José Rolón on Building a Business During and After a Life-Changing Moment

As the months have passed, articles circulate describing the feelings many are experiencing – grief, coping with loss (personal and professional), stress, isolation, anxiety – the list goes on. 

While glimmers of optimism grow with each passing day, this is an opportune time to reflect on the impact of life-changing moments.

Who better to talk about this incredibly important, but not often talked about topic, than José Rolón of José Rolón Events. We are extremely grateful José spent time on a recent webinar, getting personal with us and sharing his life experiences to help event pros prepare their businesses for life-changing and unexpected moments.

A Planner, A Father, A Widower 

For his more than 205,000 TikTok followers, José is known as @nycgaydad – using his creative, light-hearted viral videos with his kids to “break up the monotony of what we are all dealing with, with homeschooling and with parenting, and saving our businesses.”

But there is more behind José’s story. In 2013, the same year that he launched his business, José, unfortunately, lost his husband – simultaneously becoming a widower and single father with an eight-month-old son and the couple’s surrogate eleven weeks pregnant with twin girls.

“Some people think that life-changing moments just happen when you lose somebody to death,” said José. “But that’s not true. I think now, obviously everything that’s happened with the pandemic and everything else that’s happened in the world of 2020, that we have all gone through some life-changing moment. And these are the things that to the best we can, we have to be mentally prepared for.”

Being Prepared for Life-Changing Moments

“Shortly before the pandemic hit, I was so fortunate to plan and design an event at the Rainbow Room,” explained José. “Looking back at pictures of that event, I get emotional because it feels like it’s been so long, and this is the part a lot of us have been mourning.” 

According to José, “I don’t think we talk about grief enough. It always seems like a sad conversation.” To build back after a life-changing moment, he suggests being mindful of the typical stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

José also advised the importance of being prepared too. “Get a will, get your legal matters in order, know your finances, identify your support systems, and definitely have a wellness team – which isn’t as grand as it sounds.” is a fantastic site to get your legal and medical papers in order – as well as your personal, medical, emotional, and spiritual needs,” José shared. “Another important piece is to make sure your finances are in order. Fire yourself from the things you struggle with and get support to make sure everything is in financial order – like spending and saving strategies, tax requirements, and cash flow management. Even if you’re a planner who is good at organizing things, find support in areas that aren’t your strong suit.”

The financial aspect is part of your overall wellness too, explained José. “I hate to sound cliché, but if something isn’t going right socially, spiritually, or financially, you’re going to get depleted very, very quickly.”

He shared entrepreneurs are 50 percent more likely to report having a mental health condition, and a whopping 72 percent of surveyed entrepreneurs self-reported mental health concerns.

While it might feel expensive or a luxury, José shared several tips to prioritize self-care:

  • Since so much has moved to online or virtual, your care team can be too – like a therapist located elsewhere in the country.
  • Check out different apps, like Calm or Headspace, to help with sleep or meditation, or nutrition-based apps like My Fitness Pal.
  • Put your office hours in your email signature and even in your contracts. “This is important as it sets the tone for a way for you to check out and keep things a little bit more organized. If you’re going through something, at least you have certain hours for yourself to wallow, go out with friends, or whatever else you need to do to get through those moments.”

Other Ideas for Dealing with Life-Changing Moments

José also shared several other ideas for dealing with life-changing moments:

  • Find a way to make a social impact. “Before the pandemic, I implemented a new ‘Impact with Choice” program. My clients are required to select one of three social partners to give back to. And in return, I give my clients a choice of three of six wellness partners to choose from – it’s a combo reward for them leading up to their wedding and a way to give back to others too.”
  • Set a time for yourself. “It’s good to say out loud and be mindful of unhealthy distractions and embrace the healthy ones.”
  • Expect that it won’t all run smoothly. “Acknowledge that in the midst of life-changing events, we aren’t always going to be our 100 percent productive selves. But if you’ve tempered expectations of flexible approach and resourcefulness, you’ll be amazed at all the things that you can adapt to in any situation.”

For more of José’s personal story and inspirational ideas for building an event planning business during and after a life-changing moment, watch the webinar on-demand or check out Allseated’s calendar of upcoming free webinars covering careers, event planning and design, and other timely topics.