” or “too much of a burden,” but this is NOT true. Once we break this cycle of guilt and shame within our own lives by opening up and asking for help, we can show others how to break this cycle within their lives too.

So in the midst of this crisis (or any other cycle of trauma, grief, and loss), whether you are needing support OR giving support, you can exemplify WHAT a crisis support system should really look like.

In this way, “community care” may start with you … but it won’t end with you. 


Use the simple process we’ve outlined to analyze your current emotions (as they change from day to day). Overarching feeling > Specific feeling > Root fear
Read this if you need more support identifying your feelings.

Share what you’re feeling TODAY with someone you know, love, and trust (i.e. someone who’s already proven to be a safe person for you).

Ask someone to check-in on you
Share what you’ve learned about grief and trauma with your safe person(s) and ask them if they’d be willing to check-in on you over the next few weeks/months. We recommend a simple daily text message with the question, “How are you feeling today?” or “How are you feeling right now?” This question is neutral (i.e. it’s not influencing what you should or shouldn’t feel) and it’s time-specific (i.e. it makes it easier for those in crisis to answer because the overarching question, “How are you?” is too broad and impossible to answer as grief is constantly shifting and changing from day to day and hour to hour).

You can ask someone to check-in on you via text, phone, or video call. A few examples:
“Could you send me a little check-in text over the next few days? I’m really struggling with my mental health and feeling [insert specific feeling] because [insert specific crisis].”
“I’ve been really missing you! Can we hop on a Zoom or FaceTime call today or tomorrow? I haven’t shared this with anyone else, but I’m really struggling with [insert specific crisis].”

Ask someone for specific support
Based on what you’re struggling with right now and what you need, ask for help from the safe people in your life. If you don’t ask, they don’t know. So please, please, please make the ask. 

Flip the script and check-in on those you love
As your capacity increases, start using these same grief techniques to support, love, and help others in return. Sending check-in text messages (as outlined above), making time for Facetime/Zoom dates, getting coffee/food sent to their house, dropping off something you know they need, helping to alleviate financial pressure, etc., will go a LONG ways. 
For additional ideas, the Option B team has put together lots of new resources, including: 
Resilience in crisis: Helping yourself and others 
How to support others during the COVID-19 pandemic


You’ve now completed Phase 1 of the Crisis Protocol!

Now that you’ve successfully stabilized your nervous system, cared for your physiological needs, created a plan for financial, physical, and mental safety, and asked for the support you need … 

You have the capacity to lead your business forward from a place of calm, clarity, creativity, and innovation. 

It’s time (and you’re ready) to transition into Phase 2: Stabilizing your business.

Reminder: There is no hidden email opt-in or upsell offer. Every layer of this process will be covered in detail for FREE within this resource. 


Phase 2: Stabilize your business

Thriving Through Uncertainty means taking stock of where you and your business are right now and creating new levels of predictability and stability for yourself moving forward—even when there’s a lot happening outside of your business that’s beyond your control. 

Whenever we experience a crisis of any kind—whether personal or professional—it can cause a domino effect of anxiety, stress, and panic, especially if your business is your only source of income and you haven’t had to implement a Crisis Protocol before.

But here’s the good news: If you’ve done the work in Phase 1 to stabilize yourself, you are READY to be the CEO your business needs you to be right now. 

** Side note: We are HUGE fans of this brilliant Facebook post (from Todd Herman) about the differences between fear-focused CEO’s, un-focused CEO’s, and strategy-focused CEO’s in the midst of COVID-19 ** 

As we shared earlier on in this guide, there are 3 steps to stabilizing your business in the midst of a crisis. We will walk you through each step in detail (so you know WHERE to invest your time, energy, and resources in this season), but what we want you to know first and foremost is: Even though this crisis has left so much chaos in its wake …

Your business does NOT have to stay in a state of chaos. 

Seasons of crisis always shine a light on everything that wasn’t working in the business before the crisis. They also sometimes “break” parts of the business that were actually working well. 

Please, please, please remember: This does not mean you have done anything wrong. 

You are NOT to blame for this crisis.
You are NOT to blame for what’s breaking in your business.
You are NOT to blame for the stress and anxiety you are feeling right now. 

So if you’re carrying around any guilt, embarrassment, or shame for how you’re “failing as a CEO,” I want you to leave all of that at the door and focus instead on just one thing: Using the knowledge you now have to build the strongest, leanest, and most resilient version of your business … so that it can withstand anything that comes its way in the future. 

So with all that said, let’s get started … 

Step 1: Future-proof your finances

The first step to strategizing on behalf of your business is assessing your current financial situation. Then, once you have the lay of the land, you can start caring for your numbers by making smart, strategic CEO decisions that’ll future-proof your business and create a new level of predictability, safety, and security for you moving forward. 

To analyze your business financials, start by asking the following questions:

How much cash reserve do I have?

Are there outside funds that I can access if needed? 
Note: This might include a business credit line, your personal savings, a 401k, an asset that can be sold, a family member who’s offered you a loan, etc. Knowing where you can pull money from in case of an emergency helps to create extra layers of safety for your business. This is never option A, but when you’re creating a Crisis Protocol, it’s important to know all your options.

How much revenue is coming in now, or in the near future?

What am I currently spending money on (i.e. where is the money going)?

How long can my business continue to operate based on the money coming in and the cash available?

To make it easy for you to calculate and analyze all of this financial data, we’ve created a custom Financial Assessment Calculator!

Get immediate access to this free calculator HERE.

Yes, this financial calculator is 100% free. No opt-in or purchase necessary. To access it, all you need to do is click the link above and select “Make a Copy.” In turn, this will create a private version of the spreadsheet (within your own Google Drive) where you can safely and securely enter your data. 

Please, please, please remember: If your numbers are not what you want them to be right now …

Do NOT worry. 
Do NOT panic.
Do NOT shame yourself.
Do NOT judge yourself.

Money is always a math problem and there is always a solution.

As a part of this Crisis Protocol, you will create a strategy for how to improve these numbers going forward, but before we can improve your numbers, we need to know where you’re starting. This way, you will have all the information (and tangible data) you need to make wise financial decisions now AND in the future.


Create a copy of the calculator we provided. Once you’ve created your own copy, no one will be able to see what you enter into the calculator but you. Take a few minutes to complete the calculator so that you can see—at a glance—where your business stands financially. 

Remember, if these numbers are not what you want them to be, that’s okay. As we work to improve your numbers in the next few steps, you can return to this calculator and update your numbers to reflect these improvements. Which means, from here on forward, you’ll be able to track and see your business as it recovers and grows in real time!

Reminder: There is no hidden email opt-in or  upsell offer. Every layer of this process will be covered in detail for FREE within this resource. 


Step 2: Turn on “maintenance mode”

Next up, you need to reclaim your time, energy, and resources so you can invest them as wisely as possible during this season.  

To be clear, Scott and I believe you should always protect your time, energy, and resources (this is what we live, breathe, and teach every single day), but when an unexpected crisis happens, these three assets HAVE to be protected as if your entire business depends on it. Because it does. 

That’s why, as a part of our own Crisis Protocol, we created → Maintenance mode

“Maintenance mode” is what we consider the bare minimum needed for our business to continue to be in business. This includes the minimum sales needed to generate the minimum revenue needed to pay the minimum bills. This also translates to the minimum team, minimum marketing content, minimum to-do list, etc.

Essentially, maintenance mode allows you to create the leanest version of your business possible, which will free up your time, energy, and resources so that you can hyper-focus on the most profit-generating tasks and thrive amidst the uncertainty. 

In this way, maintenance mode accomplishes two very important outcomes:

It allows your business to calm and stabilize itself,
It gives YOU the time you need to process, grieve, and heal so you can strategically lead your business forward from a place of wisdom instead of panic.

This new level of stability gives your business its baseline.

Which means, as long as you are at least in maintenance mode, your business will still survive, you’ll still pay all the bills, and everything will still be okay.

Important Note: The goal with maintenance mode is NOT to stay in maintenance mode forever.

No business can stay in maintenance mode long-term, but in seasons of unforeseen crisis, reverting into maintenance mode can give you the capacity you need to weather the storm until you can transition into “growth mode” on the other side.

I took this picture at a public rest stop in 2018, when Scott and I were escaping Hurricane Irma.
I cried so hard when I saw this sign—alongside these free socks and sanitary pads.

Over our past 9 years in business, there have been several seasons in our lives that have required us to enter maintenance mode. And there’s no denying the fact that maintenance mode has literally saved our business AND saved us—as individuals and as a couple—multiple times. 

This is why we want to remove all of the guilt, pressure, and shame that the online marketing industry has perpetuated when it comes to doing more, achieving more, and scaling more in the midst of a crisis. 

You are allowed to stabilize first.
You are allowed to grieve first.
You are allowed to be a human first. 

And THEN—then you will have the capacity you need to break every single glass ceiling you were always meant to break.

But before that … 

You have to define what maintenance mode looks like for you and your business.

→ Expenses

Every business has expenses that are needed for it to operate. But those expenses look different in different seasons. In maintenance mode, you want your expenses to be as lean as possible. 

To help create this lean version, we recommend creating two lists: A “cut” list and a “maintenance-mode” list. The first question you’ll need to answer is, “Where can I make cuts to decrease my expenses?” Look through your bank statements and past purchases. You might find recurring expenses (like software subscriptions, office supplies, etc.) that are not necessary in this season to keep your business operating. All these expenses go on your “cut” list.

Next, make a list of all your “maintenance mode” expenses. Answer the question, “What are the things that are absolutely essential for me to stay in business?” Everything else could get cut, but this specific “maintenance-mode” list of expenses will always be a priority.

→ Team

As business owners, it’s an honor and a privilege to provide employment for other people, but in crisis, there might be a moment when downsizing your team becomes vital to your business’s survival. 

Although we hope you’ll never have to use it, make a third list of which roles are essential to your business in maintenance mode. Without these roles being filled, the business cannot stay open. All other roles could be downsized in maintenance mode, if needed. 

→ Revenue

Now that you know the bare minimum expenses your business needs in maintenance mode, we can calculate the bare minimum revenue that you need to generate to “keep the lights on” in your business. The goal is to get this “needed revenue” number as low as possible to make it as easy as possible to stay in business while in maintenance mode. So if your current revenue target is $5,000/month, that is going to be more challenging to generate than $3,000. How can you get creative and restructure your business to decrease expenses so that you only need $3,000/month? 

This maintenance mode revenue number becomes your new goal. Now that you know the total, you can do some math to know how many sales you need to generate.

So if you need $3,000/month to stay in maintenance mode, this means you would either need to sell your:

$1,000 offer 3 times each month
$100 offer 30 times each month
$10 offer 300 times each month

Figuring out HOW you’ll hit this new revenue goal is where your creativity and ingenuity as an entrepreneur comes in!

→ Other maintenance mode considerations


As business owners, we’re constantly outputting—whether that’s social media content, newsletters, podcasts, DMs, ads, etc. And while this kind of output is important to the success of your business, in maintenance mode the goal is to make everything as lean as possible. This means you don’t need to spend as much time/energy/resources outputting social media content, or podcast episodes, or newsletters, or new sales funnels during this time.

Remember, maintenance mode allows you to do the bare minimum so that you have the capacity you need to focus on other things (like grief, healing, etc.). We do not want you to (accidently) reroute any time/energy/resources to busywork or vanity metrics. 

Other commitments

During maintenance mode, you are also required to reduce the number of things you say “yes” to. Whether that’s being on podcasts, participating in online summits, or pursuing new ideas. If it doesn’t help you with your maintenance-mode goals, it’s a “no” in this current season. 

Remember, maintenance mode is NOT a forever thing.

It is a season of adjustment that paves the way for healing, security, innovation, leadership, and growth.

Once your business has the baseline it needs to survive, growing beyond that baseline becomes your next step. 


As you start to define your own version of maintenance mode, we want you to write down each step so you can see your maintenance-mode plan in one place. 

Your first to-do is looking through all your business expenses to see where you can lean down. This is your “cut” list. Remember, maintenance mode is the bare minimum needed to keep your business operational. It might be painful, but there will be benefits in being aggressive here. 
Next, make a list of all the “maintenance mode” expenses. These are the expenses that your business can’t operate without. 

Look through the roles and team members that you have supporting your business. The business phrase for this is called your “skeleton crew.” Just like the skeleton is the most basic structure in a body, this maintenance mode crew is the leanest team structure you need to keep the business running. Maybe your skeleton crew is just you. But make a list of the essential roles and team members in your maintenance mode, and don’t forget to calculate their wages into your expenses above.

Run the numbers to figure out how much revenue you need to generate in maintenance mode (Example: $3000/month). Then translate that number into the exact number of sales your business needs to make (Example: “I need to sell my $1,000 offer 3 times, or my $100 offer 30 times, or my $10 offer 300 times”). This is your maintenance-mode revenue goal.

Output + Commitments
Take some time to analyze how much marketing/sales content you’ll need to output in maintenance mode to hit your revenue goal (it might be less than you think). Where can you free up time and capacity in these areas? Send fewer newsletters? Post less frequently on social media? Say no to new collaboration requests? Back out of commitments?

Your Maintenance Mode Plan
Once you’ve successfully analyzed these 5 areas and strategized how to lean your business down, it’s time to execute the plan. Cut the expenses, restructure the team, narrow down the output, and cancel the commitments. 
With a lean business, we can focus on generating more revenue to hit that revenue goal (and beyond). 

Reminder: There is no hidden email opt-in or upsell offer. Every layer of this process will be covered in detail for FREE within this resource. 


Step 3: Extend care in layers

As the business begins to stabilize in maintenance mode, you’ll feel yourself breathing a sigh of relief. There is a calm that comes over the business once you can sense that the business is going to be okay. 

Remember that analogy we mentioned earlier about putting your own oxygen mask on first in case of an airplane emergency? You have to put yours on first so that you don’t pass out before you can help the people around you. The same is true here. We’ve been working to put the “oxygen mask” on you and your business first. So before we move on to the thriving phase in this Crisis Protocol, let’s pause and look around to see who needs help putting on their own masks. 

In other words, now that you have cared for the business, it’s time to extend that care to your people. Because now that YOU are okay, we need to make sure that your people are okay, too. 

At first, you might not have a lot of extra capacity to check in on a bunch of different people, so we recommend checking in with your people in layers.

Layer 1: Team members — Check in on their safety and well-being. Make sure they feel valued and communicate your willingness to support them as they continue to support you and your business in this season. You’ll also need to communicate any changes happening in the business so that you can keep them focused on the most important tasks at this time.

Layer 2: Current customers — Communicate with them regarding fulfillment of their product/service. Your clients are the people who are most committed to you and your brand, so caring for them is a high priority. Let them know you are here to support them through this season. This is your chance to provide 5-star customer service.

Important Note: When communicating with your customers and team, we recommend using some of the grief-informed tools we already shared. You want to stay vulnerable, empathetic, open, and futuristic to keep morale high.

Layer 3: Audience — Once you’ve extended layers of care to yourself, your team, and your current clients, you can then extend care outwards to new potential customers and colleagues (i.e. your wider network, audience, and community). But remember: there is no rush. Stay gentle with yourself and mindful of your capacity. Check in on yourself, your nervous system, and your spoon level.

Please keep in mind: communication may be strained in times of crisis, so you’ll want to stay gentle and open. Remember, everyone around you is going through trauma, grief, and uncertainty in their own way. It’s important to remain kind and compassionate.

We recommend incorporating grief-informed questions such as, “How are you feeling today?” since this is a neutral, non-threatening question which:

Allows them to share how they’re really feeling/doing (since this question doesn’t influence what/how they “should” be feeling right now)
Gives you precious and valuable information re: their current emotional, physical, and mental state (so you can pivot or adjust accordingly) 


Using the trauma and grief skills you learned in Phase 1, the first thing to do is analyze your current capacity. 
If you have enough capacity to start reaching out to people, check in with your team first. 
Then, if you still have capacity, check in with your customers. 
If you have capacity beyond that, then check in with your audience. When you’re ready to start sharing via email or social media, I would read this for guidance on some best practices and COVID-19 specific tips.

Reminder: There is no hidden email opt-in or  upsell offer. Every layer of this process will be covered in detail for FREE within this resource. 


Phase 3: Strategize for the future

Now that you’ve stabilized yourself and your business, the next step in your Crisis Protocol is strategizing how you’ll generate new revenue and lead your business forward into the future.

Of course, having your financial “baseline” in place (so you can safely float your business for a few months) is important and comforting, but the key to Thriving through Uncertainty is strategizing how you’ll advance beyond the initial crisis. 

This is where we transition your business out of maintenance mode into a season of growth. 

Important Note: If you’re currently depleted from operating in maintenance mode, that’s 100% okay. There is nothing wrong with staying in maintenance mode until you’ve stabilized and regained the capacity you need. Once you DO have capacity, Phase 3 is for you. 

To safely transition your business into a season of growth, we recommend:

Implementing your short-term strategy (so there’s new cash flow coming in)
Reenvisioning your long-term strategy (so your life + business can thrive in all-new ways)

When combined together, these two growth steps will help you generate the cash flow you need NOW and ensure your continued growth, resilience, and success beyond this current season. 

Step 1: Create your short-term strategy

Whenever a crisis happens, time is of the essence. So even though we don’t believe in rushing to sell a product/service whenever it’s NOT ready for your customers, we do believe that “money loves speed.”

Which means creating a short-term strategy—that allows money to flow in the door quickly and easily—will keep your business stable and ensure you don’t get stuck in a financial-crisis loop moving forward.

This is why, when it comes to your short-term strategy, we want you focused on:

The Path of Least Resistance

Just because you’re strategizing ways to grow in this season doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a season of crisis. There will still be days when you won’t have a lot of energy or “extra spoons” to give. Which is why now is NOT the time to be planning that big, exhausting launch or creating that next signature offering. Your strategy for the short-term should be about creating quick wins and easy sales that require as little from you as possible. That way you’re able to use the rest of your resources to lead yourself and your team through this crisis. 

A Relevant Offer

As you’re analyzing which of your current offers to promote in this season, we want you to hyper-focus on the offer that passes this 3-tiered test:

1) Your most profitable offer
2) Your “easy yes” offer
3) Your “now more than ever” offer

If your offer is profitable but takes months to sell, it doesn’t make the cut. Or if your offer always sells easily but isn’t relevant to your customers right now, it doesn’t make the cut. Or if your offer is needed “now more than ever” but it isn’t profitable, it doesn’t make the cut.

Example #1: If you’re a massage therapist who can no longer practice in person, your existing offering isn’t going to be relevant in this season and you’ll need an entirely NEW offer.

Example #2: If you’re selling a high-ticket mastermind (that’s centered around an in-person meetup this summer), your existing offer won’t be an “easy sell” in this season. Most likely, you’ll have to pivot and create a NEW virtual experience that serves your customers even better.

All this to say …

If you don’t have an offer that’s relevant at this moment … it’s time to innovate. 

So with that in mind, here are 4 strategies for increasing your revenue in the short-term:

Generating more revenue from your current customers.

This works well if you have an offer that you’ve sold in the past that’s already proven to be an “easy yes.” An “easy yes” offer is something that is highly profitable, requires very little capacity from you, and has a high conversion rate. To sell this offer you can approach existing/past customers and offer it to them. It’s always easier to upsell to someone who has bought from you before than it is to sell to a new customer.

You can get creative here, but it’s important that this upsell offer creates a win-win situation for you and your customer. The more irresistible you can make the offer, the more likely it will feel like a gift/relief to the people who choose to take you up on it. 

Closing sales that are already on the table.

Maybe you have some open proposals that haven’t signed yet. Or maybe you had a hot lead that ghosted you or that you forgot to follow-up with. These are sales just waiting to be made. You could reach out to these potential customers and sweeten the deal you originally offered to close the leads. 

When reaching out to potential customers, remember to start with empathy and compassion first and foremost. You don’t know why they ghosted. This may be a tough season for them too. What would a win-win look like for them in this season? A payment plan? A smaller deposit? A discount? An added bonus? A faster turnaround? A longer coaching container? Again, it’s about creating something that is both relevant and irresistible to them.

Supporting your customers in a NEW way

By tapping into your creativity, you can brainstorm new ways to use the assets, resources, and skills you already have to provide needed support to your existing customers. 

Some real world examples:
Balance Culture, a fitness studio, pivoted in the midst of this crisis and created an  online fitness membership, MOVE
Three Boudoir, a photography studio, pivoted in the midst of this crisis and created The Virtual Photo Shoot
Naked Farmer, a local farm-to-table restaurant, pivoted in the midst of this crisis and created a farm-to-door delivery service
Curly hair stylist, Stephanie Mero, pivoted in the midst of this crisis and created digital classes for cutting your hair at home

Again, this is about assessing the market and what’s happening within your community/network and using the assets, resources and skills you already have to generate revenue in a creative way.

New offer ideas

While this is the hardest way to generate revenue in the short-term, you could create a completely new offering. There’s a lot of room here for creativity and innovation. Some of the most innovative and beloved companies today were a direct result of the 2008 recession. There are LOTS of opportunities if you feel led to this kind of pivot. 

Here are some practical ideas that may help you create something new:
Create a digital version of your service
Create a lower-ticket offer
Create a higher-ticket and done-for-you version
Create a DIY version
Create a hybrid done-with-you version

Remember: What used to work might not work in this new season. So how can you innovate, adapt, and pivot to grow even in the midst of the current crisis?

Regardless of the strategy you choose to generate new revenue in this season, don’t forget the criteria for your short-term strategy which = the path of least resistance AND a relevant offer. 


Which of the ideas above do you have an affinity towards? Which seems like it could be the path of least resistance for you and your business? Which option sparks new ideas for how you could offer something profitable and relevant to your customers?

Write down your ideas, but before you start executing those ideas, ask yourself these 4 questions:

Will this idea be easy/simple to execute, or will it require too much of me in this season?  
Is this idea highly profitable (as in, does it generate a high enough ROI once I calculate in the time/expenses required to execute)?
Is this idea an “easy yes” offer, as in, does it have a good conversion rate already?
Is this a “now more than ever” offer, or is it less relevant to my customers in this season?

If your answers to those questions are, “it’s easy to execute, highly profitable, an ‘easy yes,’ and relevant in this season,” then it’s time to execute your short-term strategy. 

Reminder: There is no hidden email opt-in or upsell offer. Every layer of this process will be covered in detail for FREE within this resource. 


Step 2: Plan for long-term success

When we’re in the middle of a season of crisis and uncertainty it can be hard to imagine WHEN or HOW it will end. But if there is one thing we know—that has proven true over and over again within our own lives and business—it’s that all seasons (even the most difficult ones) eventually transition into something NEW.

So while we’ve spent the majority of this guide talking about how to recover and thrive in the midst of a crisis, please don’t forget: Eventually this season of crisis and uncertainty will end and you’ll transition into the next season. 

As Sheryl Sandberg shared in Option B, 

”We plant seeds of resilience in the ways we process negative events. After spending decades studying how people deal with setbacks, psychologist Martin Seligman found that three P’s can stunt recovery: (1) personalization – the belief that we are at fault; (2) pervasiveness – the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life; and (3) permanence – the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever. Hundreds of studies have shown that children and adults recover more quickly when they realize that hardships aren’t entirely their fault, don’t affect every aspect of their lives, and won’t follow them everywhere forever.”

This is the GOOD news. This is the hopeful part. This is where we confidently remind you that …

Every crisis has a beginning, middle, and end. 

Which is why, as the final step in your Crisis Protocol, we want to switch your “CEO brain” from focusing on your short-term needs to investing in your long-term success. 

Now, just to be perfectly clear, we are NOT fortune tellers. We can’t predict when a crisis will end or what your next season will look like—especially since every business owner and business is unique. But having walked through many crises within our own business (and as consultants for other businesses), what we can tell you is this:

Right now, you’ve been given a rare moment in time to ask yourself ONE important question:

“What kind of life and business do I really want on the other side of this?” 

THIS is the question we’ve asked ourselves in the midst of every crisis we’ve walked through, from the hospital bed all those years ago, to the current crisis we’re all facing today. 

Because every single hardship, every single loss, and every single crisis we’ve experienced gives us the opportunity to question what’s really working for us and what isn’t. 

Do we really like what we’re selling and how we’re selling it?
Are we really excited about how we’re spending our time and who we’re spending our time with?
Are we really pursuing what we want to be doing or are we ignoring (and bypassing) our true beliefs and desires?

Elle Luna describes this line of questioning as, The Crossroads of Should and Must.

Whenever you’re in the midst of a crisis—such as the one we’re all facing right now—questioning the status quo and your current trajectory is a part of the process. This doesn’t mean you have to change everything about your life and business on the other side of this crisis, but this current container—this pause in reality—is allowing you to question, readjust, and realign so you can choose and build the life and business you really want on the other side of this.

As Luna so perfectly writes, 

“Finding our calling doesn’t mean we need to quit our jobs. And it also doesn’t mean we need to book a one-way ticket to a faraway magical land where there’s no cell service. […] The harder road, trickier, and more sustainable, is to make shifts every day within our existing reality. To integrate, not obliterate. […] Weaving our Must into our existing reality is about co-designing small opportunities with our teams. It’s about setting aside quiet time to be alone with our thoughts, and then actually following through. It’s about doing one small thing, anything, to honor our personal truth — today.”

Which means, despite the crisis we are all walking through right now, there’s a new reality that exists beyond this moment in time. 

And as crazy as it sounds right now, you get to affect this new reality and choose which aspects of your life + business you want to create (or return to) on the other side of this. 

Whether that sounds exciting or daunting, liberating or terrifying, hopeful or unobtainable, the GOOD news is, all you need to start this process is to answer these two questions: 

What do I really want from my business? 

This is where you’ll tap into your intuition and explore your own desires, feelings, frustrations, and needs. Here are some prompts to help you explore this even deeper:

What do I truly love doing?
Who do I truly love investing in?
What do I truly want to make/create/sell?
How much of my “job” do I truly love?
What is my business truly providing for me in return (financially, emotionally, etc.)?

What do my people really want from me? 

This is where you’ll tap into your real-time data to see what this data is already trying to tell you. Here are some prompts to help you explore this even deeper:

Which offers are truly selling?
Which offers are truly giving people results?
Which channels are truly performing?
What content is truly resonating?
What needs/problems am I truly solving?

When you combine your intuition with your real-time data, you’ll discover the “gaps” in your current trajectory that are keeping you from truly THRIVING. 

Giving yourself permission to question, readjust, and realign these gaps (so they can actually give you the life and business you really want) is the turning point that will transition you out of a season of crisis into a season of breakthrough. 

As Michael Gerber so beautifully wrote: “So if your business is to change—as it must continuously to thrive—you must change first. If you are unwilling to change, your business will never be capable of giving you what you want.”

Which means YOU are the change-maker. 

As the leader and visionary of your company, this comes down to you. 

What about your life + business would look, feel, sound, and BE different if it was capable of giving you what you really want?

Picture it. All of it. 

Because even if you feel like you can’t depend on something or someone else right now, you can depend on yourself to create this life and this business.

You are the one you’ve been waiting for. Always. 

Now, let’s go and make it happen … 


What kind of life and business do I really want on the other side of this? What new reality are you going to create for yourself? 

Start by following your intuition and answering the following prompts:
What do I really want from my business?
What do I truly love doing?
Who do I truly love investing in?
What do I truly want to make/create/sell?
How much of my “job” do I truly love?
What is my business truly providing for me in return (financially, emotionally, etc.)?

Then, ground your intuition with real-time data and answer the following prompts:
What do my people really want from me?
Which offers are truly selling?
Which offers are truly giving people results?
Which channels are truly performing?
What content is truly resonating?
What needs/problems am I truly solving?

Combining these two overarching questions will help YOU shape your new reality on the other side of this crisis. And if you’ve already done the work in Phase 1 and Phase 2 (to create capacity for yourself and your business in this season), then it’s time and you’re ready to recover, rebuild, innovate, grow, and lead yourself forward … into the FUTURE. 

Reminder: There is no hidden email opt-in or upsell offer. Every layer of this process will be covered in detail for FREE within this resource. 


Congratulations, dearest CEO!

Now that you’ve completed all 3 phases of this Crisis Protocol, you’re well on your way to Thriving through Uncertainty!

We’re so impressed by you and your willingness to fight for the future of your business. This determined spirit is what qualifies you as a CEO and assures us that you have what it takes to survive AND thrive in this season of crisis and emerge with new strength, renewed hope, and unshakable resilience on the other side.

We hope this in-depth resource guide has been deeply encouraging and supportive to you in your season of crisis. But if there’s anything we can do to clarify OR if you have any questions as you’re implementing your own Crisis Protocol, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

We are here for you and we are willing to help. 

We’ve poured everything into creating this resource guide because we LOVE our entrepreneurial community. And we’ve also made it 100% free (i.e. no opt-in or purchase necessary) so it can help as many people as possible.

So if you feel led to share this resource with a friend, colleague, or client, feel free to share this link with them. 

Or, if there’s anything we can do to support you through your own implementation process and/or if you’d like to drop us a line (letting us know what parts of this guide spoke to you the most) …

Here’s how to get in touch:

Our favorite way to connect is via Instagram. You can send us a DM here.
Or, if you’d rather email us, you can email us here. 

We’re in this with you, for you, and alongside you.


With all our love,
Elise + Scott