Written by Tara Newman
As we look forward at the next couple of years, economists are predicting a blip in the economy — somewhere between a market correction and a recession — nobody seems to really know for sure.
Just like we can’t control the majority of emergencies that happen in our daily lives – from fires we’re required to put out in our agencies to our kids coming down with the flu the day before a big client presentation – we also can’t control the ups and downs of the economy.
I know this first hand because when the recession hit in 2008, the multiple 6-figure manufacturing business that my husband and I started three years prior went under. We were left with 100k in debt, a 3-year old toddler, and a surprise pregnancy.
Heads up – this story does indeed have a happy ending. But before we can get there, I want to share three of the most pivotal lessons I learned from that tough economic time so that you know exactly what you CAN control to recession-proof your career, your brand, or your business.
1. LOOK AT YOUR HABITS AROUND MONEY
When money is tight, it’s easy to go into survival mode thinking. Subsequently, it’s also the worst time to try and change the way you think about money because you suddenly have all of this proof that tells you what you’ve been thinking is right.
Looking back now, the number one reason I believe we went bankrupt was that my husband and I were in survival-mode thinking. Since we looked at money with a lot of fear and thought it was a finite resource, we refused to spend any money on improving ourselves or our business to the point where we wouldn’t hire the right people to help us.
As a quick fix, I recommend that you create a list of 5-7 items or activities that you need to thrive. This list is magic because it doesn’t make you sacrifice the things that are most important to you but still acts as a filter for how you spend your time, energy, and money. Rule of thumb? If it’s not on the Thrive list, cut it out. If you can make this a daily practice, then you will be one step closer to being recession-proof.
Instead of going into panic mode with the masses, you’ll be able to create a tremendous opportunity out of an obstacle.
2. IMPROVE YOUR COMMUNICATION
When my husband and I experienced financial collapse, we both shut down and didn’t want to talk about it. All of the things that were left unsaid created a giant chasm between us that made the situation significantly more stressful.
Once we actually found the courage to sit down and carve out time to talk about how we were feeling, we were able to realize that some of our worst fears weren’t realistic, and we were able to come up with a plan so that we could move forward instead of staying stuck.
As communications professionals yourselves, you’ve most likely noticed this too.
When stress is high, communication is low.
So before you hit a rough patch, make a habit of engaging in difficult conversations whenever possible. Notice what you tend to avoid and talk about that. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some key phrases you can use before conflict arises.
3. FIND YOUR COMMUNITY
When the economy is good, we need to be extra intentional about the people that we’re surrounding ourselves with. As an individual or as a small business, you have the power of adaptability. That means that you can choose to be in a supportive, amazing community in times of adversity. Whether you choose to invest in a course or you choose to piecemeal your own community together, you want to start cultivating those relationships now.
This is how you become an employee, a service provider, or an agency owner who stands out in tough economic times. Instead of going into panic mode with the masses, you’ll be able to create a tremendous opportunity out of an obstacle.
You control more than you realize – now go out and recession-proof yourself.
Through her podcast, The Bold leadership Revolution as well as her association, The BRAVE Society, Tara Newman is the Leader of Leaders. She supports leaders as they embrace their ambition and leave the grind behind. Using decades of entrepreneurial experience and a Master’s in Organizational Psychology, Tara is uniquely qualified to teach leaders to run businesses without sacrificing their health, relationships, or integrity by establishing behaviors, habits, and rituals aligned with their vision of success. Connect with Tara on Instagram @thetaranewman and listen to the Bold Leadership Revolution Podcast on her website.