They say it’s not as bad as the Great Depression, but this repression may mean that we’ve lost our jobs, we can’t afford our mortgages, or that we can’t afford that tune up for our car or that dry cleaning this week. I believe I started preparing for the downturn September 29th 2008 when the bailout plan was rejected, the Dow fell 777.68 points, and Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy. I knew then that I had to step up my game and become more aware.
Last year I had a well-paying freelancing gig, and well, that’s gone now due to decreased ad revenues. But thankfully, with my hustling and networking, I’m managing to have one new editing client a week without the steady freelancing income – yay! How did I do this, you may ask? I found a business coach who was offering a 100-day special for one dollar a day. He clarified my goals, made sure I had a business plan, and suggested that I re-set my fees to reflect my value. And, boy, did it work! I redesigned my brochures and social media strategy, and I started to keep track of referrals and I how many people I presented to each week. I’m gaining ground and my 90-day plan includes learning more about video and video editing so that I can help authors with their video needs (I’ve got a long way to go here, but stayed tuned!).
In other ways the recession has affected my volunteer focus. I’m not volunteering as much for Daniel’s school as I did last year because my volunteer commitments are now tied up with my networking, which helps my business. I’m now the organizer of North Raleigh Coffee and Contacts, a women’s referral and business networking group and I’m the Raleigh Regional Representative for the NC Writers’ Network, where I plan open mics and writers’ networking opportunities. I treat my time as my most precious commodity and I calendar block to make sure I’m not spinning my wheels not knowing what to start first.
As for individual cost-cutting, I no longer buy department store makeup, I’ve stopped buying books from Amazon (I go to Falls River Books, a used bookstore instead), and I do my own hair touchups and my mother-in-law Barbara cuts my hair and does my brow waxing. I reworked my cell phone plan and I now use my landline to save minutes on weekdays. I order my prescriptions online. I’ve also learned how to negotiate everything and ask for the special deal. Generally, I’m shy about asking for the better deal, but I know if I don’t ask, Hubby will make me feel very guilty! The gas crunch last year made me really think about my driving routes and if an errand is out of my way, I save it for the day when I’m passing by that location.
Another way of saving money is keeping to my grocery list and buying items that have a coupon and are on sale, which is not the easiest thing to do. I’m excited that the Falls River Town Center Farmer’s Market is almost open since this will be the place to buy fresh veggies and fruit, which my kids and Hubby love. We’re about two minutes from Falls River Town Center and I’ve patronized as many of the merchants there as possible so I can keep my dollars local.
This recession won’t last forever and I think that those of us who are mindful and who are acting lean will be the winners. We’ll be able to emerge from this downturn with strength and we many even be too busy with our businesses, which in my mind is a good problem to have.