Anyone who tells you making money is easy should be dragged into the street and shot.
OK, that might be extreme. But anyone who leads you to believe there is pain free way to provide for yourself is lying to you.
There are days when it seems easy, and there are days when you think you can’t go on anymore.
The worst part about the hard times is that they don’t just last a day. They can go on for months, even years. This has been one of those years for me.
Here’s My Confession
I shouldn’t tell you what I’m going to tell you now. I should keep it a secret. I should pretend everything is coming up roses for me. I should present myself as a living representation of what a successful Entrepreneurial Minimalist looks like.
But if I do that I am no better than the legion of grifters and profit-peddlers you see on social media.
This year has been THE MOST DIFFICULT year of my professional life. Since January I’ve been working to put my company on a stable footing. But this year, unlike previous years, has felt more like a war with my prospects than a partnership.
The famous copywriter Gary Bencivenga said, “We’re trying to play catch with our prospects, but they’re playing dodgeball.”
But until this year it never felt that way for me. This may sound arrogant but I’ve never had trouble making money. Keeping it is another story, but I’ve always been good at solving big problems and finding people who needed my help.
Then 2023 hit and for reasons I cannot identify it felt like the whole world started treading water.
Are you feeling the same about your industry? Do you get the sense that everyone is frozen in fear – like we’re all waiting for the next crisis to hit?
Over the last 2 weeks I’ve met with several friends of mine, all entrepreneurs, all in different industries. I was open with them about my struggles. I asked if it was a ‘me’ problem or if they thought it was part of a broader shift in the economy.
All of them expressed the same feelings. One of my friends just had to fire two employees. People who were doing great work. But after two big clients failed to pay their invoices he couldn’t afford to keep them on.
Another friend of mine told me how he’s been booking a lot of sales calls but has been struggling to get anyone to commit.
These aren’t new business owners. They’re entrepreneurs with over a decade of experience each. All expressing the same feelings of frustration.
So I’m going to assume I’m not alone in feeling the stress of an economy on the brink of recession. And if I’m not alone then it would be criminal of me not to share my struggles with you.
Now, let me share some of the things I’m doing to make sure 2024 is a great year.
3 Rules to Survive a Recession
When times get tough, people get desperate. They start looking around for a quick fix to their problems. Unfortunately, there is always someone there to tell you what you want to hear.
Rule #1 – Don’t Become a Victim or a Victimizer
Desperation causes us to make bad decisions. One of the things I’m seeing this year that’s got me concerned is the number of “experts” who are making wild promises about how easy it is to make money online.
The latest one was a kid who promised he could make you a millionaire by teaching you his “high-demand skill” called Remote Triage.
Within 2 minutes of digging, I discovered that “Remote Triage” is a fancy word for Online Marketing Consulting.
It’s a scam. You can’t take someone with no marketing experience and teach them how to make $15k a month as a marketing consultant.
The only guy getting rich off Remote Triage is the guy selling it.
But these offers are everywhere this year. When selling becomes more difficult, making a bigger, bolder claim is an easy way to improve your sales.
If you can deliver on the promise then great. But if you can’t then you’re just giving false hope to a desperate person.
So don’t be a victim or a victimizer.
Rule #2 – Conserve Cash
There have been millions of books written on personal finance. But if you want to grow your wealth you only need to do two things.
- Spend less than you make.
- Invest the rest in things you understand.
In business, cash is like oxygen. Deprive your business of cash for long enough and it will die.
One of the big benefits of Entrepreneurial Minimalism is that the profit margins are extremely high. In some cases, they can be over 90%.
If you follow the E/M blueprint you should have more than enough cashflow to keep your business running even during the hardest of times.
But if you’re spending every penny you earn on stuff you don’t need you’re going to suffer. So rule two is to conserve your cash. That might mean layoffs. It might mean returning that car you’ve got on lease and paying cash for an old beater.
You might need to cancel the 12 streaming services you pay for or cut out the $300 dinners.
For a lot of people, this can feel like you’re moving backward. You’re not. You’re making wise choices as your situation changes.
Remember, life is a series of ups and downs. Sometimes you’re in the valley and other times you’re on top of the mountain.
Don’t live too extravagantly during the good times and don’t fall into despair when things are tough. You are playing an infinite game. And for whatever fool-crazed reason, you decided you wanted the freedom to live life on your terms.
Well, freedom is hard. And when things get hard, we MUST be resilient.
Two great quotes I love come from Winston Churchill and Football Coach Andy Reid.
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
“When it’s grim, be the grim reaper.”
Maybe it’s the marine in me but I like that kind of motivation. I need that reminder – to remember that I’m stronger than I think. That I’m more capable than I know.
Whatever you’re facing right now, keep going.
Rule #3 Do something different
Madness is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different response.
Just because an offer worked yesterday doesn’t mean it’ll work today. You might have always done things a certain way in your business but that doesn’t mean you should keep doing it that way.
Situations change, markets change. At one time Toys ‘R’ Us, Kodak, and Blockbuster were all #1 in their industries. Today they’re gone.
What’s sad is that every one of them had the ability to stay on top. But they didn’t adapt. They just kept doing what they’d always done until all the money was gone.
Maybe you need a new product like Kodak did. Maybe you need to deliver your product or service in a new way like Blockbuster should have done.
Maybe you need to adapt to the new way people are buying your product like Toys ‘R’ Us should have done before Amazon cornered the online toy market.
I don’t know what changes you need to make but I can promise you I am constantly testing new offers to make sure I don’t fall behind as market conditions change.
We Have Each Other
I want you to know that you have someone in your life who cares enough about you to be honest with you. Someone who wants to see you succeed.
Everyone needs someone like that in their lives. Preferably a lot of people.
That’s why I created the LEVERAGE Coaching Group. I wanted to create a community of people who were all working on the same dream. Friends you can confide in while getting the support you need to weather any storm you might encounter.
If you’re not a member already I’d love for you to join now. There are no recurring fees and no subscriptions. You pay once and you’re a member for life.
And no matter what, I’m going to keep writing to you each week, so you know you’ve always got someone in your corner, excited for the day when you’re on top of the mountain again, but willing to walk through the valley with you for as long as it takes.
Until Next Week,