Welcome back to our SPECIAL EDITION podcast series about how to market your online business in a time of crisis.

(This series comes in response to what’s happening worldwide with the recent COVID-19 outbreak.)

Listen to Special Edition 1: Episode 160 right here.
Listen to Special Edition 2: Episode 161 right here.
Listen to Special Edition 3: Episode 162 right here.

Before we dive into this episode, I want to remind you of 3 ways Team Hirsh is offering additional support throughout the next weeks (and ongoing!) –

  1. This Special Edition Podcast Series will have daily episodes to support your biggest marketing + business strategy decisions, starting now until all your questions are answered! SUBSCRIBE right here.
  2. We will release a Special Edition Hirsh Marketing Report every Friday into the foreseeable future, to share specific ads strategies, results, and behind-the-scenes information. SIGN UP to receive this weekly report right here.
  3. And we’re opening up our Hirsh Marketing Insiders Facebook group where I’ll offer additional free video trainings and take your individual questions about marketing strategy and ads! JOIN the group right here.

Note – All these resources are FREE, because we want you to have everything you need to make the best decisions in the coming days, weeks, and months.

Now, let’s dive into today’s topic – how to lead in the midst of chaos.

I want to start by saying, I think this unprecedented moment in time is an incredible opportunity for entrepreneurs to step into their role as leaders.

Whether you lead a company, a small team, a single contractor, a community, an online audience… you are a LEADER.

And your people are looking to you for direction.

That doesn’t mean you need to find the perfect solution to every problem, predict the future, or hide behind a mask that says, “Everything’s totally fine!”

Quite the opposite.

It’s your job right now to (1) acknowledge what’s happening, and (2) encourage your Team (and/or followers) to keep up momentum.

Now’s not the time to panic and throw in the towel.

Now’s the time to dig deep, get grounded in yourself and your processes, and show up transparently, in ways you’ve never done before.

In this 25-minute episode, I’ll go into detail about what “leadership” means in a time of uncertainty, PLUS…

  • The most important thing you can do right now as a leader
  • Exactly what I’m doing to lead my team, my clients, and my community
  • And how I’m staying grounded (i.e. how I’m focused on what I *can* control)

If you want 1:1 support in clarifying your marketing strategy through this crisis, we’ve also opened up additional strategy calls specifically for this reason. Head to HelpMyStrategy.com to apply!

And if you have a special request for a future episode in this series, please send me a DM on Instagram (@emilyhirsh) or email team@emilyhirsh.com.

Key Points:
[3:50] This is an opportunity for me (for you!) to step up
[5:30] If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re a leader
[9:02] Here’s the most important thing you can do as a leader right now
[10:55] That doesn’t mean asking your team to hold your feelings…
[12:41] Admit that you don’t have all the answers!
[14:15] Here’s how I’m doing this with my Team
[17:44] You have to show up “grounded” in yourself, your plan, your PROCESS
[20:55] You’re job right now is to keep people in momentum

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Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of the Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast! If this podcast has added value and helped you in your business journey, please head over to iTunes, subscribe to the show, and leave us an honest review. Your reviews and feedback will not only help us continue to deliver great, helpful content, but it will also help us reach even more amazing entrepreneurs just like you.


Episode Transcript:

Emily Hirsh: Hello friends, and welcome back to the podcast. Isn’t this fun to be here daily with me? I am definitely enjoying recording these episodes, but even more so, just grateful to have this platform where you guys are tuning in, and just being able to do something to not only support but, make it feel more like a community. I think that’s really important right now. Everybody is really just doing their best, I think. And to navigate this, to… There’s a lot going on. Not only in business, but I know a lot of you who have kids, have your kids home from school. Your routines are completely messed up and not what you’re used to, and I know that’s hard for a lot of us. It’s hard for me. And it’s hard to be… It’s just a weird time, it really is. It’s hard to be stuck in a house.

It’s hard to have restaurants and places all closed. And even if it’s open, it’s really weird going out. You just feel like, “I’m not supposed to be out.” Even if you go driving, it just feels like a very weird time. I haven’t left my house in days, which is actually normal for me. I don’t have a lot of reasons to leave the house. But, it just feels weird knowing there’s nothing for me to go do if I wanted to leave the house. I am very grateful. I was telling my husband last night, I didn’t always live in a relatively big house with a large yard and a lot of property. Just, maybe four years ago, we lived in a tiny, little house, it was so small and had one bedroom, and it’s where I started my business. Well, we had two small houses.

One was basically a master bedroom, so it was like a studio. It wasn’t even a studio. It was literally a master bedroom, we turned it into a studio. And we were there for eight months [after] my son was born. And then we moved into a very small one bedroom house and with no yard at all. I would be going a little bit crazy with my kids right now, if we didn’t have this space. I mean, I feel like I am going a little bit crazy with the kids, because we also don’t have our nanny right now. So, I feel for you, if you’re in that situation. And I just want you guys all to know, we’re just doing our best. And if you can remind yourself of that during the day and during the week, this week and into the next month, it’s not going to feel… I know for me, I always feel like, I give myself a hard time if I don’t have a perfect day with my kids or a perfect day in my business or I’m not super productive or whatever it is.

And I think we’re going to have a lot of days like that right now. So, give yourself some grace and just know that we’re all doing our best right now to navigate life in a way that we’ve never had to before. This is so weird, right? And [it’s] the whole world, it’s not even just the United States. It’s just so crazy. Today’s daily episode, I am going to dive into leadership in this chaos. And this is just my perspective. I feel like I was born to be a leader. I feel like when I have the opportunity to step up and lead my team, lead our clients, lead my community, it’s what comes very naturally to me, and I really enjoy it. It makes me feel like I’m in momentum. It makes me excited. And so, I want to dive into some of the things that I’m doing right now. And if you’re just tuning in, just a reminder, right now I’m doing daily podcast episodes, as like a special edition, just around everything going on with COVID, with the economy, with businesses.

So if you have requests for that, you can send a message to me on Instagram [@emilyhirsh] or team@emilyhirsh.com. We also are really seeing a weekly marketing report, so you can go to HirshMarketingReport.com to subscribe to that. This will be specifically around things we’re seeing in marketing and Facebook Ads right now, strategies we’re using on clients, numbers, it’s going to be really awesome. And that’s coming out every Friday for the foreseeable future. And then, [the] third thing is, we have our Hirsh Marketing Insiders, Facebook group community that I’ve opened up again, just for free support, guidance, community, questions answered around marketing in this time. And then the last thing is, we are opening up specific strategy calls with our team. You can go to, HelpMyStrategy.com, and book in those, which will support you in creating a marketing plan, pivoting if needed, with your marketing right now in your business.

So, this is one of those daily episodes, and let’s dive into leadership in this chaos. So the first thing I want to say is, right now if you are a CEO or you run a team or you have people who look to you in any way, an audience, customers, a team, even if it’s literally one virtual assistant as a subcontractor, you still have somebody kind of looking to you during this time. And I want you guys to all recognize that you have an opportunity right now to step up as a leader and to support the community. And that’s why I’m doing all that I’m doing: the daily podcast episodes, and [I’m] very involved with my team on our huddle every day. Just really supporting people through this. Because, a lot of… everyone looks to the leaders during this time. And we have this amazing gift to be able to support a massive amount of people. And I think, that’s a massive privilege that I don’t take lightly, and I’m always looking to, “How can I serve and how can I support in that way?”

And so first, if you are in that situation where you have anyone, an audience, a team, family members even, and you are an entrepreneur, you are a leader, and people are looking to you right now, they’re looking to you for how you’re going to respond mentally and actual actions you’re going to take and how you’re going to handle all of this. And you get to be that example for your audience, for your team, for your customers. And that is a gift. And I don’t think you should take it lightly. I think you should step into that power. I don’t want to put pressure on you and make you feel like, “My gosh, what should I do?” But I think you know what to do, if you haven’t already started taking action. And I want you to see it as a responsibility to step up as a leader and to lead your community, lead your team, lead your customers and your clients right now.

So, I know that right now specifically around my team and our clients, they’re looking to me as the voice of this brand, as the leader of the brand, for the stability, for… It really hit me on Monday when I got on our team huddle, and then we do a weekly ads team meeting, that it wasn’t… The team members weren’t coming on saying, “I’m nervous or uneasy or…” Whatever they were feeling. Nobody kind of brought it up until I did. Until I was like, “Okay guys, let’s just talk this out. Let’s talk out what we’re seeing. Let’s talk out the plan.” And I could feel the shift in energy from the beginning of our meeting to the end, after we’d had a lot of collaborative experience and conversations with each other, that people were just relaxed a little bit more. They felt like, “Okay, we have a plan, we’ve got this, we have each other, and we have a plan for our clients, for our community.” And everyone felt like they were in momentum, in a time where you could actually feel the complete opposite.

So, your team, your community, your customers, your clients are looking to you for stability right now. And your job is to kind of bring that and bring that plan and what we’re going to do and how we’re going to get through this and connect everybody, not just you connected to your team. But for me, it’s about connecting my team all together right now, too, making sure they are collaborating, making sure they feel supported, and making sure that our clients feel that same thing. Connecting our team to our clients in a specific way, that is my core focus. And so, people are going to be looking to you for that advice and that stability. And here’s the important pieces I believe, and how you have to show up. The first thing is, it’s so crucial that you’re transparent.

So if you’re in a business that is struggling right now, and that is… I mean most businesses are going to feel something from this, it might be a positive, like growth, huge explosion effect, or it might be a negative, if you’re a service business and you’re having to shut down. I know some dentists who have had to close their office. Some coffee shop owners, who have had to close their coffee shop. And I still believe that there is opportunity in it for them. However, it might be a scary time for you. You might have had to lay off employees. Don’t pretend like nothing is happening. It’s so important that you are transparent with everything that’s going on. And that you don’t pretend like it’s business as usual. I think that’s probably the most important thing you can do as a leader right now, is actually acknowledge what’s going on, be transparent with anything that’s happening in your company or anything that’s happening for your clients.

Anything that you need to share, don’t hold it all in. A lot of times as CEOs and as leaders, we feel like our job is to pretend like everything is fine, to make sure that then the team maybe feels like everything is fine. We just have to kind of hold our mask over our face and keep it all together and be that strong force. And then the team will be okay, but it’s actually the opposite. If you do that and you don’t acknowledge what’s happening, if you don’t acknowledge the bad things or the good things, your team is just going to be like, “What the heck is happening? I’m not being told what’s happening. And so, I don’t know if it’s good or bad. I don’t know if I should be worried or not. I don’t know if my job is stable,” or whatever it is. So the key is that you have to be transparent. Whatever that means is happening in your company.

Now obviously there’s a line here, some things you don’t need to share. That doesn’t mean get on and give the play by play of your entire day and what the company is doing and what’s happening and the good and the bad. It just means acknowledging the overall situation and acknowledging… Let’s say that you are a company who had to lay some people off, acknowledging it. Acknowledging like, “Hey, we had to lay some people off. This sucks. We are really disappointed about this. We are doing our best to navigate it and figure out what we need to do. But, we don’t know all the answers. We don’t have all the answers, because we don’t know when we’re going to be able to open our business back up.” That could be an example of how you show up that way and just be like, “We’re trying to navigate this, and here’s what we’re doing.” I know that I have a colleague / friend in a group who is a dentist and had to close their practice temporarily, and their employees are obviously very scared.

She is obviously nervous and feeling uneasy about it. But, what she can go back and tell her team, too, is, what I just said, acknowledging what’s happening. And then also telling them, “Hey, we know our numbers. We know how long we can kind of sustain the business like this. We’ve cut back all expenses that we don’t have to spend on right now to be able to improve that,” kind of just opening up to the team, to the company. That doesn’t mean saying, “We have X amount of dollars, and to the exact cent in the bank account right now,” and going to that level. Because they don’t need that, but they need to know, “What is the company doing to respond to this?” They really need to know that you’re human, and that you’re nervous, too, you’re uneasy, too, you’re overwhelmed, too, whatever you’re feeling. And that you don’t necessarily have all the answers.

That’s the other piece to this is, you don’t… Everyone as a leader is going to look to you to come up with the solution maybe… Okay, let me rephrase that. You might think everyone is looking to you to come up with the exact solution or the exact answer to the problem or to tell them exactly what to do, but really that’s actually not your job, I don’t believe. I think your job as a leader is to keep everybody working together, keep everybody in momentum, keep everybody in a positive place, despite what’s going on, and collaboratively solve any issues, that is your job as a leader. Don’t put the pressure on yourself that you have to solve every single problem by yourself without sharing any of it or “burdening your team with it.” I’ve heard a lot of people [say] like, “Well, my team doesn’t need to worry about that. I don’t want to burden them with that. I don’t want to scare them with that. I don’t want to overwhelm them.”

And sometimes it might be subconscious. I think it’s a natural thing that entrepreneurs feel like, we have to hold it all in and we have to solve the problem and we can just tell people once the problem is solved. I feel that way often in my life, even in personal relationships, like, “I’ll just handle it, I’ll just do it.” And right now more than ever, we need to be transparent, we need to communicate. And our job isn’t necessarily to solve all the problems and the world’s problems and our company’s problems and everybody’s problems, it’s to bring everybody together, just collaboratively work together to solve the problems and get creative. And so let me explain how I’m doing that with my team.

So I came up with the core of, “Here’s our response to this.” And I talked about that, especially in the first episode of this special edition series [episode 160] about being able to pivot and adjust and kind of how we have responded to this for our clients and our team. And so, that was driven by me. That was me kind of sitting down, being the leader saying, “Here’s exactly the actions we’re taking with our clients. And here’s the actions we’re taking with our audience.” But now it’s not on me to deliver that. It’s on my team to get behind me and support me and collaborate. For example, we’re putting out this Hirsh Marketing weekly report. My team is so excited about contributing those strategies and contributing that to our community. I am not doing anything really to put it together, besides approve it and give feedback and support with it. My team is owning that, and they’re pumped about it. They’re excited to contribute in that way, to the community.

The other example is, our clients. I came up with kind of our action plan and how we were going to communicate and support clients and acknowledge what’s happening and help them pivot their messaging, their strategy as needed. That’s now not on me, individually, to go through and do that for every client. The team is behind me, and they’re excited about it. Do you see here how I gave my team that direction and I gave my team the solution to at least acknowledging what’s happening and [giving them the ability] to take action? And now they are able to act on it, and they feel like they have that purpose, that direction, and that stability of a plan of action. So, my job as a leader was to create that and to come up with how we can respond as a company and how we can serve our audience and our customers, and get my team behind me in collaboratively delivering this.

That’s my job as a leader. Not to come up with all the answers and solve all the problems. Does that make sense, the difference between that? So, transparency. Don’t pretend everything is fine and nothing is happening. That is the worst thing you can do. You will freak your team out. You will freak the people out around you. It’s not business as usual. It’s not business as usual in your marketing, in your messaging. It doesn’t mean it’s not going to work. It doesn’t mean you can’t grow during this time. It just means you have to acknowledge it. You have to be human about this. You have to connect with people around this. Because, everybody is going through something right now. Everybody has a different experience they’re having right now and mindset and feelings and thoughts. And we have to respond to that as leaders.

We can’t pretend… We can’t put on a mask and pretend we’re just unaffected by this. And I did get on with my team and I said, “You guys, I don’t have the answer of how this is exactly going to impact our business. But here’s what I think we should do to respond to it, to get us on the other side of this in the best way possible, and potentially seriously grow. Because I think we can help our clients seriously grow through this, right?” And so, I didn’t get on and say like, “Guys, everything’s going to be fine. We don’t have to worry about this. Just keep going about your days. And I’ve got it.” Right? I could have responded that way.

Instead, no. I was like, “All right, you guys. This is crazy. And here’s what I do know. Here’s what I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. My job right now is to make sure that our company continues growing. We can continue serving people and we can be the best version of Hirsh Marketing possible through this. Here’s my ideas on how we’re going to do it. Help me make it better, and let’s do this.” And my team was pumped about it, right? That’s my job as a leader. The last thing I’ll say… a couple of last things that I’ll say is, as a leader you have to stay grounded. You cannot come on to a call with your team and be freaking out and stressed out and overwhelmed. You can be overwhelmed. But you cannot… You have to be grounded and with a plan and come back to process. So, just because things are crazy right now, and just because things are different, and we just… they’re unpredictable.

It doesn’t mean we throw everything that works out the window and we’re like, “Well, let’s get rid of all of our process and all of our strategy and just change everything, because it’s all unknown.” That’s the worst thing you can do. Remember that everything that works, still works. And I just talked about data in your business and coming back to that [in episode 162], and that’s what we’re doing. Stay grounded in that. Stay grounded in the facts. We have facts, and then we have emotion about what’s going on, and predictions and what-ifs. And those are the scary things. Bring yourself back as a leader and stay grounded with the facts, the things we know, the things we know still work. Our structure… my team is still… nothing’s changed in most of what we do every day, we still have our daily huddle, we still send our clients weekly reports, we’re still looking at all the same numbers.

We are still running with strategies that are working, and having our regular client calls. We’re still doing all the same internal things. The only thing we’re shifting is, the way we talk about things, and the messaging, and the strategy as needed for clients who need that pivot and have that opportunity. But the core foundational things that we know work are not changing. Because, they still work, and the data can tell us that. And we need that stability right now. So if you have process and foundational things in your business that you know work, don’t just throw them out the window, still try to have that routine. I’ll also say, as a leader, it’s really important right now that you take care of yourself. Every day for me, it’s non-negotiable… I mean, I’ve got three kids at home, no nanny, a newborn baby, and my team that I’m running and guiding through this.

I get out for a walk every day, 25 minute walk outside, non-negotiable. Last night I did it at seven o’clock at night, because I couldn’t get it in earlier in the day. That’s fine. And that’s not my ideal. I love my routine. If you know me, you know I love my routine. But that’s when I could get it in, that’s a non-negotiable for me. It’s a non-negotiable for me that I plan out my day, even if it doesn’t go as planned. But I sit down and I fill out my planner, and I write down my intention, and I write down what I’m doing today, and I give myself that time. It’s non-negotiable that I eat healthy food during the day right now. There’s things that I can control to keep myself grounded, and to help myself show up better for my team, for my community, for my family, for my audience. That is your job right now, is to continue taking care of yourself.

Because otherwise, your energy, your health, everything is going to be all off. And it’s your job, you are a leader right now, to step up and show up and be there for your community, your clients, your audience, your team. The final thing I’ll say is, anything you can do right now, especially if you [run] a virtual team, to keep people talking and in momentum. They are looking to you for that. So for example, yesterday on our huddle we had shout-outs. And I could just feel like the energy was a little bit heavy. There were three people who got shouted out, and we usually have 12 or more. And they’re always a very uplifting part to our morning is shouting our team out. And so I was like, “Okay guys, we’re not getting off this huddle until we laugh a little bit. Let’s do this. So let’s talk about this here.”

And I just kind of opened up the conversation, and we shifted a little bit away from shout-outs to just around what’s happening. And sharing like, isn’t it crazy we can’t go to the grocery stores, and here’s what’s happening in my town. And it was turned into this 15 minutes of just people kind of sharing, “This is what’s happening in my town, and this is what I think about this, and this is what I think about this,” and just letting people have that space to do that together is going to build the bond and the community on my team stronger than it was before. And I truly believe that my company and our clients and my audience, you guys, are going to come out of this stronger than you were before, and you can look back and be like, “Wow, remember that crazy time with COVID-19, when this… The whole world was shut down and blah, blah, blah. And I was able to accomplish this, this, and this. And I learned, this, this, and this, and we grew in this way.”

That’s how I want you to look back on this time. That’s how I want your team and your business to look back on this time, as a positive. I believe everybody can get there. But it’s up to you as a leader to get your team to that place or get your company or your clients to that place. But you as a leader have to guide it. So, that’s just a small example, on the huddle, I knew how important it was for the team to just have conversation, to just feel connected, to get back in momentum, to not have this heavy energy of, “Oh my gosh, what is happening in this world?” And so, I want you to think about, “How can I make this time period, that’s going to probably be a couple of months, be a positive and bring my team and my company and myself out on the other side where I’ve grown and I’m better for it?”

That’s what I want. That’s your job as a leader. At the end of the day, that is your job as a leader, is to guide your audience and your team and anybody following you and looking to you for advice in how to grow from this and feel grounded from this, and it’s going to start with you and your response to it. I hope this was helpful for you guys, and I would love your thoughts on anything you’re doing to lead your community better, lead your audience better, lead your clients. I want to hear from you guys [on Instagram, @emilyhirsh], and I will see you all back here on the podcast tomorrow.