With over 30 years of entrepreneurship experience, Jeffrey Shaw helps businesses and the self-employed create an ecosystem that thrives. Today he shares how to evolve your business with the changing world around us.

John Meese 0:24
Well, Jeffrey, thank you so much for joining me. How are you doing today?

Jeffrey Shaw 0:27
I'm great. Thanks for having me on.

John Meese 0:29
Well, good. Well, I'm glad to have you here. And I'm eager to hear your perspective on this whole situation. But first, I'd love to know for anybody who listened to this podcast and hasn't had the pleasure to get to know you a little bit on the internet. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are and what you do?

Jeffrey Shaw 0:44
Sure. So professionally speaking, I've been self employed my entire life, like I like to joke around, but I'm one of the few people that has actually probably never had a job, never gotten a paycheck. So since the age of 14, I was selling eggs door to door, I grew up in the country. So I've always found my own way. But, you know, I could say I've got 35 years of experience as a professional photographer doing family portraits for very affluent families. So I've got this kind of unusual background, because I had a very niche business, if you will, for a very specific audience. But I've also seen business evolve so much through over 35 years that, you know, I kind of believe in an entirely different business model than I did. 30 years ago, I've, as I've been saying, of COVID-19, this is kind of my third rodeo, you know, I've been through enough changes like this, to have a sense of them. So today, I am primarily a small business consultant, I wrote a book called Lingo. And that is a piece of it in that I help businesses define their best brand message. But with my expansive experience in small business, I kind of help businesses with the whole what I refer to as the ecosystem of their businesses, which includes not only business strategy, but also personal development.

John Meese 1:54
Well, excellent. I know that's gonna be helpful to dive into today. I would love if you would go with me way back in time to what who was probably either January, February, March 2020. Way, way, way back in time, to the first moment in your own personal experience, where you realize that COVID-19, or the Novel Coronavirus, was a big deal or real threat. And I'd love to know if you remember where you were or what happened that caused you to pay attention.

Jeffrey Shaw 2:20
Yeah, so it's, it's interesting to ask that because actually, I'm going for the antibody test today. Because both my partner and I we likely had COVID very end of February, we had all the symptoms, including loss of taste, loss of smell, which weren't known symptoms, then so But to your point, like we didn't really know what we were dealing with the end of February was like just starting to be a conversation. But we kind of brushed off when we both had to go to the doctors were certainly sick enough, the doctors didn't know what they're dealing with. And here in Florida, they weren't testing Unless, you know, you were of a certain age. So you know, there was that where it was sort of a similar, but I think business wise, the moment that really, I guess when it really got serious for me is when prior to the public knowing I've got a lot of connections to the political realm of our country. And I started hearing grumblings about a what would be known as the C.A.R.E.S Act. So when I saw the government stepping up, I'm like, okay, things are getting real, right, the government is putting together a program, what really, really turned the table for me is when I realized that literally every hair of my body went on. And when I heard them start talking about this C.A.R.E.S Act, because what I expected was like every other time in history, self employed, people were going to be overlooked, right? Because they always define health for small business. But we need to do a better job of defining what that means write small business, in the past, as always meant, you know, technically it means up to 500 employees, but a lot all government help in the past has been available for small businesses, but you had to have a minimum of 10 employees or 20 employees. So that leaves the entire 57 million people that identify as being self employed, overlooked. And that's when it was a game changer for me. And so that was what mid March or so when

John Meese 4:01
This time they did it. Right?

Jeffrey Shaw 4:02
Yeah. So this time they did it. It was the first time first time in history that a United States bill includes the language for self employed in the first time in history. So I jumped on the band. That's when I knew things were serious. That was a game changer. For me, I started really engaging with, you know, bankers and the government, people at the National Association for the Self employed and I was doing video chats and really helping self employed people not only realize the help that was available to them, but also to help them figure out how to navigate through a government system that doesn't know how to speak our lingo. Like they were continuing to talk about having employees, but self employed, people needed to understand that they are their employee, and they are eligible for the help. So that was the moment for me, I would say somewhere in mid March, when I realized, okay, this is this, the government recognizes this as being big, we're in this for the long haul, and, and to just batten down the hatches and have a good strategy.

John Meese 4:56
Okay, so you started to allude to a couple things that you did during that as it business owner to respond. Would you talk about that a little bit more? And how did you? I mean, there's, there's sort of like two sides of this for all of us who are entrepreneurs, there's the personal side of just like, Whoa, like you actually, you know, you were sick, and you probably had it and no, that's, there's that side. And there's the business side. How did you respond?

Jeffrey Shaw 5:15
So, you know, again, I think what helped me a lot, I actually kind of surprised, john at my response, because it was much calmer than I had experienced in the past. Because I was in New York, I was living in Manhattan during 9/11. And in 1999, just two years before I had bought like the house, right, the house in Connecticut was six and a half acres of land, I had three kids, so I thought I was screwed, like this was not good. So what it was interesting this time is I was much more level headed about it. And having been through 911, having been through the Great Recession, where I just said, Okay, I felt like this is how it goes, there's going to be three months that this is going to be a major crunch. That get ready, right, three months, you know, what can you do to your finances. So I immediately took care of the financial problem, I looked at what I could get rid of which there were tons of you know, you start just comb through your finances, get rid of those stupid subscriptions, you don't use to trim your expenses. So my strategy was delete, or delay. So financially, I jumped right on that, like, what can I get rid of? And then what can I delay and I was already prepared to talk to the mortgage guy side, but I own property in Connecticut, a different house, but I still own property up there, and my tenant me to let me know that they lost their job. They weren't going to be so I had to think well, what am I going to do? Do? Am I going to fit the bill for this rental house, or you know, so I was already prepared to speak to the bank's delay everything. Fortunately, a lot of banks beat me to it, you know, and they, they were reaching out to me and saying, Hey, we're giving a three month reprieve on forbearance on mortgages, as did you know, other things, student loans, etc. So immediately, my financial strategy was to delete or delay. And that's the best thing you can do should just I used to, I was telling my community of small business owners, your strategy here is just to delay, just delay because this will turn around, but you're looking at three months of properly critical mass, if you will. And then there's going to be I would say, My prediction was another six months of transitioning, like figuring this all out, but we're going to feel a little more comfortable. And then and here's the part people didn't want to hear probably about seven years of change. And that's the part people know, but nobody wanted to hear. But I've been through this enough times to say that's kind of the cycle after 9/11, after the Great Recession, it's about seven years of change doesn't mean life's horrible. But the fact of matter is, every crisis, John has a longer term effect than we are prepares us. And if we just prepared ourselves for it in the beginning, we'd weather it better. And the other thing I'll say about every crisis is that every crisis that I've seen, has only sped up what was coming anyway. And to get with get on that side of it, because if you fight it, you're going to lose the fact of matter is the whole let's take one example, the whole notion of remote work was coming anyway. And any employer who thinks otherwise had their head in the sand, and a lot of them did. I interviewed somebody on my podcast, who is a dean at a college, they had a five year plan to take their university to online education, a five year plan, which they accomplished in seven days, because they had to. Yeah, so you know, honestly, everything we're seeing with it, and I laugh when I see people talk about oh my god, you know, I'm trying to give an example but Bell Pier One Pier One is closing Oh my God, I'm like, Are you kidding me? A Pier One has been circling the drain for years. Like this is no surprise.

John Meese 8:27
Yes, the JC Penney, yeah, Columbia where I live, the JC Penney, which is the last like familiar brand name in an empty mall from the 80s. And after closing in Colombia, people were like, Whoa,

Jeffrey Shaw 8:41

John Meese 8:41
I mean, I'm not really surprised.

Jeffrey Shaw 8:43
No. It just speeds up what was coming anyway, they maybe they've been hanging on by a trickle, but it's coming anyway. So those are the things that I was consulting, the clients that I work to small business owners I work with, to just I said, delay for three months, figure out, you're going to unpack a lot of information for six months, and then hey, seven years, things are going to look a little different. But you're going to forget it along the way because it's going to become I don't love the term the new norm, but it is it becomes the new norm and you're just going to adjust to it.

John Meese 9:10
So let's talk about that real quick. You said seven years of change. I don't know what you mean, by that. Do you mean at the crisis point. And so this is I mean, it's interesting talking to you. And the fact that you've been self employed through this is your third kind of, quote, major once in a lifetime crises

Jeffrey Shaw 9:23
I love that... once in a lifetime?

John Meese 9:27
Third in a lifetime, you know, thrice in a lifetime. Nobody calls him that there's no like, this is a rice in a lifetime event. Yeah, yeah, maybe we should. But so let's talk about that. When you say seven years of change, do you mean there's a point where suddenly snap, everything changes? And for the next seven years is different? Or do you mean seven years of gradual change or something in between? I just want to unpack that.

Jeffrey Shaw 9:44
Yeah, that's a great question. So here's what happens in every crisis, and it is going to qualify saying it's more true in B2C but you know, it's not it's just as true in B2B and I actually speak for an organization you know, they used to send me across the country to speak now it's all virtual, but I speak to an organization that is specific to B2B, and it's just as true there. Okay, so what happens in a crisis like this is that whomever you serve, be it B2B or B2C, whoever your customers are. Everybody's values have shifted right now, things that were incredibly important to us three months ago are not as important today, things that weren't at all important to us three months ago, are incredibly important to us to just look at, let's just look at sanitization, like I never paid attention to what buttons I hit on an elevator before, but now it's like, it's an elbow hit, you know, I'm not touching that. So yeah, everything shifts, people's value shifts. And often in really good ways. You know, I'll pray I'll qualify that experience by saying that, you know, as a photographer, I was serving the wealthiest of the wealthy when 9/11 happened. And I still to this day, believe that 9/11 are the risks great recession was a result of 9/11 because I was working with the wealthiest of the wealthy, and they completely changed their bad buying patterns. Fortunately, I was kind of on the winning side of that, because what they came to, even though I was very expensive as a portrait photographer, what they came to value more than anything was their family, right. And they cared less about the material goods. So they were, you know, after 9/11, they were reconsidering their lives, letting go of the 25,000 square foot mansions and just downsizing to you know, 10,000 square feet. But for them, it was a big difference. And fortunately, I said I was still a high ticket item that they were willing to spend money on, because they kind of turn to their family as opposed to material goods, everybody's values change. So when that happens, there's this seven year period of I think businesses getting used to the new values, right and realigning their businesses. And then I don't know, maybe, and then something else shifts it again, it feels like, but it just feel like you know, seven years is arbitrary. But I'm just saying that after an event like this, the whole world has changed. There's just no doubt. And I remember and I honestly, John, I resisted that after 9/11. I remember after on the news immediately after 911 reporters saying the world will never be the same. I'm like, Oh, come on. We're Americans. Like this is bad. But we're gonna bounce back in two weeks.

John Meese 12:11
And yet we still the TSA and

Jeffrey Shaw 12:14
everything's different,

John Meese 12:15
allegedly. I mean, I don't know if anybody still goes to airports, but we still the TSA and airports because of 9/11. We still have the Patriot Act, wrecked, because of 9/11, we still have piles of paperwork that you sign every time you open a bank account saying no, I'm not funding terrorists, because of 9/11. And that's just the obvious stuff. That's just

Jeffrey Shaw 12:31
Silly. Well, people are freaking out now. Because iPhone downloaded, you know, the latest update of iPhone, whether you realize it or not, has a small little tool in there called COVID-19, which is now built into your there's a health part of the iPhone, and it's now in your privacy, it's not functional, right? It's not functional until you download when an app becomes available. But there's likely to be a tracking system until there's a vaccine, there's likely to be a tracking system on our phones. If we choose for it, I don't think it'd be it'll be mandatory. But it'll let us know if we've interacted with somebody close to them six feet who was positive, and we didn't know. Right, right. People are freaking out about this. I'm like, how is this any different than TSA? Like how is it any I mean, we this is the seven year period, like things like this are our world is going to change over the next seven years to adapt. And you know, I get it, it's tracking, it might freak people out, it feels a big brother. I'm like, you know, what your EZ Pass on your car is letting the government know, everywhere you are anyway. So is going on apps. And yeah, that's what we mean by the seven year change, like it is just seven years for all these systems to get in place. And along the way businesses need to be there are business opportunities and those changes, right?

John Meese 13:41
I want to talk about the opportunities. But first, I want to I want to dive in a little bit more into your specific situation. So could you take us behind the curtain, if you would into your business model for yourself? And in terms of in your business? Before like back in January, for example? Where did your revenue come from? I mean, do you have different product lines and services? And then I specifically love to know how those were impacted by the economic crisis so far.

Jeffrey Shaw 14:03
Yeah. So I definitely have multiple streams of income and if that's the business model, I believe in today very contradictory as I said to my business model, the 80s and 90s. But now I definitely am a proponent of a portfolio business model. So my primary income comes from a brand messaging program I have Okay, so it's actually a lower price but it's huge in volume. So that's my primary and I say lower in price is not cheap, but it's that's my primary source of income but right behind that is speaking, and that has always come from speaking on stages. So that was impacted. I also do a limited quantity of one to one coaching and that was be the third source of income. So to that point, all live events were as of right now they're all canceled for the rest of it. I have one hanging on for the rest of the year in August but it's going to get canceled as well. Yeah. You know a lot in the beginning. They were just delaying April events were delayed to August and now all the you know, in the last couple weeks, all the August events have said, Yeah, that's not gonna happen either. So all live events have been canceled as some have switched to virtual and, um, for which I'm still getting paid for. But what actually has brought is a lot more virtual events, which I have found to be my sweet spot. And it's been very interesting. So I actually, and this is one of the things I would say to everyone listening that, you know, this is actually an opportunity to create the lives and businesses that we really want. Right, I love speaking on stage, no doubt, I really do. And I've always tried to limit it to four to five gigs, a month, because each of those gigs are going to require them away for three to four days. And I've got dogs and I don't like to be away for huge periods of time. So I like to at least come back in between. But what I found with virtual is that and I'm a speaker, not all speakers agree with this, but I am charging less virtually than I am on stage primarily because I want to do more of them. I can crank out one virtual after another, and it actually fits my lifestyle better I love. And I love virtual events it has brought out it's tapped into all my photography skills, I am pulling out my DSLR I've got professional lighting, like my virtual events look like, like look nothing like anybody else's. It's not a webcam on a computer, I'm pulling up professional equipment, shallow, I'm shooting out of my window out of Miami and a high rise overlooking the ocean. So I've got the incredible city view outside of my window, like it looks like nobody else's. So that enabled me to differentiate myself in a way that other speakers couldn't. So I actually saw a huge opportunity in that like, aha, I only need to if I step deeper into who I am, I can carve something here. That's really interesting. It's a lower price point. But I can do more of them. Yeah, but that's gone incredibly well, I actually will, in the end, I will probably by the end of this year, I probably will make more money as a speaker than I would have.

John Meese 16:44
Really, that's interesting.

Jeffrey Shaw 16:46
Now, what's different is it's harder to convert residual business virtually like onstage, I can almost guarantee I'm going to walk away with another $20,000 in bookings either as a coach or something else, it's harder to gain that virtually. But that's something for me to work on.

John Meese 17:02
Okay. Well, yeah, I'm sure that it's possible. It's probably just a different

Jeffrey Shaw 17:05
It's just a different process. Yeah. And when you're on stage, and you walk off stage, or people are walking right up to him, like, Hey, can I talk to you for a second, you lose that virtually. And that's had some that's had an effect on that level of income. Now, so speaking, you know, just kind of virtual replace stage speaking. The other thing that happened, which I which was very intentional, was I felt and still think it is the perfect time. In fact, every business needs to reconsider their brand message, because everybody you're serving is thinking and feeling differently now. So every business has to reconsider, not only to make sure that you're not saying the wrong things, but also to look for the opportunities to be the standout business because you are connecting at a deeper, more compassionate and empathetic level. So my branding business has skyrocketed. So at the end of the day, we're up. I'm in business up about 50%. From where I was last year at this time,

John Meese 17:53
Well, what is that? Is that revenue or profit? Okay, yeah, in revenue, and revenue, but then they also the flipside is, like you mentioned that your speaking fees, you're probably actually end up getting more than you would if you were traveling, but probably with a lot less expense attached to them, right?

Jeffrey Shaw 18:10
Well, my expenses were always covered by whoever I'm speaking. Oh, so they're kind of a separate category. And I've always run a very high profit business I, I'm really pretty lavish in my personal life, but really frugal in my professional life. So I run a really high course now pretty well, yeah, well, I just I'm not gonna work for 50 cents on the dollar, like, I want 70 to 80% on the dollar. So but yeah, that's how it shifted. And like I said, I mean, I getting that message out there, just letting business owners know, it's like, you know what, it's the ideal time you've got timing, because that's the other thing I was stressing, which I did. Another way that I've mentally pivoted is that what I realized after 9/11 is so nasty, if not, my love is actually the Great Recession. So the recession hit 2008, I kind of saw it coming by the end of 2007. Because I saw the buying patterns of those I serve change. So I took it upon myself thinking how I might have some extra time in 2008. So I did a year long coach training program. And that's how I became a coach. And that's one of the greatest gifts we get in a time like this is the gift of time that we don't otherwise have. And I really immediately stressed the importance of that to business owners and say, hey, you're, you're getting the gifts of time here that you may otherwise never have. It literally is the time to work on your business more than in it. So take advantage of that time and do the rebranding work on your brand message. Let's get your website saying the right things to the right people. And the result of that will be I can guarantee you will come out of this faster than if you didn't do that work. does great. I love that. And because of that because of that message. I think that's what caused a lot of people to step up and say, hey, you're right. Can I hire you as a brand message consultant and they joined my brand message consultant program, eight week program. I was, you know, changing people's lives in eight weeks, getting them ready for what's on the other side.

John Meese 19:51
Well, okay, so you talked a little bit about this. But is there anything else you haven't mentioned yet in terms of how you are approaching opportunity, like how you're pursuing opportunity in the midst of because you are in the midst of this change that's going on of the world. So really lean into the thrive aspect of your business.

Jeffrey Shaw 20:49
So you know, it's crazy. John, I'm always has a little hesitant to say this, because there's there are a lot of people struggling right now, and I get it. But I have to say I maybe it's the people I hang out with, but I'm speaking to far more people that are thriving right now than are surviving. And that is true in B2B and B2C. And I think the thrive for most of us is coming from gaining clarity in something that we've been looking for. So for me, this crisis, if you will, literally pivoted my, I think my entire future because I was just beginning my second book, which will be out in May of next year. And it was likely to be as my first book kind of an extension of branding, marketing, kind of for entrepreneurs, if you will. But what I realized is that what I was most deeply passionate about, what I got clarity on was this PPP program, the Paycheck Protection Program, that it was that feeling I had when that came about, about how I wanted how deeply I felt that I wanted to protect small business owners, particularly the self employed. So my entire book pivoted scrap, what I had just begun and shifted to writing a book specifically for self employed people, doesn't exist in a really good way. I mean, the self employed books for self employed people now are garbage. They're like, you know, taxes for self employed people, like how to make six figures, like that's not the world that we live in is self employed people, it's much bigger than that. And we need the personal development, we need the business strategies. And this is my jam. I've been doing this for 35 years. So now I'm writing a book specifically for self employed business owners, and what I refer to as the entire ecosystem, the personal development, the mindsets, the business strategies, the marketing, very specific, that has changed everything. I'm looking at a training other small business consultants to support me in maybe a program, I might launch a bigger scale, maybe an annual retreat for small business owners, I just realized there's a huge gap in the world that exists for small businesses, true small businesses, self employed micro businesses, but you know, the companies have won the companies of five, maybe the companies of 10, but not small business as in companies of 500 employees. That's the most it's not the world of most of us.

John Meese 22:55
I love that. Right? Well, but a huge pivot. Yeah, well, and similarly, I should say, by the way, my book that's coming out, survive and thrive was not titled survive and thrive when I was working on January. Similarly, I mean, I had a book coming out, but it was, I mean, I'm cutting the concept sounds so boring now. But it was essentially going to be about just the nine key systems you need in any business to, to really just operate it efficiently. But I was like, I felt like it was important, but I didn't really know why. And then the crisis, it was like, Oh, this is why because these are actually foundational to surviving and thriving in any economy. So anyway, similarly, like,

Jeffrey Shaw 23:26
Yeah, I've seen more people get some level of clarity about what they're meant to do in this situation, that that's actually what's changing their lives and their businesses moving forward.

John Meese 23:35
Yeah, you know, I love this my wife share this metaphor. I wish I could remember what movie it's from. But there's a movie it's probably like a Nicholas Sparks with my wife quarter the scenes this movie in this movie to me when the COVID-19 crisis hit where there's this scene, where a woman trying to figure out like her husband's she's trying her fiance, she's trying to figure out his his priorities in life, like it seems like work is like kind of always the thing and she's never getting enough attention. And then a friend tells her like, well, if you want to know what someone's priorities are, just look, where do their eyes go when a fire alarm goes off, and it's meant to be a metaphor, but she actually pulls a fire alarm in a building they're at, and he's like, he's like, Oh, my phone, got my laptop, got my bag. I'm a briefcase guy. And he starts leaving, and then he's like, Oh, yeah, where's, where's my fiance? But it's like she's watching him the whole time. And it takes him minutes to look up. And that's kind of like for her. That's the moment and I think what happened was when COVID-19 became a global pandemic, and a lot governments across the world, put on precedented lockdowns in place. Someone pulled a fire alarm on the global economy. And everyone, like you said, clarity is the result of everyone going, everyone looking to what's important to them, and saying like in the midst of the fire alarm going off, where are your priorities? And yeah, that clarity has been helpful for me. I'm glad to hear it's been helpful for you. I know it's been helpful for others as well.

Jeffrey Shaw 24:48
Yeah, most definitely. Yeah, that's a great metaphor. I love that and it's funny. I'm actually redoing my own website and walking my talk. I'm adding an about page which I've never had an about page because I'm a personal brand. You're, you're finding out everything about me like really a page for this. But I decided to do a page only because I got the concept. And the concept that really resonated for me because of this clarity was to have a page that basically just says, Hey, the best way to know somebody to get to their values where they put their money, what they prioritize, so here are mine. So I literally just, here are my five values that I live by, here's the money trail, like this is literally what I donate money to, cuz you can tell a lot about somebody where they put their dollars, right. So here are organizations I support. And then here's what I prioritize on a daily basis. It's like, that's all you need to know. Like, it's just a list. And I felt like that was literally the best way sort of like the fire alarm metaphor, literally the best way to know about what makes me tick, what I value, what I'm about, look where my money and my attention goes,

John Meese 25:39
I should probably look up what movie that scenes from because it's, it's a good metaphor, I should give credit where credit's due, but uh, well, okay, so what advice do you have? And I think you've kind of sprinkled this in, thankfully, throughout the whole conversation, but specifically to the business owner, who's right now listening to this, they can be self employed, or they're probably self employed or the language use micro business. I think it's helpful. And they're listening to this. And they're trying to figure out how do I build or rebuild a profitable business in this economy in this crisis? What advice do you have Jeffrey?

Jeffrey Shaw 26:08
So what I suggest is to look for what I refer to as getting on the right side. And if you first have to own the concept of that before, you can really start looking at the specifics, and because at first it kind of pushes people the right way, because they're feeling so on the wrong side, you know, if you're feeling down and out, and you feel like you're barely surviving, it's really easy to get caught up and feeling like you're on the wrong side, right? There's no way my product or my service is valuable right now. And I would challenge that, that's I'm saying, so I, my suggestion is, and get help with that if you can, because it's really hard to do this work ourselves, I often the phrase I use all the time is that you can't read the label from inside the jar. Like it's really hard to do this ourselves. But that's the, I would say put yours it's also falls on of the concept in the corporate world that they talked a lot about, just slow down to speed up, this is a perfect chance to just slow down and kind of turn inward and look at your business objectively. And how can you get on the right side of this? Meaning? How can you turn what seems like a dreadful situation into a positive? You know, during the Great Recession, I had, again, my own client, my primary clientele was decimated because they were though they were the wealthy were the ones on the news, right? There were some of them were the ones causing the corruption. But that aside, but I had an other whole other group of people that were were spending boatloads of money and and I've come to realize that most of our bankruptcy attorneys, right, so they were on the right side of a great recession. So every case, there's a wrong side or right side, same thing for my own business when 9/11 happened. And this smack in the middle. That's my, as a photographer, I would do 60% of my business between September, October, November. So I was I thought this was the end this was decimated. But what I realized I was able to get on the right side by remarketing my business from, you know, I had previously marketed my business as exclusive for the very few it was, you know, it was very brand imaging, and I needed to immediately switch to to realign with their values. Like, you know, after all that we've been through, what's most important to you is your family. Yeah, so I just shifted, and that's I was literally able to get on the right side of it to the point where that became one of our biggest years in history and led to, you know, a good 10, 12 years following that were that were literally the peak years in my 35 year career, because I shifted with the instead of marketing my business as exclusive and kind of snobbish in a way, but reframing it so that it now was inclusive, it was a shift towards family values, helping people to relook I mean, one of the biggest changes I saw after that after I shifted my own brand marketing was, the dad's got so much more involved. You know, it used to be I was almost working exclusively with the moms and the dads were just cranking out all the money to support all the expenses. And suddenly these dads were like, you know, and it shifted my business, I had to figure out how to adapt their schedule, which I was able to do. But suddenly the dads were totally relooking at their lives. And we're realizing they weren't spending enough time with their kids. And they now wanted to be a part of this thing called family photography, not to show up for the session, but to be involved in choosing them where they're going to. And you know what, the dads wanted to spend so much more money than the moms because the moms were being respectful and careful. The dads are like, spend it all like they were so into it. And it had a big impact positive impact on my business. So get on the right side of it, dig dig deep. What is it that you offer that you can look at from a different perspective? and say, Wow, there's a people's values have changed and they align with what I do or what I offer?

John Meese 29:32
Yeah, I wrote down that bankruptcy attorney example that may be a little bit of an extreme, but but it makes the point makes the point. Yeah,

Jeffrey Shaw 29:39
I mean, I have a friend of mine who's a professional speaker, who when this pandemic first hit, she so smartly and now it's an amazing opportunity to somehow she was able to get involved with a startup hand sanitizer company. They just happen to be launching at this time. She's killing it, like she joined as a partner. And finally, can you imagine like who would have thought six months ago That being the hand sanitization business would be a winner.

John Meese 30:02
Yeah, one of my we've got a local business. So Froggies Fog is a business here in Columbia, Tennessee, which is the like the nation's leading producer of liquid for fog machines. And you know, we'd like to like concerts, weddings, that kind of stuff. Not anymore. Now they're a massively successful hand sanitizer company. Froggies Fog. Yeah, exactly. They because they realized they had all of the machinery and all of the ingredients. It's like, they were like, Wait a second. This is just change our recipe a little bit. And it's actually all of the same agreements. Now we have answered it.

Jeffrey Shaw 30:30
And yeah, now people are being crazy innovative. And like I said, right. In the beginning, I had said that a crisis just speeds up what was coming anyway. Yeah, right. So good that they pivoted because the whole fog machine business probably wasn't a big growing business. And now they're in a growing business.

John Meese 30:45
Yes, exactly. I did see at least one TicTok-er who's using them. So this is this is like a total tangent, but I just saw this that frog is fog has at least one viral like influencer on tik tok, who uses their they have a specific type of like bubbles, that are guests or like hard to pop that like you can sync it up with people who are live streaming. And so they can like donate money to anyways, they found creative ways to be relevant.

Jeffrey Shaw 31:10
I like that. Like, they're cool.

John Meese 31:11
But I was like, I was like, Okay, okay, like for like somebody you know, because like, when you're watching a live stream of somebody on like, any social media platform, there's often in this call to action of like, yeah, you don't just make sure to like, you know, donate or hit a button to you know, do something where you can like pay a certain fee, and then the person you're watching, you can actually see like the bubble machine go off behind them. And it's pretty cool. So anyway, I'm not recommending that as like a standard business model, but like people are getting creative.

Jeffrey Shaw 31:35
Absolutely. Yeah, I do. As a coach myself, I coach a lot of coaches. And a I've been saying anybody that's in the business of coaching, supporting helping people with strategy, helping people redefine their future business, helping people create better LinkedIn profiles, like anybody that's in those businesses, there's more work waiting than you can imagine, like, so if you've been associated media experts. Here's a good example. Right? If you've been a social media expert on Facebook ads, right, maybe companies are pulling back the money, switch your expertise to LinkedIn profiles, and you'll do incredibly well. That's great, because we have a huge number of people that are going to be job hunting, and they need to relook at their LinkedIn profiles. So they're, like I said, just dig deep and figure out how can you shift to something that gets you on the right side.

John Meese 32:20
I love that our approach, by the way to that specific example has been that we've started using the language at my entrepreneurs and organization to talk about the fact that there are, you know, the numbers change every week, but let's just call it 30 or 40 million people who just got promoted from employee to entrepreneur. And so we're helping those people saying like, okay, you just got promoted entrepreneur, let's, let's teach you what that means. And what do you do with that? Yeah,

Jeffrey Shaw 32:40
yeah, I'm a huge advocate of the National Association for the Self Employed and their membership is really low. And the same thing I interviewed the CEO. And he was saying that Yeah, their membership in times like this, their membership goes to the ceiling. Yeah. When unemployment increases, so does the the membership for the self employed.

John Meese 32:58
Jeffrey, thank you so much for your time and your care and your attention. I appreciate everything you share with us today. Where can we find you and learn more about you online? Sure.

Jeffrey Shaw 33:06
Best Places to go to jeffreyshaw.com. And my podcast, Creative Warriors. Is there my book, you know, that's sort of the hub that each of which has their own website, but just go to jeffreyshaw.com - It's sort of the central hub for everything.

John Meese 33:17
Excellent. Thank you so much for your time. Appreciate it.

Jeffrey Shaw 33:24
Thank you.

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John Meese is the author of the #1 bestseller Survive and Thrive: How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One). An entrepreneur himself, John is on a mission to eradicate generational poverty by equipping entrepreneurs with the tools and training they need to build thriving businesses from scratch. He is the CEO of Cowork.Inc, co-founder of Notable, and host of the Thrive School podcast.

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