Surviving the Storm

The economy may be stagnant, but to overcome it, you cant be

Make the downturn work for you. If you’re 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. “People are open to other forms of currency so try bartering for services,” Seals-Allers says.

Consider new career options. If you’re in an industry that has little hope of rebounding soon, rather than lamenting the fact that you’re in a dead-end job, start exploring new professions that you’re interested in and have the skills to transition into. Maybe you’ll 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’ve been laid off, “it can be a great time to push that reset button.” And that’s exactly what Jackson did.

Jackson responded to the recession by removing her focus from real estate and buying a Kilwin’s Chocolate and Ice Cream franchise. “No matter how bad the economy is, people still indulge in chocolate and ice cream because they’re comfort foods,” 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.

“There have been a few times when I had a pity party, when I didn’t have any customers,” she says. “But one day I woke up and said, ‘I’m not buying into this. I’ve got to fight because I have so much invested and I’m not going to let a recession beat me.’”

This story originally appeared in the July 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.

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