How to Seize the Opportunity by Starting a Side Business during a Recession

This article was initially published in Brainz Magazine on 1/25/23.

So, the universe decided we needed more excitement in our lives and has generously provided us with a recession ‒ or is getting ready to. Yay?

“Simply put, a recession is when the economy stops growing and starts shrinking.” Thank you, The New York Times.

A recession brings with it negative consequences. An economic downturn can make the things you buy more expensive as economic growth slows. The stock market can tank which has direct effects on the value of your stocks. It can get harder to get a loan because interest rates rise, and the job market gets crappy.

“Well, that sucks, thanks for the downer, Maryann.”

All of this stuff is stressful but don’t panic. You have choices.

So What do I do?

It can feel like you have no control during a downturn, but that is far from the truth. You can wait to see what happens or seize the opportunity. If you choose to take action, you have more control of your destiny than you think because change is a great opportunity.

You can reach out to your financial planner for guidance, or start interviewing someone so you have one on call. You can postpone any big purchases you had planned, and you can reassess your job situation. All of this will generate positive outcomes.

A recession is a good time to be proactive about your career opportunities. Take a look at your current job. Does it pay you enough for what it costs you mentally and emotionally? Is it worth it? We can see from watching our teachers and health services professionals quit that there is only so much one can take before enough is enough.

There are lots of ways you can make extra income and work from home. Whether you keep your day job or ditch it, starting a side business is a good way to go.

How do I Get started?

1. Set your purpose

Before you start a side business, ask yourself why. What do you want to accomplish with this new business? Do you want to make more money? Or challenge yourself? Follow your passion? Whatever reason, write it down ‒ name it. There is power in the act of naming what you want to do and the impact you want to have. Before you even take action, naming it allows you to start processing what it will be like to achieve your goals of making more money, building something you have control over, and following your passion.

2. Set Clear Financial Goals

Start by setting clear financial goals with your new side business. Ask yourself, how much money do I want to make each month, and how much you are willing to spend?

Maybe you want to earn an extra $1K to help offset any rising costs the recession may bring. If your job is at risk, you may be testing out the limits of what is possible to earn with your side business to see if it can become a full-time income. Spoiler alert, in many cases it can.

You don’t have to spend money to start a side business but you should. Hiring a good business coach will help you avoid pitfalls and distractions and meet your financial goals faster than doing it on your own. Can you do it on your own? Yes. Google and YouTube are your friends. You can sift through content and figure out most of what you need to know. It will just take you a lot longer and feel more overwhelming.

3. Start with what you know and who you know

There is no need to reinvent the wheel with your new side business. Start with selling something you already are great at to people you already know. If you are a teacher, first, god bless ya, second, you are great at many things! With the rising percentage of families choosing to homeschool their kids, seize the opportunity to offer after-school tutoring and support to those families who choose to homeschool.

According to Forbes, “the latest report, through January 17, 2022, 1,106,777 distinct applicants had applied to 853 colleges that use the Common App” That’s a lot of college essays that need editing, a lot of kids you previously taught who need help, and families already in your network that will pay for extra support.

4. Make time

You may not have time but you can make time for your side business. We have more control over our time than we think we do. We choose to direct our time toward our priorities. If you need to know where your time is going, do a time audit. You may be surprised by what you learn. I’ve included a worksheet to help you with this at the end of the article.

Once you know how you spend your time, redirect and reshuffle that time to make room for your side business. Ask for help from your partner, friends, and family. After all, your success at this new venture is also their success!

In conclusion

Author Jeannette Walls said, “Sometimes you need a little crisis to get your adrenaline flowing and help you realize your potential.” So get out there and exercise your control to change your life!

Download my Time Management Worksheet to see where your time is going and how to redirect it!

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