The Yellow Car Phenomenon

It’s easy to spot a yellow car when you’re always thinking of a yellow car. I read this a few years ago and I believe it with all my heart and all my mind.

We always see more of what we’re thinking about. It isn’t that certain things start happening more frequently in our lives than other things, we’re just able to see more of them because we’re more aware about them.

Everyday millions of objects, words, concepts and feelings are presented to us. We’re just more aware about some and less aware about others. We’re only able to see, hear and observe just a handful. The handful that we wanted to see more of.

If you only see negativity in your life, I’m sorry to tell you that that’s what you’ve been looking for all along. To see forgiveness in the world, you have to want to look for it and once you do you see it all the time. If you look for generosity once, you will start to see how much more generous is the world. This isn’t something I or someone made up, it has it’s backing in the science. It’s how humans work. They call it Baader-Meinhof phenomenon or more commonly the yellow car phenomenon.

You have to want to see things, and the things will want to see more of you.

You have to want to look for opportunities, and the opportunities will want to see more of you. It’s easy to spot an opportunity, when you’re always thinking of an opportunity.

To others, you’ll always be the lucky one. But you have to want to look for luck, and the luck will always be looking for you.

Finding Opportunities in a Recession

As an entrepreneur, it’s very important to stay calm even when the world is breaking apart. Most of the time, when there is a world changing event like COVID-19, people’s consumption behavior change. They buy different things compared with their previous spending habits.

While doing product research for our E-Commerce holding company, I got to know that Hair Clippers was one of the best selling products while China was on lockdown because of COVID-19. Who would’ve thought that people would buy Hair Clippers when hundreds are dying because of an extremely deadly virus.

But when barbershops are closed, you still gotta cut yours and your children’s hair. 3 of the fastest growing Chinese companies from January to March are companies which are either manufacturing Hair Clippers or are leading retailers.

Another great example of this trend is blankets, hand warmers and mini electric heaters. Due to control measures of COVID-19, apartment buildings turn off heating and you have to open windows for fresh air. However, temperature in many parts of the world is still too cold. China’s leading e-commerce marketplace Pinduoduo reported that sales of blankets and hard warmers saw 165% increase during the lockdown.

When you find calm in chaos, you can find opportunities like these and benefit from them. Insights like these coupled with lethal digital marketing can create new companies which capitalize on new purchasing behaviors.

This is a guest post by Socialoholic’s co-founder @SaadBassi

There Must Be Something That’s Recession Proof Right Now?

COVID-19 has disrupted businesses of all types across the world. I have already written about the turmoil that markets are in. I’ve also mentioned that our business was largely affected too. In fact, our business was affected before most other businesses when COVID-19 was only limited to China. All this while I’ve been thinking what could be the right thing to do during this tough time.

I thought about software businesses, which may also be struggling, but far less than other kind of businesses. In fact there are some software businesses that are doing better than they have ever done before; Zoom for example. As S&P500 index goes down as much as 30%, the stock price for Zoom is up by 30% as more and more people resort to work from home.

You may have also read that Amazon is hiring as many as 100,000 people to fulfill the customer demand. So Amazon doesn’t seem to be doing too bad either as people resort to online shopping to follow social distancing.

The more you read about the bad news on Twitter, Facebook or wherever you get your news from, the more opportunities are presented to you. In fact, when the world was functioning on full-throttle, it was tough to find opportunities because every industry was so competitive. Now, opportunities present themselves to you.

For example, you may have read that in many parts of the world, everything has been closed except for pharmacies, groceries and food deliveries. This is an obvious proof that if you could deliver medicines, essentials or food, you might be doing better than others. But what’s more obvious is that if there was a delivery version available of everything else that’s on a complete shutdown, that could be an even better opportunity.

If people are locked in their houses, they might need more than food or medicines. They certainly need video conferencing (zoom) to continue to work from home. They need Netflix, obviously. They probably also need to workout, right? Probably other things to keep themselves entertained or busy.

Because people need to still workout, we’ve launched our “workout from home” brand in the last couple of days. We’ve seen initial demand for it, and plan to scale it in the coming weeks. There’s a big e-commerce opportunity right now and I encourage that you seize it.

Moreover, Shopify is giving away 90 days free trial instead of the regular 14-days to help small businesses stay afloat. So what are you waiting for? This could be the time to kick-start your e-commerce journey.

Seizing the Opportunity

Opportunities are everywhere. Literally everywhere. You come across them hundreds of times everyday but you often ignore them, or you misread them, or you just can’t see them hidden in plain sight. Some people have the ability to see them very often. This in my opinion is the single biggest differentiator between entrepreneurs and those who are not. Let me give you an example.

In 2012, we considered expanding our marketing business beyond the scope of just promoting our own products. We looked into client servicing (hated it and never did it again). But we learnt a great deal from it. Since one of my businesses at that time was a Pakistani music blog, naturally the first customer for our marketing agency was a band.

They were going to pay us X amount of money for growing their Facebook page, adding organic and authentic views to their youtube videos, and overall assistance with their new song launch. After we had concluded the agreement, they mentioned to us that they are also going to spend Y amount of budget on a radio channel in Pakistan who would play the song a certain number of times in the next month. On hearing this, my co-founder, Saad Bassi, saw an opportunity and seized it. We took all of the budget that they were going to spend on radio, hired a full time resource whose job was to call many hours everyday to all the radio stations in Pakistan. In the end, their song played more frequently than it would have had happened with paid advertising. Not just that, it played on more number of channels increasing their unique reach. They incurred lesser cost and our company made a profit after paying for the resource.

It is one of the many examples of how the world presents you opportunities and how you can seize them.