11 Entrepreneurs Who’ve Defied the Odds

These individuals have successfully adapted in our current, extraordinary moment.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Heading into 2020, I was enthralled to have been recognized as one of the world’s top five women fashion influencers and eagerly anticipated the launch of my BOLDTV series, featuring inaugural guest and New York Fashion Week creator Fern Mallis.

Fast forward to May 2020, and like millions of others around the world, I’ve transitioned to conducting business online. That’s meant interviewing prominent subjects remotely rather than in BOLD’s NYC studios before readying the shows for online visibility.

But there are so many entrepreneurs who have risen to the current challenge and found ways to keep their established brand or product in place, and in some cases soar even higher. 

In no particular order of preference, here are 11 such individuals, each of whom has typified that determination to beat the odds in the face of an unimaginable obstacle.

Ashton Henry, Founder/CEO, Ashton Henry Financial

In a recent conversation, Henry told me he considers the pandemic both “a gift and a curse.” Before, his business relied on meetings and social interactions by a nationwide team of agents. But in recent weeks, he has taken a tactical approach by focusing on solutions, expanding his company’s reach with online webinars and meetings, consequently recording the largest growth in its history over the last four weeks.

Sergio Mariscal, Automobile Expert/Journalist

Mexican entrepreneur Mariscal has built a business around the auto industry, including test-driving cars and filming them for his weekly TV show. However, since television productions have shut down, funding has taken a hit. To adapt, he has had to turn to innovative ways to remain the authority in the auto-journalism world, such as repurposing older episodes of his show, conducting Zoom interviews for his audience and investing in new production equipment for his podcast.

Related: How 1 Franchise Company President Makes Better, Faster Decisions During Uncertain Times

Brian Armstrong, Co-Founder/CEO, Coinbase

In March of this year, as signs of an economic recession began to flourish, the San Francisco-based crypto exchange company witnessed a sudden surge of traffic, at one point processing more than $2 billion in volume in a span of 24 hours. Armstrong has stated that the reliability and scalability of systems are crucial in a volatile economy, underscoring how robust internal processes and engineering systems are the need of the hour.

Huy Nguyen, Founder/Owner, AMS ColdPro and Cargo Crew

Nguyen’s advice to any struggling business is to always to have a positive mindset. In his own words in a recent interview with Entrepreneur, he was hopeful that, “One day we will look back at 2020 and tell ourselves: If we made it through that, we could make it through anything.”

David Zhao, Managing Partner, NXT Group

Among NXT’s properties is the Mongolian restaurant chain Chubby Cattle, which has opted to move with the times by ordering the temporary closure of in-house dining. The business transformed its operations strategically across its locations in Philadelphia, Denver, Dallas and Las Vegas, now offering hot-pot delivery options in line with government-issued stay-at-home directives.

Ernesto Gaita, Co-Founder/Creative Director, Neighbourhood Creative

With current consumer behavior projected to affect business for everyone in the long-term, the company — led by Gaita — formed Brand without Border, offering essentials tools to startups and entrepreneurs, and launched a podcast to embed positivity among startups.

Mark Neilson, Regional Manager, American Income Life Insurace Co.

During the pandemic, it became uncertain how the San Francisco-based firm would adapt to virtual selling. The transition wasn’t 100 percent smooth, as the team had to initially work a whopping 12-15 hours a day. But that early commitment paid off, as Neilson’s agency recorded April as its most productive month ever, with more than $1 million in gross sales.

Chase Campbell, Founder/CEO, Size Up Apparel

The retail shutdown took an immediate toll on Campbell’s brick-and-mortar stores, which is why, in an interview, he shared that ecommerce is going to be even more crucial in the age of social distancing. “If it wasn’t for our ecommerce platform,” he says, “we would be in an unmanageable situation until we are allowed to reopen.”

Karishhma Mago, Founder/CEO, Facilius Inc. and Digital Nod

With people staying home, higher internet traffic has translated to more business for digital-age entrepreneurs like Mago. Specializing in augmenting online brand presence, Mago took the crisis as an opportunity to launch an affiliate program for agencies, slashing margins but enabling multi-fold growth to them and, in turn, to Facilius. The agency, based in Michigan, has seen revenues skyrocket, with the company cashing in more in April than all of Q1 combined.

Jeff Sekinger, CEO, 0 Percent

Sekinger’s 0percent.com started a partnership program that saw clients offer consulting services such as insurance and credit repair for free using the company’s existing team and marketing materials. The partners do business with their clients via a designated link and are paid a residual income. His clients have profited greatly from this partnership, which has become a lifeline for them and their families in these trying times.

Stephen Liao, President, SL Holdings Inc.

Millions of people are jobless and struggling financially at the moment. That is where Stephen Liao’s SL Holdings Inc. comes in. His offerings are growing increasingly popular, with people availing themselves of his consulting services to gain substantial knowledge on all things credit. Liao’s recommendation is that businesses explore different digital avenues, including varied social media platforms like Onlyfans and TikTok, where his earnings are clocking six-to-seven figures monthly.

Related: 5 Tips for Recognizing a Meaningful Business Opportunity When You See It

Hopefully, these examples offer some encouragement and guidance, and best of luck to everyone keeping their businesses, brands and aspirations alive. 

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