Stop whining! The attitude of defeat echoes around the globe these days. Yes, I know there are challenges and the economic climate is scary. But with every challenge comes opportunity.
Here’s what I know. Your future is what you make it!
My own challenges:
- I left all stability in December 2009 to go solo in the career industry as a professional resume writer and career marketing strategist. This wasn’t a new industry for me. I had been in the industry for more than 25 years at that point. But I had been dropping the contracts with non-profits and small businesses until on December 12 2009, I gave notice to Wausau Whitewater that I was resigning. In retrospect, the timing couldn’t have been worse. Though I was working long hours (read 40+ per week) for WW and $1000 monthly contract was tiny, it was enough to pay the mortgage and several other bills. The economy had tanked and is easily labeled the worst in 80 years.
- Since this was a new beginning, I had several investments into the business and our home office that rocketed our debt to new heights. Bad financial planning, I know.
- The first month in March 2010 without a contract, my total monthly gross income was $743. Talk about scary. It was and I didn’t handle it well.
- Many people think that the career industry benefits from a bad economy. But it doesn’t. Most of us write for as many or more employed people than we do unemployed. In a good economy, people are more likely to seeing professional career marketing services as an investment to reach their goals. In a bad economy, those who have jobs often think twice about changing and those who are unemployed often fail to understand how having an expert in their corner can shorten the time they are unemployed. All of this made my career change a huge challenge.
But here is what happened.
- I wisely realized what many job seekers and small business people miss. It is so much smarter to have an expert in your corner than trying to go it alone. I sought counsel from accountants, business professionals, and invested in a marketing expert to help me learn how to build my business correctly. Just by listening to the right expert, I started to gain ground quickly.
- I adjusted my financial plan. I implemented a strategic debt pay down plan and stuck to it. Any investments into the business or our family has to come from savings, not credit cards. Key to this plan is having a base emergency fund of $1000 and building it back up if it is used for an unexpected expense like the $840 car repair in July. In my case, I am also building in cash flow savings because I know I will have good months and bad months.
- 2010 made up for the loss of the contract and matched the income of 2009. In 2011, by marketing strategically, continuing to stay visible using content marketing (hint, that’s this blog), and attracting clients who understand the value of investment, I finished the year 38.9% above 2010. Again, this was in the worst economic climate in 80 years.
- I expanded my market place. I remember telling a Junior Achievement 8th grade class in 2000 that I planned to launch my business globally. At that point, I didn’t even have a current website. But in 2010 and 2011, I have worked with client in Greece, Saudi Arabian, the UK, and Canada in addition to clients throughout the United States. Again, strategic use of content marketing and social media has opened the door to new markets.
I share all of this with you because I hear people talking dismal all the time. I am not a spring chicken and unlike others, I never hide my age. At 55, I have had the most wonderful two years of my life. Life is not over. People who face job change at any age tend to panic. Most of them though have some sort of a safety net. The last time I was eligible for unemployment was in 1988. I started this new venture in 2010 with little savings.
Your future is what you make it! Just because you have done things the same way or worked in the same job for the past 20 years doesn’t mean you can’t change. The tools are here. More tools than ever before in history. You can work with people around the world every day if you want to.
The future is what you make it! Get out there and make yours!