Chad Everett Harris was born in 1969 in Palos Verdes, California, although he spent most of his childhood relocating across the United States. From a small roadside lemonade stand to a modest lawn mowing venture at the age of fourteen, Harris made it his goal to develop new business ideas that would help him earn higher profits. The constant upheaval of his life, in addition to his ongoing business ventures, led him to learn valuable lessons in determination, independence, and hard work. As such, from an early age, it was evident that Harris demonstrated a keen entrepreneurial mindset that would steer him to spearhead several successful ventures later in life.
Throughout Harris’ career, he has advocated for green initiatives and helped to build a sustainable society through environmentally responsible investments. His professional portfolio includes prominent projects, like the Audubon Park Golf Course, the New Orleans Sculpture Garden, and the Longue Vue House & Garden Discovery Garden. Chad E. Harris is described as highly detail-oriented, which is one of the many reasons landscaping has always appealed to him. Last year, Harris packed up his things and relocated once again, but this time to Rockdale, Texas. Here, Harris assisted with the construction of the world’s largest data center. The center is a 100-acre facility that operates high-speed computer servers used for artificial intelligence, video rendering, and other advanced tech services. Consequently, Harris continues to live up to his reputation as a successful serial entrepreneur.
How has your industry been impacted by COVID-19?
We have already begun witnessing several changes, especially in the construction industry, as a result of COVID-19. Social distancing has highlighted the importance of worker health and safety. While some job sites have closed entirely, others have adopted protective safeguards like staggered shifts, employee temperature checks, disinfection of materials and tools, and one trade on-site at a time. However, implementing additional safety measures is likely to cause significant delays in project completion. On the other hand, the landscaping industry hasn’t been hit nearly as hard. With plenty of time at home, homeowners are looking for distractions, which includes hiring someone to update their yard.
What keeps you motivated during this time at home?
Working remotely has certainly impacted my entire schedule. However, I adapt quickly to change, so it wasn’t long before I found a new routine that worked for me. Starting the day off with a list of things I want to accomplish helps keep me motivated as I work to tick off each item. I like to break down large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks, so I don’t feel overwhelmed at any time. I also integrate fun activities into my schedule, like going out for a walk, meditating, or exercising. I find that taking the time to do something for myself during the day helps with my creativity, memory, and improves concentration.
Suggestions for how others can cope during this unprecedented time?
It’s important to acknowledge that this isn’t an ordinary time, and your productivity may suffer because of this. At the moment, focusing on your mental and physical health should be at the top of your priorities. Meanwhile, try to set small goals and work your way up towards completing larger ones. For example, by starting with tasks that can easily be achieved in one day, you will appreciate your progress and be more inclined to stay on track.
For some people, social distancing from friends and family has been the most difficult part of coping with the pandemic. However, physical distancing doesn’t mean that you can’t be social. I have been scheduling virtual get-togethers several times a week, even with friends I haven’t seen in years! Setting a date and time for a virtual gathering can also raise your spirits by allowing you to look forward to something.
How do you and your team stay in constant communication during this time?
The coronavirus has impacted how team members communicate with one another. Now more than ever, we have been relying on technology like video conferencing, emailing, and texting to keep in touch without having to leave our homes. For public projects, some companies are attempting to launch web-based tools that allow clients and businesses to hold virtual public meetings that address the impact and benefits of proposed developments. Also, in some areas of the U.S., building departments are using remote technology for inspections to stay in line with social distancing guidelines.
How can entrepreneurs continue to do business during COVID-19?
Many people in the United States have been fired or temporarily laid off due to COVID-19. Firstly, I don’t believe anyone should put themselves or their loved ones in danger by working in non-essential businesses during this time. However, with social distancing provisions in mind, landscaping projects, especially with summer approaching, will be highly in-demand. Individuals that can bring clients and landscapers together, by uncovering and following up on leads, could supply enough work to help themselves and their families get through this difficult time.
What are some things outside of work that you are doing now to stay busy?
In my spare time, I enjoy listening to and learning from entrepreneurial podcasts. Working remotely has allotted more free time to be able to explore new podcasts and expand my knowledge. Several influencers and businesses have also released free webinars and educational courses that anyone can benefit from. For instance, I recently tuned in to watch a webinar that featured an angel investor from Silicon Valley who responded to important business-related questions.
Do you think a work-life balance is important and how difficult is it in these circumstances?
I have always said that a work-life balance is important to reduce stress and prevent burnout. Technically speaking, home and work are in the same place right now, making it difficult to differentiate between the two. I’ve found that dedicating a room in my house entirely to “work” helps me unwind and relax when I am in other areas of the house. If you end up doing work from your bedroom, living room, and kitchen table, your brain will start viewing your entire home as one big workspace.
What is one piece of advice that is getting you through these current times?
One thing I try to do every day, even before coronavirus, is practice gratitude. By doing so, I can prioritize the things that are important to me and appreciate how far I have come both personally and professionally.