Here’s what happens when you try to build a business during a pandemic

To: Whoever is interested in reading (it was supposed to be to Mercedez-Benz)

From: Lauren Brill

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To whoever is reading this (it was supposed to be to Mercedez-Benz,

Since I was a little girl, I’ve had this optimistic belief that I would change the world. After ten years of working as a television sportscaster, starting my own company, The Unsealed, appeared to be the best way to pursue that vision.

The Unsealed is a media company that provides a glimpse of humanity through personal stories told in the form of open letters. I ghostwrite the letters. Our letters aim to encourage equality, confidence, resilience and kindness through diverse perspectives.

I was inspired to start The Unsealed after writing an open letter to sexual assault survivors. The letter shared details about how I found my power despite being sexually assaulted by two strangers at 16 and keeping it a secret for nine years. The goal is for my truth and the truth of others to help people discover strength within themselves.

In March, just as the company began to build momentum, COVID-19 hit. All sorts of questions lingered in my mind:

“Would my subscribers cancel?”

“Would I lose the business?”

“Would my growth stop here?”

I wanted to change the world, but first, I needed to change my attitude.

I wanted to change the world, but first, I needed to change my attitude.

At the time, the epicenter of COVID-19 was in New York. Businesses and nonprofits were struggling. So, I asked my community to chip in and buy pizzas from a small business in New York and donate the pies to homeless teenagers. In two days, we raised about $400 for pizza.  

Giving back changed my entire mood. I realized I needed to focus less on what my company could lose and more on how it could help.

The Unsealed community bought pizza from Made In New York for teens at the Ali Forney Center.

We started to post stories relevant to the times. A therapist shared her tips on remaining mentally healthy. A recovering addict wrote a letter to drugs, explaining how he stays away despite the added temptation while at home. An NFL player, whose family lost everything during Hurricane Katrina, wrote to children who currently feel like there is no hope. I shared how I’m coping with quarantining as a single woman hundreds of miles from my family.

While The Unsealed has made donations to various charities throughout this time, our community also came together to buy $25 gift cards to every child staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland. As they’re more isolated than usual, we wanted to make sure these children and their families knew that we are thinking about them and care about their well being.

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Lauren shares an episode of Unsealed Conversations with actor and former NFL player Thomas Q. Jones talking about racism in America You must be a subscriber to watch this video.

After George Floyd’s death, we began using our platform to amplify voices and discuss complicated issues. We brought people together on Zoom calls to talk to guests who could provide insight on the problems our country is facing. We spoke with a mother of three black men who shared her daily fear that her children could be killed while engaging in seemingly innocent activities, such as working out, going to the store  or driving.

Since then, we’ve continued to meet weekly with our community to provide a safe space to discuss various issues and expose our audience to unique perspectives.

It is now August. My company has not crumbled because of COVID-19. Instead, knock on wood, we’ve grown. Our letters have been read in more than 180 countries around the globe, with hundreds of thousands of hits. I am incredibly grateful for the help we have been able to offer and the support we’ve received. While I don’t know if we’ve changed the world, what I am most proud of is that not even an unprecedented pandemic could stop us from touching people’s hearts.  

With love and hope,

Lauren Brill
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