Make the downturn work for you. If you‚Äôre an entrepreneur, take advantage of the fact that there is a lot of great talent that is currently unemployed and may be willing to work for you at a discounted price, suggests Seals-Allers. Also, cut down on professional and personal costs by negotiating your services, product, or expertise as payment. ‚ÄúPeople are open to other forms of currency so try bartering for services,‚ÄĚ Seals-Allers says.
Consider new career options. If you‚Äôre in an industry that has little hope of rebounding soon, rather than lamenting the fact that you‚Äôre in a dead-end job, start exploring new professions that you‚Äôre interested in and have the skills to transition into. Maybe you‚Äôll need to take a class or attend networking functions, but the key is to take steps toward something of interest. Seals-Allers says if you‚Äôve been laid off, ‚Äúit can be a great time to push that reset button.‚ÄĚ And that‚Äôs exactly what Jackson did.
Jackson responded to the recession by removing her focus from real estate and buying a Kilwin‚Äôs Chocolate and Ice Cream franchise. ‚ÄúNo matter how bad the economy is, people still indulge in chocolate and ice cream because they‚Äôre comfort foods,‚ÄĚ says the 44-year-old. After qualifying for a business loan and spending about $125,000 of her own money to cover the approximately $300,000 investment, Jackson opened her franchise in June 2008 and made a little more than $100,000 in the first three months.
‚ÄúThere have been a few times when I had a pity party, when I didn‚Äôt have any customers,‚ÄĚ she says. ‚ÄúBut one day I woke up and said, ‚ÄėI‚Äôm not buying into this. I‚Äôve got to fight because I have so much invested and I‚Äôm not going to let a recession beat me.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
This story originally appeared in the July 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.